Facebook Introduces Engagement Ads

Facebook is rolling out a new type of ad called “Engagement Ads”. The idea behind the ads is that Facebook users get to interact with the ad in one shape way or form. For example users can leave comment on the message, forward a virtual product etc. Here are details from Jeremiah Owyang’s blog:

Engagement Ads provide three unique experiences
Rather than clicking on the ad and being whisked away to a branded microsite, these ads allow members to stay within the contained walls of Facebook and their social community. Engagement ads come in three major flavors:

1) Comment Style Ad: Members can now leave comments on these advertisements, much like wall posts. Brands that are focused on entertainment, new product rollouts, autos and apparel are well suited. The ad can show up to 4 comments per object, and the activity spreads to the users newsfeed.

2) Virtual Gifts Style Ad: Brands can now create virtual items that users can share, spread to each other. This wildly popular behavior within applications and Facebook is suitable for consumer products, entertainment, and some media.

3) Fan Style Ad: A play off the Facebook pages, users with a persona affinity for a product (like Apple) can become a fan, triggering a notification to their network, and could then tie on social ads. Will work great for established brands, like guitar hero, passion products, luxury products, or any brand with a rabid customer base.

I guess I came across one such Engagement Ad without really knowing what it was. A few weeks ago I noticed that there was a “comment” button next to the ad. I added my comment and that was that. I haven’t seen that ad again and I don’t know what happened after I wrote my comment. Did my friends get notified that I’d left a comment? Did the comments get sent back to the company advertising and now they’re going to send me a boat load of direct mail pieces? I don’t know.

I guess from my understanding Facebook will be launching Engagement Ads in phases. Some even question whether this is at all new to Facebook? Given that some or all of these features have already been available on Facebook for some time. I can see where they’re coming from. I mean you’ve always been able to “throw a sheep” at your buddies – how is that any different than sending them a virutal Bud Lite?

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