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Comparing social ad networks

At the Facebook garage and at the Monetising Social Networks conference last week I presented slides on the ad network of the future and how app developers have to start preparing for it now.

One of the key slides was a comparison of Social Ad Networks current capacity which we see here. Across the top are the features offered to advertisers with the name of the network down the left hand side.

All advertisers offer standard display units, some offer Integrated (where you can see social network features such as a photo of a friend who is using the product), very few offer targeting (demographic by age and gender, geo by location or profile data by what people have in their profile interests) mainly because of terms of service restraints by the platform.

The most interesting column is feature sensitive (or deep integration) where the ad networks provide a commoditised way of purchasing features that are intrinsic to the apps (a Resident Evil version of Zombie, a Mike and Ike sweets gift icon on Gifts or an Indiana Jones Fedora hat on Where I’ve Been). This is the gold seam for social network advertising.

The only network really targeting this at the moment is Social Cash with its emerging Point Cash technology which allows apps to sell in game points (eg. coins on My Aquarium for example) to advertisers to offer as rewards to users who click on its ads.

Update 15/3/2009 – original matrix removed – contact Nudge London direct for latest version

This sheet is based on a review of their web sites and marketing documents. Since then I’ve met with a few ad networks to understand their offerings in more details and am building a picture of which have the winning technology.

Please do add any comments to this post and I’ll try to update the framework with the most correct information about the various feature sets of the social ad networks.

Update – 2008-10-07 – this matrix is now a bit out of date. I’ll do an update shortly

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