Social Advertising Best Practices. A Good StartTweet
The Interactive Advertising Bureau just published Social Advertising Best Practices. I'm glad the spotlight is being shone on social advertising and I think the best practices are a worthy effort. However, I'd love to see a little more out of these best practices. Here's what I'm looking for:
The definition of a social ad could be broader. It shouldn't just be about user interactions but also include social media beyond social graph related information. "Social Data" is defined a little too tightly for my liking. I would like to see the definition allowing for the inclusion of user generated content too. The best practices aren't clear on this. If it is going to be limited to just user interactions then don't call them social ads call them social graph ads.
The context for delivering the social ad shouldn't be restricted to a social network or a social website where a consumer has established explicit connections with other users. If there's anything that Facebook Connect and the Twitter API have taught us, it is that the whole web has gone social and a social graph isn't tied to a specific website. The explicit connection can be on Facebook with it being manifested on another website. With Facebook's upcoming ad network, we're going to see ads of this kind across the whole web.
Don't try too hard to differentiate from behavioral targeting of ads. I can see social ads being deployed through a combination of social graph data and behaviorally targeting very successfully too. Social ads are an ad format while behaviorally targeting is a mechanism for delivering and targeting the advertisements. Direct comparisons between the two aren't needed.
Bring us platform specific best practices. Maybe I'm getting a little greedy here now, but the best practices are most useful when they account for the nuances of each individual social platform and what can be done through them. I also noticed that social advertising formats that are seen on social platforms outside of the major social networks and the blogosphere don't seem to get much attention. Maybe they'll be in the next version.
I like the emphasis on opt-in and the care for privacy concerns. I think some questions that we'll be answering in this space in the coming years will include - how well does social advertising scale up, will people want to control which exact friends see the advertisements and whether these ads will always perform better than traditional display advertising.
Regardless, a worthy effort from the IAB and one that can only get stronger in time. And as a person who's been exploring innovations in this space, I appreciate the effort put in.
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