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“Give Mark money!”, or how Facebook’s advertising appetites have changed

Last year, the head of Facebook changed the company’s mission. Instead of “uniting families and friends”, it was “creating a global social infrastructure”. This is how the ideological transformation of a cozy website for like-minded people into a transnational giant was completed. But in fact, the spirit of a big Corporation has been haunting the social network since Mark Zuckerberg’s Dorm. In this article, we will tell you how the company’s advertising appetites have grown over the past 15 years
The first isMark Zuckerberg has repeatedly stressed that he did not create Facebook for money. However, the monetization of the project has started pretty quickly. Already in the year of the social network’s Foundation, he launches the Flyers project. Local clubs post information about parties and social events for students and pay between $ 10 and $ 40 per day to display an ad.

Facebook’s first major client is PartyPoker, an online casino. For each user who has deposited $ 50 to the account, PartyPoker transfers $ 300. Takes the baton from Apple. Steve jobs ‘ company pays a dollar for each user who joins a corporate Facebook group.

After realizing the potential of advertising, Facebook updates the Flyers Pro system. The advertiser is now able to target keywords in user profiles, work, relationship status, political views, and education. Another system, Facebook Ads, allowed advertisers to manage their ads: create company pages, distribute ad messages, and analyze their target audience.

Smart feed

Since 2008, ads have appeared in news feeds — users can comment, like ad pages and subscribe to advertisers ‘ news. But the real boom came three years later: if previously Facebook ads consisted of banners, company pages, and ads in the right column, now advertisers ‘ content looks like posts from friends.

But the audience quickly recognized the ads and was reluctant to click on the banners. To increase conversion, Facebook has developed a “smart feed”. Instead of chronological sorting of messages, the algorithm combines chronology with popularity — to display the most relevant posts at the most appropriate time (depending on the actions that the user performed on the partners ‘ site, in the social network itself, at a time when he is more likely to be ready for targeted actions).

In the next 10 years, the algorithm is constantly getting smarter. It requires brands to provide more organic content so that users only see messages that are interesting to them. Tougher requirements for advertising posts, their coverage is gradually falling. Facebook filters links to low-quality websites, punishes clickbait headlines and videos, and crack down on fake news. Advertising is better hidden, but still remains advertising.

Towards a mobile audience

From 2009 to 2012, Facebook appeals to the mobile audience. A mobile version of the site and a mobile app for Android are being developed consistently. Without warm-UPS, Facebook ads appear on phone screens — advertising stories, commercial messages, and offers to install apps.

In parallel, the development of Facebook Messenger is being completed. With advertising in it, the developers pulled for seven years, but still could not resist. Since 2017, a carousel with advertising banners has appeared on the main page of Messenger. A similar format is broadcast in the news feed.

It didn’t seem like a revolution at the time, but mobile advertising turned the global Internet market around. In 2012, mobile advertising accounted for 23% of Facebook’s revenue, and in 2018, it was already a staggering 93 %.

Remove this immediately

In 2013, Facebook announced the appearance of video ads. When advertisers finally got the chance to upload short videos from 3 to 15 seconds, it was just the beginning. Today, video advertising includes several formats: pre-roll and mid-roll in videos, advertising in “stories” and live broadcasts.

Along with the development of video content, the social network updated the feed’s algorithms. In 2017, videos were given priority over other content. When ranking, Facebook took into account audience engagement indicators: likes, reposts, repeat views, and still put videos above the text.

Two years ago, Facebook launched the stories format. Instagram Facebook users could share video stories with their friends on Facebook. A year later, when the number of active users exceeded 150 million, the social network introduced advertising. Advertising in “stories” includes three formats: video, image, and slideshow.

More money — more services

In 2018, Facebook’s revenue rose to a record $ 55.8 billion, of which advertising revenue was $ 55 billion. What are these numbers for? All of Facebook’s communication formats were commercialized sooner or later. By improving the algorithms, the owners struggled with the obsession of advertising, but not with its quantity.

Let’s assume that the trend will continue. Users hide from advertising in new communication formats and even services (Hello, WhatsApp), but it goes after people, better and better masquerading as useful content. Facebook knows how to get you to visit a brand page.

One of Mark Zuckerberg’s most famous quotes: “We don’t create services to make money. We earn money to create better services.” Facebook’s history proves that the best services make money quite successfully.

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