Why advertiser ‘revolts’ never sway Facebook

Digiday 25 Jun 2020 04:10
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June 25, 2020 by Brian Morrissey

Back in November 2007, there was a line around the block in New York’s Meatpacking district for an eagerly anticipated event: Facebook’s first big foray into advertising. Mark Zuckerberg was a different leader then. He wasn’t far from his “brogrammer’ days, carrying around a business card reading “I’m the CEO, bitch.” The crowd of marketers and journalists wanted to see how Zuckerberg would perform. I remember thinking while he spoke that it was clear he took lessons in public speaking and was following them almost robotically. He declared then that “media would change forever.” 

It seemed like hyperbole at the time, but Facebook went on to change media, in ways that nobody at that event quite imagined. What was notable about the introduction of what were called Facebook Social Ads was something at the time seemed less important than the social ad features: Beacon. It attracted big name advertisers, including Coke and Blockbuster (hey, it was 2007), eager to tap into Facebook’s burgeoning “social graph” (remember that?).

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