MySpace gives small operators advertising muscle

MySpace on Monday unleashed a tool to let small operators with tight budgets easily target online advertising to preferred demographics on the world’s leading social networking website.

A “MyAds” platform provides simple tools for garage bands, small businesses or anyone else to reach out to audiences they feel will be receptive to their messages.

The platform guides people through the process of designing ads and then launches advertising campaigns with budgets as low as $25.

MySpace gets 25 cents each time someone clicks on internet links build into display ads, meaning a budget of $25 could last until 100 people visited an advertiser’s website.

“This is democratising the online display market and opening it up to the 20-million-plus small businesses in the United States, millions of bands and thousands of politicians looking for votes in November,” MySpace spokesperson Jeff Berman said.

“We are eliminating the barriers to entry in the banner ad market. You have the reach you need with the targeting capability we offer.”

While online ad platforms at internet powerhouses such as Google let advertisers buy “key words” to target ads depending on terms used in searches, MyAds targets ads at people businesses think will be most interested.

MySpace uses information provided by users to let advertisers send banner ads to social-networking community members based on gender, age, location and interests.

“I can bring my message to an audience that I normally wouldn’t have access to nor even know where to find,” said independent filmmaker Blayne Weaver, who was among those who tested the platform before its Monday launch.

“It was great to be able to orchestrate my own advertising aimed at the exact audience I wanted to target—people who liked watching movies,” he said.

Basically, advertisers describe their ideal customers to MySpace and the platform posts the respective marketing messages on website pages visited by members with those characteristics.

“It works for anyone from a guy at the pizza joint to a politician looking to reach swing voters,” Berman said. “This is a powerful marketing tool because you can hit the right people you are looking for at the right time.
It is the perfect storm, and with the economy everyone is looking for more efficient, higher return-on-investment advertising as soon as possible.”

MySpace is the world’s most popular online social-networking website. It had 122-million users worldwide in August and is becoming a significant player in the internet display advertising market, according to statistics from industry tracker comScore.

MySpace says it has addressed privacy concerns by letting users opt out of being targeted for advertising but that extensive surveys of users indicate people are interested in more relevant online advertising.—Sapa-AFP

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