Celebrity Endorsements on Facebook: An Update

In Q4 2010, we expanded Ad.ly celebrity endorsements for social media into Facebook Pages (aka “Fan Pages”).

(These are the Facebook “Like” Pages that you create for your business or your brand — the inherently commercial brand pages that people have to “Like” in order to receive messages from. Here’s Snoop Dogg’s, for example.)

Given the success of our product on Twitter, the scale of Facebook, and the popularity of celebrity endorsements (a $50 Billion industry), our Facebook product was met with excitement from brands and celebrities alike.

That excitement was fueled by results:

Ad.ly’s celebrity endorsements on Facebook performed very well – driving an impressive five percent click-through rate (5% CTR) to advertisers’ sites and a flood of “Likes” on celebrities’ Pages, in a purely opt-in community that consumers love.

That being said, we regret to inform our celebrities and advertisers that we have complied with Facebook’s request to no longer offer celebrity endorsements on Facebook.

Although we have had numerous discussions with Facebook, we have not been able to come to an agreement as to how to work together.

We are disappointed by this news, and feel that it is a step backward for the social media industry.

Here’s why:

Celebrities, artists and athletes are becoming a driving force on Facebook, as they are on Twitter, and as they no doubt will be on social platforms to come.

Social networks are starting to resemble TV networks, wherein consumers tune-in based on the content available, and brands align themselves with that content and the audiences it attracts.

On television, the most popular content features celebrities, artists and athletes. On social networks, it’s a similar dynamic, only the content is being produced and distributed by the celebrities themselves – attracting tens of millions of fans.

As an advertising-supported industry, we should welcome celebrity generated content and welcome brands’ interest in tapping into the vast audiences that follow them – just as TV networks have done for the past 50+ years.

Moving forward:

We will continue to try to work with Facebook to bring Ad.ly endorsements back into Facebook Pages, and we will keep you informed of our progress on that front.

Meanwhile, we’ll get back to our core business, helping brands connect with consumers via the most influential celebrities, artists and athletes on Twitter.

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