In the last few years the landscape for online marketing has shifted towards Facebook. The most obvious point is Facebook’s own ad platform, which currently exceeds 2 billion dollar in revenue. However the more fundamental changes are caused by Facebook’s social platform. This article outlines the 5 ways in which Facebook is redefining online marketing.
About Thierry Schellenbach: Co-Founder of, author of Django Facebook. Follow me on Twitter or Facebook

1. Interest based marketing

Firstly Facebook allows you to target your advertising to specific interest groups. Especially for community driven sites it’s now possible to reach your target audience with almost scary precision. A marketeer can target all single girls living in Amsterdam, which like snowboarding and work at Google. This improved targeting enables you to attract visitors which are more likely to use your product.
Try out Facebook advertising

2. Zero friction authentication

The Facebook effect continues when users reach your landing page. Instead of filling out a form with annoying questions, users just need to find the big blue button on your site and they are good to go.
Having a Facebook login flow on your site drastically increases your conversion to members. Also the Facepile social plugin shows you which of your friends are using the site you’re visiting. This creates another incentive for users to join your site.

A good example of a zero friction signup flow is the Fashiolista landing page as shown above.

3. Instant personalization and Friends

The first two points allow you to acquire more users at a substantially lower member acquisition cost than previously possible. In addition the user accounts created by the Facebook connect flow immediately contain very rich information. You know their birthday, their age, their email, their gender and more importantly their real name. Using real names on online platforms substantially reduces spam and trolling. Furthermore since you know the user’s Facebook id you can connect them to their friends.

Pinterest for instance makes it extremely easy to follow your Facebook friends on Pinterest.

4. Like based personalization

Facebook started focusing on likes about a year and a half ago when they released the open graph protocol and like buttons. Currently many users have indicated which sports, movies and brands they like. You can utilize this data to immediately connect the users to topics they care about.

Quora is the leading example on how to personalize your content to new users. When you join Quora topics will be suggested to you based on your interests. So someone interested in Entrepreneurship will see entirely different content than someone interested in gardening.

5. Social sharing – Evangelists

Some of these users you just acquired will absolutely love your product. (Stop marketing and improve your product if they don’t). Previously these users would maybe email a friend or two and if you’re lucky tell their colleagues about it. Facebook however empowers them to easily share your product to all of their friends. Evangelists which would maybe recruit two new members are enabled by Facebook to recruit dozens. It is very common for user’s of Fashiolista to invite more than 30 of their friends, many of which become members.

The invite flow on Fashiolista smartly shows your female friends, which are not yet on Fashiolista and enables you to quickly send an invite message to their wall.
Similar, albeit less pretty invite flows are a strong component of games like CityVille and Farmville.

Conclusion and on to F8

Facebook has so far reduced the cost of getting visitors to your site. In addition it has become easier for these visitors to become members and receive a personalized experience.
Finally Facebook empowers your evangelists to reach more of their friends than was previously possible. Throughout these steps the cost and friction involved with recruiting new members have been substantially reduced.
On September 22nd Facebook will make several announcements at their F8 conference.
Have a look at the livestream to find on how they will change online marketing again.
About Thierry Schellenbach: Co-Founder of, author of Django Facebook. Follow me on Twitter or Facebook