During Facebook’s fMC keynote address, Mike Hoefflinger announced several new tools available to businesses that will increase the amount of interaction they have with their Facebook fans. The tools – Pages, Offers, Premium for Facebook, and Reach Generator – look to seriously step-up the amount of exposure ads get on Facebook.
Hoefflinger explained how businesses that use Premium for Facebook (basically, those who pay for the upgrade) will be able to create stories similar to regular Facebook users and then publish them. The stories will appear in news feeds similar to how brands’ updates have been appearing, only now businesses will have more options as to how they appear in their fans’ feeds. In businessese, this means that businesses will have more tools to aggressively hock their brand to Facebook users who like their product.
If you’re a Twitter user, you likely have seen promoted tweets appearing in your stream that look like this:
Facebook aping that trick is not exactly the newest thing on the block. However, the thing about the launch of Premium for Facebook isn’t what Mike Hoefflinger said – it’s what he didn’t say. Or, rather, what he merely left for interpretation.
Think about where you read your news feed and what you see from each location. You read it on a computer or you read it on a mobile device, either a smartphone or a tablet. When you access Facebook from your computer you see the requisite sidebars of advertisements recommending you become some hipster drug counselor or trying to sell you a Lexus.
However, in the mobile app version of your newsfeed, all you see are updates from your friends or organizations you follow. It’s been a pretty clutter-free experience of Facebook, free of the aggressive onslaught of advertisements that seem to crowd the site.
Facebook noticed this freedom of advertisements you enjoyed while logged into the mobile app and, perhaps ahead of becoming a publicly owned company later this year, the company wised up and realized that they should drill into this built-in resource of marketing wealth.
What Facebook’s done here is create a succulent opportunity for businesses to expand how they socially advertise by inserting “stories” about sales offers or promotions into users’ news feed. By integrating the ads into the news feed itself, Facebook has enabled businesses with a way to stealthily implant advertisements into Facebook’s mobile app with as minimal redesign and pervasiveness as possible.
It’s such a brilliant way of nonchalantly integrating advertisements into the regular user’s experience of Facebook that it’s almost subliminal, not to mention evil genius-level of marketing smarts. Businesses advertise more on Facebook, Facebook makes untold amounts of money from these businesses, and you unwittingly faciliate all of it just so you can keep in touch with your friends.