Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg have introduced Facebook Ads, an ad system for businesses to connect with users and target advertising to the exact audiences they want. Through Facebook Ads, these users can now learn about new businesses, brands and products through the referrals of their friends.
"Facebook Ads represent a completely new way of advertising online," Zuckerberg told an audience of more than 250 marketing and advertising executives in New York. "For the last hundred years media has been pushed out to people, but now marketers are going to be a part of the conversation. And they're going to do this by using the social graph in the same way our users do."
The keynote opened the Facebook Social Advertising event, which also featured senior executives from partners including Blockbuster, CBS, Chase, The Coca-Cola Company, Microsoft, Sony Pictures Television and Verizon Wireless. More than 60 major consumer and Internet brand partners were highlighted at the launch of Facebook Ads.
Facebook Ads launched with three parts: a way for businesses to build pages on Facebook to connect with their audiences; an ad system that facilitates the spread of brand messages virally through Facebook Social Ads; and an interface to gather insights into people's activity on Facebook.
Zuckerberg detailed how Facebook Pages allows users to interact and affiliate with businesses and organizations in the same way they interact with other Facebook user profiles. More than 100,000 new Facebook Pages launched today covering the world's largest brands, local businesses, organizations and bands.
Just like a Facebook user, businesses can start with a blank canvas and add all the information and content they want, including photos, videos, music and Facebook Platform applications. Outside developers have created a range of applications to enhance Facebook Pages, such as booking reservations or providing reviews of restaurant pages, buying tickets on a movie page or creating a custom t-shirt.
Advertising messages will gain distribution through what Facebook has termed the "social graph," the network of real connections through which people communicate and share information. When people engage with a business' Facebook Page, that action will spread information about that business through the social graph.
"Social actions are powerful because they act as trusted referrals and reinforce the fact that people influence people," said Zuckerberg. "It's no longer just about messages that are broadcasted out by companies, but increasingly about information that is shared between friends. So we set out to use these social actions to build a new kind of ad system."
Facebook's ad system serves Social Ads that combine social actions from your friends -- such as a purchase of a product or review of a restaurant -- with an advertiser's message. This enables advertisers to deliver more tailored and relevant ads to Facebook users that now include information from their friends so they can make more informed decisions. No personally identifiable information is shared with an advertiser in creating a Social Ad.
Social Ads can appear either within a user's News Feed as sponsored content or in the ad space along the left side of the site.