Building on Kevin’s post about Promoted Tweets, here’s a story about Facebook’s latest twist on social advertising: the “Comments Ad,” which will appear on the right-hand column of your news feed (just like other Facebook ads) but will be framed as a question or comment from a brand. In the same way our blog posts are designed to provoke responses from Fordham classmates, these ads are designed to stir up comments and engagement around the advertiser’s topic of choice. The ensuing conversations will appear in the user’s news feed, where, as the article explains, they “reap earned ad impressions among that user’s friends.”
So in some ways, Comments Ads will be like paid versions of Twitter’s hashtag system. Users will log in and see what will essentially be a “trending” topic on their newsfeed, except that topic will be a question from an advertiser. They can comment or “like” the question, or they can choose to ignore it – something that shouldn’t be too difficult given relatively nonintrusive placement of the ad itself.
What’s really interesting is how Facebook stumbled upon this concept. Knowing how many smart people spend their days dreaming up ways to make money in the social media space, they held a big contest and crowdsourced over 100 ad treatment ideas from the top creative agencies in the business. The winning agency (Leo Burnett out of Chicago) will have exclusive use of the Comments Ad for two months, after which it will be available for premium advertisers.
Would you interact with a Comments Ad, knowing that the interaction would be broadcast to all of your Facebook friends? If so, what sort of question would be most likely to get you to comment?