In the movie about Mark Zuckerberg and his partners founding Facebook—The Social Network—cofounder Eduardo Saverin is portrayed as pushing for the site to sell online advertising, which, in the early days according to the movie version, Zuckerberg apparently wanted nothing to do with. “We don’t even know what it is yet,” the Zuckerberg character says when Saverin continues to push his agenda.
Times have changed and Facebook sure knows what it is now.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has announced she’s planning a strategy similar to one she employed while VP of global online sales and operations at Google. Reports are that the largest social networking site in the world will begin offering $50 advertising credits to as many as 200,000 small businesses as early as next week. Why? Because just as at one time you probably didn’t even know what Facebook was and now you check your page multiple times a day, the brass at Facebook recognize that people’s obsession with Facebooking opens up a whole new advertising opportunity.
Word is Facebook will set you up with an ad that racks up a cost per click—say 5 or 10 cents—and spot you the first $50. According to Sandberg, that’s enough for a typical small business to target everyone it needs to at least once, recognize that the concept is a viable way to generating ROI, and create the latest addiction among Type A business owners—obsessing over their Facebook ad campaigns while sipping their morning coffee.
No word yet on how Facebook is going to divvy out the credits, but we’ll certainly keep our ear to the keyboard for you. Because even if you can manage to keep the cyber monkey off your back and not renew after your initial credit is gone, $50 is $50, and a lot of businesses are liable to get in line fast once the program is launched.
So Saverin’s idea wasn’t such a bad one, it seems. Just his timing was off. Maybe if he’d waited a few years to push for Facebook advertising, he’d still have his 30 percent stake in the company. But, hey, maybe with a few of your advertising dollars thrown into the mix, Eduardo won’t be living out of his Bentley for too much longer.