Facebook has a new advertising strategy that has enormous potential to enhance its revenue model, and might have just as much potential to alienate its users.
The new strategy being rolled out this week allows advertisers to buy ads targeted to the people who “like” their marketing sites, and to the Facebook friends of those people. Time magazine does the math, and notes that this can turn a company with 40,000 “likes” on its marketing site into an ad buyer with a potential reach of 12 million pairs of eyeballs, all of them belonging to people who have demonstrated some connection to a satisfied customer.
This is pretty heady stuff for advertisers, assuming that most people have a circle of friends who share something in common with them—they’re mostly young suburban moms, or Latino college students, or people who live in Atlanta. Few of us are that exclusive, of course, but it adds up to a promising “promoted word of mouth” campaign.