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BizReport : Social Marketing : November 16, 2009

Facebook enables advertisers to target friends of fans

Facebook has made it easier for advertisers to reach more people on the social network. Thanks to the newly released feature, "friends of connections", the reach of advertisers on the social network has exploded.

by Helen Leggatt

facebook logo.gifAdvertisers know that their current Page, Event, Group and Application users all have friends who might be interested in their brand. Until now, those friends have been untouchable unless "friended" with a personal account - something that is frowned upon.

However, Facebook's new feature, "friends of connections", enables advertisers to target friends of their fans using the new filter.

How does it work? Firstly, only administrators have access to the function which is located within the ad targeting interface. Once accessed, administrators enter the Page, Event, Group or Application into the relevant field to enable targeting of friends of those fans and users.

Those new targets will be displayed advertising featuring the line "XXX is a fan". The aim is to increase conversions working on the premise that, if one of a group of friends has associated themselves with a brand then their friends will be more likely to do so, too. The ads are, in effect, implying endorsement.

The potential for advertisers, especially those with large fan bases, is massive. As Ryan Spoon of Polaris Venture Partners explains on his blog, "A fan page with 10,000 fans then has the potential to reach 150,000 - 300,000 fans. For a brand like starbucks that has 5,000,000 fans, this allows them to reach a huge percentage of active users... and in a socially relevant way."

Tags: ad targeting, Facebook, online advertising, social media, social networking

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