The test on Facebook pages will run for the next several months
in the US, UK, France, Germany and Canada, a spokesman said.
Ad network TrialPlay has been powering the credits system
inside Facebook since last year, including the deal to allow users
to rent Warner Bros. "The Dark Knight ." Users have been
able to get credits inside games by doing such tasks as signing up
for magazine subscriptions or buying items like flowers. That
activity earned them credits eligible to be redeemed anywhere on
Facebook. TrialPlay will continue to manage the system -- through a
platform they call DealPlay -- but will now include video ads from
four companies -- Sharethrough,
EpicSocial, SocialVibe and SupersonicAds. When users are inside the game, they have
a choice to click on a button that will take them to the ad.
SocialVibe raised $20 million in March, is no stranger to
Facebook -- they power the advertising in Zynga hits like
Cityville, Petville and many others and reach 200 million gamers a
month by offering ads from brands like Lexus, American Express and
"What we've learned from millions of interactions is people like
free stuff and now Facebook users can earn credits simply by
participating with the advertiser to get that free stuff," said CEO
Jay Samit. "This kind of advertising satisfies what brands have
been looking for -- an opt-in experience with a reach greater than
TV and highly targeted."
Sharethrough works with branded content videos and said that
this move by Facebook validates an important distinction between
traditional advertising and content people choose to watch.
"This new initiative marks Facebook's validation of social
video, focusing on views, not impressions; choice, not
interruption; shares, not just click-through rates," said
Sharethrough CEO Dan Greenberg. "The success metric is the social
impact that the brand campaign has."
What Mr. Greenberg said fits in with Facebook's "social by
design" mantra -- meaning that everything they do is meant to be
shared and experienced with friends -- including advertising.
An example of this kind of video that Facebook users can earn
credits by watching is an ad created for Rokk Vodka by the Lonely Island
comedic troupe -- the same crew of producers that make the
hilarious shorts for Saturday Night Live.