Sunday, February 6, 2011

Advertising on Facebook

            At the time of the birth of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg was very much opposed to advertising. He knew that his company would eventually be making money, but he wanted the website to stay simple and clean of ads until it really picked up. Nowadays, advertising is a huge part of Facebook, whether you know it or not.

           The ads on the sidebar of every page are quite obvious advertisements, but how does Facebook fit them to your interests? Facebook matches your advertisements to your information, the groups you join, events you attend, and things you “like” so you are more likely to click on the ads on the sidebar. If you join fashion interest groups, you will probably get ads for clothing websites, whereas if you “like” a band, you might get advertisements for music stores. Any information from a page can be incorporated into the advertising. For example, the ads pictured on the side were all posted on my Facebook profile. I used to be a track and field runner, I like Project Runway, many of my interests have to do with fashion, and I’m a college student. I also get ads related to “Greek clothing” on a regular basis because my profile shows that I’m in a sorority. All the ads are perfectly tailored to my interests. 

            One of the greatest ways companies advertise on Facebook is not even by paid, targeted advertising, but by having other people choose to be advertised to. Many companies these days make “groups” on Facebook. Retail stores like Urban Outfitters, Forever 21, and American Apparel all have pages, as well as musical artists like Shakira, Justin Bieber, and the Summer Set. People will “like” the pages all on their own, so advertising can be done the easy way. The businesses can then post statuses, links, and photos about any new promotion or product they have on the market for all their followers to see. Quick and easy advertising? I think so.

            Companies can also advertise without having to do any work at all. When friends “like” their page, it shows up on their friends’ news feeds and sidebars so that they will “like” it too. Friends will also send links and pictures to their friends if they’re interested in a product or a website. Companies that make events on Facebook are also spread through networking. Friends will say they’re attending, invite other friends, and the event will appear on people’s event page. All of this advertising is done just through networking and businesses only have to put in minimal to no effort.

            Advertising can be done in many ways and Facebook has made it easy for so many companies. Ads don’t just have to be shown on sidebars of the page, but groups and networking can spread advertisements like wildfire. The less obvious and more relevant an ad is, the more likely a company can make money. Facebook has made this simple to do, and companies are benefitting from it every single day. 


  1. I actually talked about this in one of the discussions that we had! I thought it was interesting how a company that felt so strong against advertising at the beginning, has become one of the biggest advertising web companies in the world. Perhaps I should start a new version ( that goes back to the roots of Facebook with the no ad approach?

  2. I find it interesting that ads are tailored to our interests. And as Justin said, it's interesting that Facebook used to be so against advertising. But, I feel that if Facebook had to begin 'spamming' their users with advertisements this was the best way to do it. At least these advertisements are tailored to the interests of the user and therefore less of a nuisance to see. In fact, the vast majority of the ads that I see on my Facebook are just amusing. I also really enjoy the fact that you now can see advertisements specifically for certain stores after liking them. My hair salon in San Diego posts their openings for the day and lets you call in for an appointment 20% off. Marshalls will show pictures of the newest shoes they have in and more. Facebook has found the best way to sell advertising space in a way that doesn't bother the user.

  3. Compared to lots of sites, I think Facebook still does ads the right way. No banners (I HATE banners), no floating things over your screen that you have to close (I HATE those even more than banners), nothing that blinks, talks, or generally takes over your experience. If you gaze to the right, you see ads. Sometimes, I don't notice them. When they're really inappropriate for me, I delete them and send the thing that says why I didn't like it.

  4. I actually don’t have any problem with the advertisements. This is probably a combination of their discreetness and that they actually have things I’m interested in. When you think about it, most of us subscribe to what are basically ads: Groupon, Livingsocial, Gilt group, etc.