Microsoft Digital Advertising Sales exec: Facebook is social media testing ground for brands

One of the best ways to track what’s in store for us with interactive advertising and digital marketing is to follow what companies are doing in Asia or the United Kingdom. Here’s some insight via Asia Media Journal about Microsoft’s expanded relationship with Facebook. Excerpt follows [and registration is required for the entire article]:

Microsoft (MSFT) set tongues wagging after paying US$240 million for a 1.6% stake in Facebook. The move prompted the same question from a lot of people: why?

The short answer is to see what happens next, explained Erik Johnson, Greater China general manager for Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions… The multi-million dollar outlay has bought Microsoft an invaluable vantage point from which it can both observe the ongoing development of Facebook, and test out theories about the potential of it and other forms of social media for brands.

“You’ve got to cover all your bases on this,” Johnson says. “… We have a lot of respect for the work they do in building out this social audience, but we also believe that the Facebook experience is still a little too flat, doesn’t have depth. The brand doesn’t stand for enough to provide huge differentiation for advertiser and marketer…The investment we made gives an option for Microsoft, at some point in the future, to work tighter with Facebook, or maybe we’ll just work with them on the advertising side.”

… “If there’s any phenomenon that we may think challenges that, it’s the social networking space. It is an experimentation phase, but we’re going to focus in on social networking versus paid search, and how you differentiate that to the advertiser in such a way that they would pick one or the other….”

source: “Why Microsoft Teamed Up with Facebook.” December 14, 2007.

Author: jeff

Jeff Chester is executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. A former journalist and filmmaker, Jeff's book on U.S. electronic media politics, entitled "Digital Destiny: New Media and the Future of Democracy" was published by The New Press in January 2007. He is now working on a new book about interactive advertising and the public interest.

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