Facebook Launches New “Comment” Ad Format June 26, 2011 by Brett Prince Facebook is well aware that their own success depends on their ability to create new and exciting ways that brands can advertise on their platform. If we look at what Facebook has done over the past year, we can see that innovative approach through new ad formats such as Sponsored Stories and “Ads with Friends”. 2011 is also bringing social advertising to a new level. Next week Facebook will be launching a new ad style that’s not only innovative in terms of format, but through the actual conception of the idea. It’s a unique approach, and Facebook didn’t develop with the idea internally – they crowdsourced it. The new ad format is known as the “Comment” ad. The ad will be displayed within the right-hand column, just like existing ads. The idea behind the ad was to format it like a conversion, (or as Facebook is calling it, “a story”). A brand will have the ability to post a statement or a question, and below the post will be a comment box, allowing the user to enter a response to the original post. If the user does decide to respond, the conversion is then posted to the user’s News Feed, allowing the brand to reap the benefits of “earned” impressions among the user’s friends. If the user’s friends comment on the ad themselves, those comments have the potential to be transformed into Sponsored Stories. It’s the ad that just keeps on giving. The ad came about through the result of a competition Facebook held last year, with creative agencies being the sole participants. The selected agencies have brought ideas to Facebook in the past, such as new and exciting ways that brands can promote themselves within the social network. Facebook decided to tap into the community to come up with a new format that could be used and tested with at least a slice of their advertisers. Ten agencies ended up submitting about 100 ideas total, which were then knocked down to the top five and voted on by a panel. The winner of the competition ended up being the “Comment” ad, which was submitted by agency Leo Brunett, based out of Chicago. The new ad format is set to launch on June 28th. Leo Brunett also has exclusive use of the format for a two month period before Facebook opens it up to additional premium advertisers. Facebook doesn’t consider itself a conventional media site where ads can be broadcast one-way. Rather, Facebook values itself in being able to create relationships and connections between consumers and brands. Conversions have proven to be a powerful and successful way to do that, the “Comment” ad being the ideal ad solution to kickstart conversations. Facebook has said that they will be running a similar competition soon, even with their internal team steadily working on their own ideas. Facebook hasn’t decided whether or not the competition approach will be a regular thing, but they’ll be tracking and measuring the success of the new formats within the market. How about it? Would you use the “Comment” ad in response to a brand?