Taylor Davidson · Facebook's potential Adsense competitor

In a “world where more stuff is known by more people”, how will social data link with ads across the web? Here’s one idea.
by Taylor Davidson · 16 Sep 2011

Darren Herman wrote a great summary of Paul Graham’s keynote at the Y Combinator Ad Innovation Conference that we attended earlier this week. The increasing availability of data was an underlying theme that shown and caught our eyes, ears and minds; harnessing big data for advertising and marketing is a key component of kbs p Ventures’ investment thesis. Let’s think about one key point Paul mentioned:

Assuming you knew everything about someone, what ad would you create and serve for them?

Consider the Facebook Ads API and the Facebook Marketing API program. At the moment, they allow approved businesses and agencies to build and use custom tools to create, manage, and measure ads on Facebook.

Now, imagine a future where Facebook creates a competitor to Google’s Adsense based on the Graph API, allowing anyone to embed FB social data-powered ads on any website, utilizing a person’s logged-in state to deliver the same kind of relevant, targeted ads based on social data that you see on Facebook, with any sensitive personally-identifiable information scrubbed away.

Now imagine the same thing for Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram [1], Stumbleupon, Tumblr, et. al, for both their own individual Ads APIs harnessing the rich social, geo, content and intent data embedded in each service, used for targeting, social proof, and many more rich interactions that ad networks, publishers, agencies, brands and startups haven’t even begun to think about yet.

And with all that social data for ads available, an aggregator normalizer of all social data for ads available via APIs would be an immediate business opportunity and a key partner for innovative publishers and networks.

At YC, Paul pushed us to think about a “world where more stuff is known by more people”, and how disruptive that simple frame for thought and action can be for any industry. And that’s especially true in advertising.

  1. Might not be obvious, but definitely powerful. Imagine if Instagram could parse the context in the images to figure out what you liked to take pictures of, where you took pictures, and what pictures you liked? Why wouldn’t you use that for individualized, targeted creative customization? ↩︎