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Will Facebook's Premium Ads Be a Game Changer?

  |  March 1, 2012   |  Comments

Can Premium Ads redefine advertising and keep Facebook on top?

The most successful brands on Facebook share a common trait - they've figured out a way to connect with users around a shared interest or passion. They build upon that foundation and success by creating unique and engaging content, encouraging conversations, and adding value. While "likes" can build quickly through word of mouth, they are often accelerated through the integration of the brand's Facebook address across all key touch points and via promotions and advertising to Facebook's more than 126 million active users in the U.S. and Canada. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Facebook was the U.S. display advertising leader for the second straight year according to eMarketer, with $1.73 billion, followed by Google and Yahoo. But with Google nipping at its heels, Facebook is once again looking to change the game, and it starts this month with the launch of Premium Ads, its new ad format.

Facebook's Premium Ads, announced officially at Facebook's "fMC" confab on February 29, combines the strengths of Facebook (where connections, conversations, and community flourish) with the triad of marketing disciplines (paid, earned, and owned media so central to every leading brand's media strategy). Premium Ads not only puts a brand's page and relevant post in front of the right audience, but it leverages an individual's connections, i.e., "social context" to amplify its relevance and trust. The result, according to Facebook's internal testing, is expected to delight advertisers. Specifically, according to Facebook, Premium Ads are:

  • 80 percent more likely to be remembered
  • Drive 40 percent higher engagement
  • Significantly increase purchase intent


Source: Facebook Premium Page Post Ads Guide

Expectations are so high for the new format that many new and established social media players are rushing to support the new ads. Forbes.com recently highlighted several social media players scrambling to buy, build, or partner to support Premium Ads. Featured players included Buddy Media's acquisition of ad buying software company Brighter Option, Wildfire Interactive's integration of Adaptly's ad buying technology into its platform, and GraphEffect's new feature enhancements designed to recommend new target audiences and help brands identify and optimize the most valuable engaging content to feature into Premium Ads.

So if you're a brand that's established a strategy and been fairly successful at engaging your community, what should you do?

  1. Jump in and test. Premium Ads look like a no-brainer, but results may vary. Test and compare this new ad format's efficiency against other key audience drivers.
  2. Evaluate partner options. As the build, buy, and partner frenzy continues, new solutions will emerge to help brands optimize their Facebook Premium Ads placement efforts. Start the evaluation process now and remember the strategy and support that drives the solution is often still the most important factor to assure success.
  3. Add retargeting to the mix. Premium Ads is all about leveraging your social posts and social context to drive acquisition and encourage engagement. Adding a retargeting strategy into the mix, it is the perfect complement to help seal the deal and ultimately understand conversion and attribution for your efforts.

Will Premium Ads redefine advertising and keep Facebook on top? Well, if the influx of new solutions combined with the promise of combining paid, earned, and owned media with a double-digit lift in performance is any indication, the answer is yes.


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Michael Della Penna

Michael Della Penna is a seasoned marketing professional with a long, proven track record of launching successful marketing, branding, and sales strategies for leading public and private companies. Most recently, Michael was the senior vice president of Emerging Channels at Responsys. His responsibilities included spearheading the overall strategic direction, partnerships, and solution offering across key emerging channels including social, mobile, and display for the company. Prior to Responsys, Michael founded SuiteDialog and Conversa Marketing, a full-service email and social CRM agency that helped brands ignite conversations and cultivate relationships with customers across the social web. Conversa Marketing, was acquired by StrongMail Systems in 2010. Before branching out on his own, Michael served as chief marketing officer for Epsilon, a leading provider of multichannel, data-driven marketing services. Michael's other key marketing leadership roles include CMO at Bigfoot Interactive, vice president of strategic development at CNET Networks, Inc., and vice president of marketing at ZDNet. Michael received a B.B.A. and an M.B.A. from Hofstra University.

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