In 2004, Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg created a Web site that would take the world by storm. As of mid-2010, Facebook had more than 500 million users, 70 percent of whom resided outside the United States. Even more amazing, 50 percent of all users checked their Facebook account at least once per day. Billions of photographs, status updates, Web links, and notes are shared among Facebook users every month. With all that activity, it shouldn't be a surprise that businesses started to show up, wondering how to reach out and talk to this vibrant global community.
Facebook responded by offering different solutions for companies, public figures, and brands to interact with Facebook users on both a professional and personal nature. An initial effort called "Fan pages" gave way to "business Pages," by which users can follow the activities of a business through their own News Feed on Facebook. When Microsoft made an equity investment in Facebook in 2007, Facebook allowed Microsoft to sell banner advertising on their site. Over the next few years, Facebook has changed their strategy and created different types of advertisement opportunities that companies of any size can use.
Of course, in true Facebook style, their advertisements were slightly different from the typical online ad model. On Facebook, advertisements can have "social" elements, which allow advertisers to show a potential user which of their friends have already interacted with that advertiser. These ads also have ...