Facebook via YouTube


Facebook sells $7 billion worth of ads a year. Turns out it can make some pretty slick ones, too: Unlike that weird, properly mocked “Chair” ad it tried out two years ago, the spots in its new batch make plenty of real-world sense — Facebook helps you connect with your pals, so you can do cool things like take dancing lessons, run a marathon or plummet down a hill on a couch packed with attractive people while someone in a frog suit (?) cheers you on.

A sampling of the spots, created by Wieden + Kennedy, still best known as Nike’s ad agency:

Why is Facebook advertising Facebook? For the same reason that every giant global brand spends a ton of time and money on advertising — to remind people that it exists.

The thing is, the only time you are going to see these ads is when you’re already on Facebook.

Facebook says the spots, which it has been rolling out for the past month or so, are only meant to appear on the site’s News Feed, which seems like the last place you might want to see them. This would be like a McDonald’s campaign that only ran in front of people who had already placed their drive-through orders.

Still, they are very nice ads. If you don’t want to wait for them to show up in your feed, you can see them all on YouTube.


The economics of advertising are part of the motivation for Facebook advertising themselves. On the site there exists a quantity of advertising impressions 'available' (supply) and there are advertisers paying to place advertising (demand). The price of the placement is a market. Selling 100% of the available impressions often causes the last 10-20% to be sold too cheaply, and often with lower quality material. So it is left unsold. It also acts as a buffer if there is suddenly more demand than supply. But because the product (supply) is people looking at Facebook, you actually don't want to have users not seeing advertising as they might prefer it. So you place your own adverts (usually called 'house ads'). So long as they are good quality, then people enjoy them, and they keep the quality of advertising higher (and manage expectations too). In addition, well designed adverts will also increase the use of the site, and in turn create more user views, which is more product - more supply. It is usually quite healthy to see 'house ads' as it is part of the economics to get the pricing right. Only if you see nothing except house ads is there a problem, that is unless you are in a demographic which is a little interest to any advertisers.


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