Facebook Says Fast Moves with Microsoft a Good Thing

  |  August 23, 2006   |  Comments

A back-to-school deal makes Microsoft the exclusive seller and manager of all display ads and sponsored text links for the college-centric social networking site.

They say college kids move fast these days. For college market site Facebook, hopping in bed with Microsoft after initiating talks this past Thursday felt just right. According to a deal announced today, Microsoft will act as the exclusive seller and manager of all Facebook's display ads through its adCenter platform, and will provide the social networking site's first sponsored text link ads.

The speed with which the deal fell into place is a good thing, stressed Facebook Director of Marketing Melanie Deitch. "Why drag this out?" she questioned, asserting that the two companies share common goals. "We're both technology-focused companies at the core," she noted. Other ad platform offerings, Deitch explained, "just don't fit the bill."

Starting this fall, Microsoft-served banners will run on the left-hand side of the site below the navigation bar. The companies have yet to determine where the sponsored links will run, said Deitch. Until now, Facebook has sold targeted banners, "flier" units for local advertisers and sponsorships. Facebook will continue its focus on the more integrated sponsorship offerings, according to Deitch; advertisers such as Apple and the Dave Matthews Band 2006 tour sponsor their own groups which can be joined by Facebook members.

To date, the site has been managing its own display ads. "We really wanted to work with a trusted partner... so that we can focus on our core business," explained Deitch.

The deal has been compared to one signed between Google and News Corp.'s Fox Interactive Media (FIM) earlier this month which made the search giant the exclusive provider of search results and associated paid listings on a number of FIM's Web properties, including the highest-trafficked social networking site, MySpace. Not only does that $900 million agreement not involve display ads as the Facebook/Microsoft deal does; it entails sites outside the social networking sphere.

According to site traffic measurement outfit Hitwise, MySpace grabbed nearly 80 percent of the traffic to social networking sites in June, while second-place Facebook trailed at about 7.6 percent. To be fair, the Facebook universe is far more exclusive than that of MySpace, which allows anyone and everyone (including TV and movie characters) to set up free profiles. Facebook limits profiles to high school and college students and faculty, as well as staffers from a handful of large companies including Apple, Accenture, Gap, Microsoft and Pepsi.

Facebook surpassed nine million users this week, according to Deitch, who added that display ad targeting through Microsoft will most likely remain similar to what's already available on the student-schmoozing site. Ads can be targeted based on geography, gender, member interests, and networks (i.e. Web domains attached to specific schools or businesses).

In June, Facebook and agency holding company Interpublic Group forged an agreement to facilitate advertiser sponsorships and conduct consumer research for Interpublic clients. Deitch said she wasn't sure whether the new Microsoft deal would have any effect on the Interpublic relationship.

ClickZ Live Toronto Twitter Canada MD Kirstine Stewart to Keynote Toronto
ClickZ Live Toronto (May 14-16) is a new event addressing the rapidly changing landscape that digital marketers face. The agenda focuses on customer engagement and attaining maximum ROI through online marketing efforts across paid, owned & earned media. Register now and save!


Kate Kaye

Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

ClickZ Today is our #1 newsletter.
Get a daily dose of digital marketing.



Featured White Papers

ion Interactive Marketing Apps for Landing Pages White Paper

Marketing Apps for Landing Pages White Paper
Marketing apps can elevate a formulaic landing page into a highly interactive user experience. Learn how to turn your static content into exciting marketing apps.

eMarketer: Redefining Mobile-Only Users: Millions Selectively Avoid the Desktop

Redefining 'Mobile-Only' Users: Millions Selectively Avoid the Desktop
A new breed of selective mobile-only consumers has emerged. What are the demos of these users and how and where can marketers reach them?


    • Sr. Paid Search Manager
      Sr. Paid Search Manager (Bisk Education) - TampaCurrently seeking a Sr. Paid Search Manager in Tampa, FL for Bisk Education! Bisk Education is a...
    • Contact Center Professional
      Contact Center Professional (TCC: The Contact Center) - Hunt ValleyLooking to join a workforce that prides themselves on being routine and keeping...
    • Recruitment and Team Building Ambassador
      Recruitment and Team Building Ambassador (Agora Inc.) - BaltimoreAgora, www.agora-inc.com, continues to expand! In order to meet the needs of our...