Big news came from Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg announcing Facebook Ads -- an ad system for businesses to present Facebook users with targeted ads in a social context, that encourages customers to share marketing messages with friends.
Zuckerberg told marketers at ad:tech New York yesterday day that "Pushing your message out to people is no longer good enough."
It's the social context that gives the messages impact because it encourages customers to share marketing messages with friends. It's the referral from someone you trust that makes the difference.
Twelve major advertisers plan to use the system initially, including Blockbuster, CBS, Chase, The Coca-Cola Co., Saturn, Sony Pictures, The New York Times Co., and Verizon.
Building on the theme of conversation with customers and prospects, a distinguished panel moderated by Stuart Elliot, advertising columnist of the New York Times, explored the development of social networking for building brands in the digital age.
Panelists -- including Executive VP of the Nielsen Company Susan Whiting, President of Integrated Media at NBC Universal Beth Comstock, and Co-CEO of Ogilvy and Mather Carla Hendra -- sounded a common theme that the elements that make digital marketing so powerful for strenthening brands are: engagement, interactivity and advocacy.
"We know our viewers and customers so well," Beth Comstock said, "that we know what they want before they know what they want. . . we just have to make sure to be polite about it."
In a nutshell, that may be the problem for Facebook and other social media ad vehicles: backlash from a what is perceived by most as an invasion of privacy.
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