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How TheFacebook Used To Woo Advertisers Back In The Early Days

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I’m not sure exactly how easy (or difficult) it is to come by stuff like this, but I for one thought it was pretty cool.

Eli Feldblum and Mayer Reich, co-founders of RankAbove, emailed me a number of documents this morning that Facebook used to send potential advertisers back when they were just getting started (and when the fledgling company was still called TheFacebook).

The docs were originally sent to Feldblum by Kevin Colleran – the longest employee at Facebook other than founder Mark Zuckerberg – who still works there as Global Sales Lead, after they had met at a digital marketing conference. The date: Thursday, May 19, 2005.

I know, exciting, right?

Anyway, the set of documents sent by Colleran consisted of a general overview of advertising opportunities on TheFacebook, a more detailed overview of how to buy ‘Group Sponsorships’ and a list of schools in the TheFacebook network (about 800 at the time).

You can find screenshots of the documents below. Some highlights:

- In April 2005, TheFacebook claimed 2.7 million registered users
– Of those registered members, 2.3 million unique users visited the site on a monthly basis
– Monthly page views were already at a whopping 2 billion
– TheFacebook smartly pointed out how much U.S. students spend (“estimated purchase power in 2004: $85 billion”), and how they associate with ‘lifetime brands’ early on

- Here’s how you could advertise on TheFacebook:

Advertising opportunities at TheFacebook include traditional online banners, announcement (text only) ads, and custom groups designed to enable brands to create a following on-campus and interact with students daily.

- Banner ads ‘above the fold’ were sold at a rate of $7 / CPM (cost per thousand impressions)
– Banner ads ‘below the fold’ were sold at a rate of $5 / CPM (cost per thousand impressions)
– It might seem benign now, but ad targeting was already quite (scarily?) detailed back then:

Banners can be targeted to select schools and/or to specific users based on: Geography, Gender, Courses, Keywords in profile, Class year, Major, Relationship status, Favorite books, movies, music, Political Affiliation, University status (student, faculty, alumni, staff).

- According to TheFacebook, nationwide text ads (‘Announcements’) would be viewed by over 1.1 million people, 5 to 6 times each, per day, on average.

- Nevertheless, the young company called Group Sponsorships the “most integrated advertising opportunity available on TheFaceBook.com”

- Examples for Group Sponsorships given: SpongeBob SquarePants and Apple

General overview of Facebook advertising possibilities



Group Sponsorships




Sample page from the list of schools in the network

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