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MySpace user profiles attract blue chip advertisers; Times are changing

Technology trends and news by Bambi Francisco Roizen
November 5, 2007
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/8e

Who would have ever thought that companies, such as P&G, would want their ads on user-generated profiles? Recall, many advertisers have hemmed and hawed about having their brands associated with text and images in environments they can't control, or can't predict.  What's more unpredictable than a user profile? http://www.proof7.com/p7nyc/images/myspace-logo-marker-bg-thumb.jpgBut times, they are... umm, changing.

News Corp's MySpace on Monday said it's launching a "SelfServe" advertising platform, and expanding its "HyperTareting" platform. I'll get to the self-serve advertising implications later.

But first let me touch on "hyper" targeting. The hypertargeting platform, originally launched in July, allows marketers to connect with specific user groups based on their expressd interests on their profiles. The HyperTargeting platform has now expanded to 100 categories, up from 10.  

MySpace already generates about $40 million in advertising per month, according to Richard Greenfield, an analyst at Pali Research. No doubt, this service will bump that figure up. 

The interesting part of the hyper-targeting expansion is the quality of advertisrs willing to place their ads on the user profiles. "P&G, Ford, Microsoft, Taco Bell, XM Satellite Radio, Toyota, etc… Importantly, many of the 50 advertisers using the Myspace hypertargeted ad system are actually using it on personal pages," wrote Greenfield, in his research report. He goes onto say that the fact that these big companies are participating illustrates how advertising "norms" are changing. 

The MySpace ad system categorizes users based on what they write in their blogs, what groups they're part of, what they say they're interested in, and the photos they upload, according to Greenfield. In this way, car makers can target consumers who are passionate about cars, and not just a person who watches a car show weekly or once a month.

Now, this is getting granular. Few social networks can pull it off. If any network can aggregate enough text and user input, it's MySpace, with some 110 members, 68 million unique monthly visitors, and 44 billion monthly pageviews. MySpace, which is estimated to be worth about $11.5 billion, is launching this ad initiative on the same week that rival social network Facebook is expected to launch theirs. 

As for MySpace's self-service ad platform, it is really targeted to small businesses and bands that want to buy advertising and reach out to MySpace's more than 100 million users in a more targeted fashion.  For instance, "a band from Toronto would be able to target local MySpace users when going on tour across Ontario without having to pay for ads that will show up on profiles of music fans in Delaware," according to ReportBusiness.com.

MySpace's move certainly affects a number of companies on Vator trying to target the small business. Among them are Spotzer and ViTrue.

 

Editor's note: For a look at companies changing the advertising and media landscape, check out the submissions to the AlwaysOn media-game changers competition. The winner gets flown to New York to present in front of hundreds of relevant people in the advertising/media industry.