MBA in Marketing
20 January 2013
The New Facebook Ad Strategy The development of social networking sites has gained the attention of marketers by offering both a more targetable consumer base and method for advertisement. Facebook has gained the spotlight with a new strategy for social advertising to revolutionize the future. With more than one-fourth of the world using the Internet and nearly one-third of them having at least visited the site (Pride & Ferrell, 2012), Facebook has designed a way to turn its social networking nature into a new venture from traditional advertisement targeting. The idea, however, has also conjured many concerns including the ethical treatment of user, or potential consumer, privacy.
Is Facebook's plan a legitimate use of research data? According to Klaassen (2007), the Facebook plan represents the new way to advertise online via person-to-person communication which creates more opportunities for individuals to influence each other, essentially putting advertising in the hands of people. Company pages allow users to interacts with their brands and become fans of their pages. This, in turn, is displayed on the user’s news feed accompanied by a company ad. The issue lies in the connectivity, linkages between information providers and customers (Pride & Ferrell, 2012), where targeted ads will be based off the information users provide about themselves. Although users have control of which pages they like or become fans of, it should not allow their pages to become targets for companies to advertise to.
Does it violate users- privacy rights? A social network, as defined by Pride & Ferrell (2012) is a web-based place for friends, family, and peers to create a profile and connect with other users for purposes ranging from getting acquainted to building a work related network. While privacy setting can regulate people, such as ‘friends only’ or ‘friends of friends’ from viewing your profile, company pages are not so easily controlled as they are pages that have been ‘liked’ or ‘become a fan’ of. As Swartz & Howard (2007) put it, social advertising is about mining the information people post about themselves and using it for targeted advertising which stirs the question of ethics. Without proper privacy controls, users are unable to control the tolerant amount of advertisement related posts or control the information that companies can obtain besides not ‘liking’ or ‘becoming a fan’ of a page. Furthermore, regulations on consumer privacy are seen as a threat to web advertisers and efforts by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or Advertising Bureau to establish policies or consumer control are undermined by self-regulation efforts that do not abide to the law (Pride & Ferrell, 2012).
Are there potentially negative outcomes of Facebook's plan? Yes, like any plan that has yet to be executed. A main concern by Facebook is the user reaction and tolerance levels once implemented. Without regulation, marketers can flood