Social media companies are delivering new ways for brands to target consumers, with Facebook, Twitter and Skype all launching innovative platforms this week.
Facebook got the ball rolling with its Exchange platform, which lets companies use data from their own websites to target customers with personalised ads.
The system uses a real-time bidding process, allowing for more relevant advertising by using cookie data stored by individual businesses.
It is the first time Facebook has allowed advertising that is directly linked to a user’s browsing history.
“Real-time bidding is a process that lets advertisers bid in real time on a specific ad impression,” Facebook said in a statement.
“This means that advertisers can deliver more relevant advertising in a timely manner at a scale not possible before.”
Meanwhile, Twitter is augmenting its advertising offering with new multimedia tweets that allow companies to embed YouTube videos, photos and articles within a post.
It will make it even easier for brands to market viral campaigns on social media by linking the content across multiple networks.
The microblogging site is teaming up with major players like TIME magazine and the Wall Street Journal to offer the service.
“When you expand tweets containing links to partner websites, you can now see content previews, view images, play videos and more,” Michael Sippey, Twitter’s director of product, explained on the company blog.
Finally, Skype is launching a foray into the advertising world with ads that will pop up during conversations.
Dubbed Conversation Ads, the idea is for callers to discuss the branded content during their phone call.
The new display ads will appear within the calling window of users who do not have Skype Credit or subscriptions when they make audio calls using Skype for Windows. The ads will not appear in video calls and will be silent.
Sandhya Venkatachalam, vice-president of advertising and monetisation at Skype, commented: “We’re excited to introduce Conversation Ads as an opportunity for marketers to reach our hundreds of millions of connected users in a place where they can have meaningful conversations about brands in a highly engaging environment.”
“Users will see content that could spark additional topics of conversation that are relevant to Skype users and highlight unique and local brand experiences.”
Conversation Ads, she explained, should be seen as a way for Skype “to generate fun interactivity between your circle of friends and family and the brands you care about”.