April 1, 2010, 12:00 AM

Ad program helps marketers get up close and personal with Facebook users

Facebook advertising is a new playground with new rules, marketing firm Kenshoo says. The firm aims to take advantage of Facebook’s just-launched ad targeting technology to help clients get a bit more creative in the social network’s advertising sandbox.

 

Facebook advertising is a new playground with new rules, according to marketing company Kenshoo. The firm says it is taking advantage of a just-launched ad targeting technology from Facebook to help its clients get a bit more creative in the social network’s advertising sandbox.

 

Rather than bid on a keyword a consumer may enter when searching via Google or Yahoo, the new Kenshoo service enables marketers to make bids based on a Facebook user’s profile. The user does not have to be searching the site for an ad to appear; rather the ads will surface as she navigates the network, for example, when she views a friend’s photo album or writes on a colleague’s wall.

 

The program leverages Facebook’s advertising application programming interface, or API, launched yesterday, that give advertisers access to information about the more than 400 million active Facebook users around the world, says Ariel Rosenstein, director of product marketing for Kenshoo. That would enable a running shoe manufacturer, for example, to bid on ads that would appear on pages seen by Facebook members that identify themselves as runners.

 

A marketer can target Facebook members not only on such basic descriptors as age, location and gender, but also on more specific characteristics such as a user’s fan pages, clubs and even the applications she has added to her profile. Some popular applications include the farm simulation game Farmville, in which members manage a virtual farm, or Vampires, where uses can earn points for biting friends and turning them into Vampires. A club, on the other hand could be, the local Nike Running Club.

 

Rosenstein says Kenshoo is one of the first online marketing firms testing out the new Facebook advertising API. The company is trying the program with five to ten clients this month, including apparel and home improvement retailers. Kenshoo charges clients a flat percentage of marketing ad spending across all the advertising platforms they use, such as search engine marketing and now Facebook.

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