(...and used on Bebo now that they have chosen to licence the FB platform. As
said in a session today, this will setup an interesting battle going into 2008 between Google Open Social and Facebook who seem hell bent on trying to 'out open' each other).
Beacon ads capture personal activities, such as purchases on Amazon, and then tell the world about this on your FB news feed. Controversy came with launch because FB took the decision to make this opt-out and not opt-in. Commercially, and for the short term, it's clear to see why they would do this as it could give their ad sales figures a boost and help them live up to their paper value, but the consumer didn't like it at all. Following protests on FB itself, FB backed down and re-launched as opt-in.
This isn't the first time FB have had negative publicity of this type and I doubt the storm is quite gone in this case either as there are now legal questions being asked about marrying up all this personal data.
So why will Beacon Ads still be a viable option for advertisers?
Well, most clients think they want a viral campaign at some stage but viral is often oversold, over considered and over hyped with disappointing results. and viral campaigns that you been involved and ask yourself what % have been truly successful, and I mean successful on a worthwhile scale. (Think
, Spank the Monkey etc)
Most aren't successful because they lack initial audience to cross the point of no return and generate some momentum. Also, most have a clunky viral mechanism such as an old school refer-a-friend form.
Beacon Ads overcome these problems; the audience already exists and they have the mechanism. Perfect.