TechCrunch has a good summary of the new features available to advertisers.
[It] starts with a customer list that a business has already created — for example if I’ve given my email address to the bookstore on my block so that I can hear about future sales and events. Businesses will be able to upload those lists of email addresses, phone numbers, and user IDs to Facebook…
[Businesses] will have the option target their ads at that group, or they can further target their content towards a certain demographic (say, females between 25 and 45) within the group. The simplest use case: Most businesses have loyal customers who aren’t Facebook fans, so they can create an ad for those customers asking them to become fans.
Two questions that arose from reading this article:
- What does this do for the advertiser?
- How does this affect Facebook?
At first glance, I think this is very good for businesses advertising on Facebook. The longtime advantage of advertising on Facebook is the advanced targeting features, allowing you to reach the niche demographics needed for your business. As the sample use case above points out, a main benefit of these new features will allow a business to reach real-world "fans" of a business to encourage them to become Facebook "fans" as well.
Two things this does for the advertiser:
- Increases number of fans of business on Facebook
- Brings highly engaged fans to Facebook.
The second point is key. Engagement is a large part of EdgeRank and how your Facebook posts are seen in your fans' News Feed. Reaching out to those people who are already fans helps create the highly engaged community that will be a part of your business' social media marketing success.*
On the other hand, I think for the average user of Facebook, this is just one more intrusion into their personal lives with advertising. As Facebook continues to push for more ad revenue, it is finding more ways to alienate it's core product: you. Moving forward, Facebook needs to find a way to balance the need for satisfying shareholders and customers at the same time.
* Social Media Today has a great article about Engagement and the effect different post types have on Engagement. Basic Point: Photos are King.