New Facebook ads cross lines

There are a bunch of areas where pure-play advertising and content publishing programs are going to both be impacted by the new ad units unveiled by Facebook last week, no more so than in the “Page Post” unit. That product allows an advertiser to take a brand’s update – perhaps one that contains a link to a blog post, a product sale page or some other bit of information – and gives it additional exposure by running that update as an ad, both in the sidebar and in people’s news feeds.

That directly takes the product of one program – the publishing side of things, which may or may not be run or overseen by a department other than advertising – and makes it subject to that advertising department’s control or influence.

On the one hand that’s fine. All communications-oriented departments should be working in concert and toward similar (if not always exactly the same) goals with their programs.

On the other, if the publishing program is being run outside the purview of the advertising folks, this sort of crossover has the potential to bring in influences to that publishing program that aren’t in line with the goals that have been laid out.

While anything that adds to the distribution of a publishing program’s messages certainly shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand, it’s also important to remember that the tactics of that publishing program shouldn’t be turned on their heads to that updates or posts become more attractive ads. The two have very different ways of speaking to their audience and it can be, to quote one of the greatest films of all time, dangerous to cross the streams.

Again, it’s super-important for all these departments and agencies to be on the same page. But when program responsibilities start overlapping it can be equally important for everyone to know exactly where their sandbox ends and someone else’s begins.

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