Interesting article in The Economist about monetising social networks (“Tweeting all the way to the bank”).Of particular interest to me, as I have undertaken a Facebook advert for one of my work projects, on a trial basis. And it is proving to be worthwhile, finding individuals that I would have otherwise never reached.
I think that if your social network advert focuses on the social network dimension, then online advertising contributes to brand awareness and market penetration. But as witnessed elsewhere, having large numbers of “Fans” isn’t the endgame. It’s converting that interest into action. For social networks, I can see how non-FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) have an advantage. Your “ask” could be as much for non-monetary action (show up at an event/rally) as for a financial contribution.
But this also requires non-profits to think more like competitive businesses. All the same, with a market of 250 MILLION users, Facebook has the potential of an unprecedented platform. I’m still on the learning curve on this, and I hope Facebook don’t screw it up!