MySpace launches ad network

Advertising platform allows users to create their own ads to target specific social networking demographics.

MySpace launched a beta version of its DIY (Do It Yourself) advertising platform today that's aimed at allowing individuals and small businesses to create their own ads that can be customized to specific users of the social network.

The new MySpaceMyAds , which MySpace first detailed in November, will allow anyone to create customized banner advertisements using MySpace's HyperTargeting technology.

HyperTargeting allows advertisers to tailor their ads to users based on their interests and other demographic details noted on their MySpace profiles. The technology uses machine-learning tools to analyze all the information provided by users, including the background themes they choose for their profiles and the photos they post to their blogs, to identify which products or services a user may be interested in, MySpace has said.

"MySpace MyAds is a direct marketer's dream - providing entrepreneurs with the most accessible, personalized, and targeted advertising toolkit in the market," said Jeff Berman, MySpace president of sales and marketing, in a statement. "We're giving businesses better ROI ASAP and in today's economy, that's a must-have."

After an ad is created, MySpace reviews it to ensure it meets MySpace's terms of service and then launches the ad. After the ad goes live, MySpace also will provide a suite of analytic tools and key performance indicators noting the number of times an ad was shown, the number of click-throughs and the running cost of a campaign, MySpace said. The advertiser is only charged when a user clicks on the ad as opposed to when an ad is served to a user, according to MySpace.

Michael Arrington, a blogger at TechCrunch, noted that the move by MySpace is part of the effort underway by all social networks to try to bolster revenue from the massive number of users they have attracted to their sites.

"The big social networks are still trying to find their ' Google Moment' - the point when (and if) they find a way to monetize these massive audiences they've attracted," Arrington added. "Google was just a great search engine until they matched it with contextual advertising. MySpace and Facebook need to find their own revenue engine."

Still, MySpace and its rival Facebook trail Google in the revenue they generate per visitor, he noted.

Rick Turoczy, a blogger at Read Write Web, noted the similarities between Google's AdWords and MySpace's MyAds.

"Like Google's ad platform, the new MySpace ad platform allows anyone to establish an account and begin targeting ads to a particular demographic," Turoczy added. "Unlike Google, however, MySpace allows users to build image-based ads on the fly. What's more, advertisers will find [that] the targeting options get exceptionally granular."

The ability to offer granular demographics to advertisements may help bolster MySpace's attempts to create a revenue stream from its user base, he added.

"Will advertisers adopt this 'hypertargeted' platform with the same vigor that has catapulted Google to such incredible heights? That remains to be seen." Turoczy said. "But one thing is for sure, with MyAds, MySpace has taken a decided step forward in attempting to drive revenue using its most valuable asset: its users."

Tags myadsMySpace

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Heather Havenstein

Computerworld (US)

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