Digital Conference

Facebook: We Have No Plans for an Ad Network

Partnerships Chief Fischer Calls Out Campaigns by P&G, Domino's and 'Dallas'

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A correction has been made in this story. See below for details.

Facebook VP-Business and Marketing Partnerships David Fischer cited a range of brands from Procter & Gamble to Domino's to the reboot of the classic soap "Dallas" as innovative users of the social network in his remarks at Ad Age 's Digital Conference this morning.

David Fischer, VP-business and marketing partnerships at Facebook, delivers a presentation at the Ad Age Digital Conference Wednesday morning in New York.
David Fischer, VP-business and marketing partnerships at Facebook, delivers a presentation at the Ad Age Digital Conference Wednesday morning in New York. Credit: Patrick Butler

Facebook's initial public offering is next month, so company executives are prohibited from discussing its financials. But since its FMC conference for marketers in February -- when it introduced pricey log-out ads and a new package called "Reach Generator" that promises marketers that ads built out of their timeline posts will reach a far higher percentage of fans than they would have organically -- Facebook has been on a mission to rebrand ads as "stories." Mr. Fischer spoke to that , saying that marketers' Facebook strategies need to center on "content beyond what you'd traditionally call advertising."

The power of regularly messaging fans and their friends is at the core of Facebook's pitch to marketers, and Mr. Fischer cited data supporting the notion that "always-on" marketing drives results. According to a ComScore study, Starbucks' fans and their friends spent 8% more in store and with 11% greater frequency than non-fans who were Starbucks customers. (Asked whether Facebook "fans" were already inherently more likely to buy as many are presumably brand loyalists offline, Mr. Fischer said that "engagement and awareness" driven by Facebook fans can lead to offline sales.) In the same study, fans of retailers were two times as likely to visit as non-fans, while their friends were 1.5 times as likely.

Mr. Fischer also called out a few brands that have been effectively using Facebook's new products. He mentioned TNT's Dallas reboot set to debut in June, which already has 650,000 fans and is regularly posting updates in the voice of the rascally lead character J.R. Ewing. The show's timeline is also filled with memorable moments from the show dating back to 1979.

Discussing other interesting recent work on the Facebook platform, Mr. Fischer mentioned P&G's "Thank You Mom" campaign, developed by Wieden & Kennedy and launched yesterday in 29 countries for the 100-day run-up to the Olympics. (P&G is an Olympics sponsor.) The app invites users to upload family photos and write messages to their mothers that will be posted to their news feeds.

Finally, when asked whether or not Facebook was hatching plans to take its targeting capabilities off its own platform, Mr. Fischer said that it's a question he often fields but that there are no plans for an ad network.

"Today's answer is the same answer: We're not working on anything like that now," he said.

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CORRECTION: The original version of this article stated that Nielsen conducted the study on Starbucks customers. The study was done by ComScore.

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