Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Facebook Turns Up the Volume on Its TV Ad Pitch

Facebook is on track to do more than $6 billion in ad sales this year. It would like more, and it would like to start getting more of those dollars from people who spend money on TV ads.

The world’s largest social network has had those ambitions for a long time. But now you can see them ramping up a TV play, via some public messaging, in front of your eyes:

And today comes research from Nielsen, paid for by Facebook, pointing out that Facebook draws more eyeballs than TV during the day, and lots of eyeballs during prime-time TV. And Nielsen says Facebook attracts more 18-to-24-year-olds than the four major TV networks at night.

Just like Twitter, which has made TV a focus of its ad pitch, Facebook is trying to walk a line: It wants TV ad dollars, but it doesn’t want to scare away the TV programmers and distributors, so right now it is telling advertisers to buy Facebook ads to complement their TV ads, not to replace them.

That’s also probably realistic, since, despite all the talk you hear to the contrary, there are no signs the $76 billion TV ad business is moving online anytime soon.

But if you’re Facebook, or Twitter, or anyone else on the Web, you will be very happy to start being included in TV ad planning, and not in the digital leftover budget. And then, maybe one day, you can start getting TV ad dollars, for real.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work