Facebook, in its ever-resourceful quest to balance advertising with its users fickle sense of home page ownership, is testing a new engagement ad that doesn't drive users to a sponsor's Facebook page but rather asks them to complete a direct response form that opens right on the home page. Currently offering a free Chick-fil-A chicken biscuit to users who provide their addresses, the ad provides a link that initiates a pop-up window over the news feed. The response form asks for users' information and allows them to use the ad to update their addresses within their profiles or to gloat about their free breakfast sandwiches on their walls.
The new ad format is the most integrated home page ad option Facebook has yet offered, allowing advertiser and customer to communicate valuable marketing data without ever leaving the user's home page. The free sample format being tested with Chick-fil-A is ideal for national food chains, but could easily be tweaked to serve other consumer packaged goods brands. The data gathered will help drive future marketing initiatives for consumer brands, the response to ads is easily measurable, and users get a free chicken biscuit. Talk about a win-win-win.
Facebook, ever wary of backlash from users, wisely designed this pop-up to be user-activated. That is, until the user clicks on the link within the standard ad in the usual advertising space to the right of the news feed, the pop-up will not activate. It's a good thing; the furor that would erupt if Facebook implemented pop-ups at login or those annoying rollover pop-up land mines that litter some sites borders on unimaginable. As is, the model remains unintrusive, but for customers that wish to engage (i.e., anyone who has ever consumed a chicken biscuit) the experience is swift and convenient, keeping the user right there on his or her home page. The ability to quickly share the free-biscuit experience is icing on the cake for advertisers.
Facebook has talked a lot lately about upping its performance advertising capabilities and has announced a new Ads Manager is on the way, so expect to see more experimentation and innovation on this front in coming months.
[via Inside Facebook]
(Images: Matt Zarzecki)