Facebook advertising continues to evolve with what appears to be the start of a display network for Sponsored Story campaigns (and possibly other forms of advertising). The first property in the network is gaming portal Zynga.com. While this has potential to be a great revenue driver for both Facebook and advertisers, there’s a key feature missing. As of right now, advertisers have no control over where their ads are displayed.
After reading on TechCrunch about Facebook running ads on Zynga web properties, I decided to do some digging. I went to Zynga.com and connected my Facebook account, which is a requirement for playing games on the site. I instantly had Facebook Sponsored Stories appearing in the lower right corner of my browser. Nothing wrong with that. If you don’t want to see the ads, you can hide them along with the Zynga Chat window.
You can see what the experience looks like in the screenshot below.
I am curious how users will react to seeing their social behaviors appearing in advertising on other sites. For instance, my friend Robert Scoble now appears to be pitching Panasonic VIERA TV on Zynga.com. That’s different than when I see that same ad on Facebook. There is a new page in the Facebook Help Center specifically addressing ads on Facebook, but that won’t dictate how users react.
Facebook Ads Lack Site Targeting Option
The next stop was the Facebook Advertising interface. We needed to setup a Sponsored Story campaign for our latest blog post, which was a great opportunity to see if this change in advertising reach is reflected in the way campaign targeting is configured. As of right now, there is nothing in the advertising interface that allows me to opt-in to or opt-out of having ads appear offsite.
Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting advertisers won’t want to target Zynga or other sites via Facebook ads. I’m suggesting that advertisers need the ability to choose where ads run, because some sites are a better match for specific advertising campaigns than others. There may be some affiliate managers who play hours of Zynga games each week. Without the ability to test whether showing affiliate mangers ads on Zynga results in the type of engagement we are looking for, we aren’t getting the level of advertising control required to effectively target a campaign.
Hopefully this is just an early beta and the advanced targeting features are coming soon. Google AdWords lets advertisers choose which sites to include in a campaign. Microsoft AdCenter allows similar site targeting choices. Facebook employs lots of smart people, so I’m sure this is an effort to move to market quickly and improve the product as they go. I would love to have the option to run Facebook ads on dozens of sites and customize campaigns based on who I’m trying to reach.
Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After living nearly a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned to her home of Charleston, SC, where you can find her enjoying the sun and salt water with her family.