When it comes to online advertising everybody wants to be the next Google, and News Corp-owned MySpace is no exception. Today the company rolled out its latest advertising platform called MyAds, designed to service "individuals and small businesses" rather than the big name brands that the social networking site's existing ad offerings cater for.
The new self-serve system enables anybody - "from local retailers to musicians and politicians" - to create customized Cost-Per-Click (CPC) banner ads that target specific demographics and interest groups using MySpace's HyperTargeting technology. A technology that was previously only available to the company's largest blue-chip brand advertisers.
Placing an ad comprises of "a few easy steps":
- Sign-up on advertise.myspace.com
- Create a display ad using the MyAds Builder Tool
- Select a variable ad spend anywhere from $25 to $10,000
- HyperTarget to customers (based on self-expressed interests available on MySpace profiles, along with age, sex and geographical location)
- Measure ad performance with MyAds analytics reporting
The end result, says MySpace, is to democratize online advertising. Or to borrow another phrase from the Web 2.0 bible, the company is attempting to monetize the Long Tail.
If that all sounds very Google-esque to you, you're not alone.
The problem with the comparison, however, is that a user declaring a general interest on their social networking profile in, say, "video games" or "soccer", isn't nearly as monetizable as intent e.g. a search for the latest XBox 360 FIFA 09 title.
Having said that, I've no doubt that MySpace's new MyAds system will help the company shift a significant amount of inventory as the self serve system removes a lot of the friction associated with banner ad campaigns and the CPC model lowers the risks for advertisers. If anything, Long Tail advertisers who currently use Google AdWords will, in the short term at least, experiment with MySpace MyAds and see what they can learn.