Facebook, in a move aimed at boosting its appeal to advertisers, teamed up with measurement company Nielsen on Tuesday to allow marketers to better gauge ad performance on the social network.
Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg announced the launch of the "multi-year strategic alliance" at an advertising conference in New York.
"Nielsen is the leader in measurement and is an excellent partner for us as we look to provide marketers with richer ad effectiveness data," Sandberg said.
"The combination of our unique ability to quickly and effectively poll a sample of our more than 300 million users and Nielsen's expertise in data analysis will give marketers access to powerful data they can use to understand and improve current and future campaigns," she said.
Facebook said the first product of the collaboration is to be called "Nielsen BrandLift" and is designed to give marketers "effectiveness measurement for Facebook advertising."
BrandLift will use voluntary polls of Facebook users to measure consumer attitudes, asking them, for example, what they think of display ads -- ads which use photos, videos and interactivity as opposed to plain text.
It will not collect personally identifiable information.
Facebook said it will launch BrandLift in the United States this week and roll it out to all Facebook advertisers in the coming months.
"Together we will be able to provide the missing elements to clients seeking better understanding of how Web content and online advertising affect consumer behavior," said John Burbank, chief executive of Nielsen's online division.
According to Nielsen, estimated online advertising spending on the top social network and blogging sites increased 119 percent over the past year, from 49 million dollars in August 2008 to 108 million dollars last month.
It said ad spending on the top social network and blogging sites grew from seven percent of total online ad spending in August 2008 to 15 percent last month.
Facebook, meanwhile, saw its share of display ad views in the United States grow from just 1.8 percent in January to 14.7 percent in August.
Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg announced last week that the Palo Alto, California-based company had become "cash flow positive" last quarter, meaning it is now earning enough to cover operating costs.
Zuckerberg, who created Facebook with two Harvard University roommates five years ago, did not provide any financial details but the company is believed to pull in hundreds of millions of dollars a year from advertising.
(c) 2009 AFP
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