Social Cash, a D.C. based Facebook ad network, began testing out the Facebook platform in 2007. In 2008 the company launched publicly and quickly realized that there was stiff competition from networks that were using aggressive creatives. Social Cash decided that rather than trying to chase after competition that leveraged misleading creatives it would be better to develop a more robust platform for serving ads which produce more sustainable performance.
Today Social Cash is announcing the launch of a new ad engine called “Headliners”. The ads display socially relevant information (as displayed in the demo below) and according to the company are currently producing 2 to 3 times better CPMs over standard creatives. Social Cash is currently prevalent across LivingSocial and Family Link, which are currently two of the top four applications on Facebook.
The other service Social Cash is offering developers is called the “Best Friend Finder” which automatically optimizes application invite forms. Rather than displaying friends in alphabetical order, your friends will be displayed based on the strength of the relationship. This tool is currently still being tested but will be offered to developers for free and can be viewed via the Social Cash website. There are also more developer tools in the works according to the company.
The main takeaway is that Social Cash is focusing on the technology behind the advertisements rather than developing more aggressive creatives. The company sees this as a more sustainable business model. Social Media and other networks have been delivering social ads which inject your name, image, and friend names but according to Social Cash these ads can deliver deeper social relevance.
For example an advertisement could display “females in the same city and have birthdays coming up” and prompt you to send them flowers via 1-800 Flowers. All of this is accomplished while staying within Facebook’s Terms of Service by letting the developer serve the actual ad. These advertisements illustrate what sort of potential there is for more targeted advertisements using social graph data.
It’s pushing the limit of socially relevant advertisements but this is clearly where things are going. You can test out a Facebook Connect-enabled version of the Headliners advertisements in the demo widget below.