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Advertisers Flock to Social Networking Sites

Business Week reports that social networking sites are attracting a rising number of major advertisers. Most of them come from the entertainment sector, although consumer products companies are active.

Target, NBC, and Procter & Gamble have run ad campaigns on MySpace. Interscope Geffen A&M Records has launched new albums from Beck and other artists there. Social networking sites have some natural advantages for advertisers. Even if the environment can be a bit wild, it creates an opportunity to develop powerful affinity groups and to collect a mother lode of demographic data about its members.

That can be used to create carefully targeted promotions that go way beyond the common text and display ads found on the Web. "It's a challenging environment to get your message across, because there is a lot going on, like in a teenager's bedroom," says Troy Young, executive vice-president of Organic. "But there's an upside, because people reveal a lot about themselves when they use social networking sites. That can allow you to target messages in pretty sophisticated ways."

Procter & Gamble used MySpace to launch 'Secret Sparkle,' a deodorant for 16-to-24 year old girls and women. It linked the product to the home pages of musicians that used MySpace and appealed to the same demographic. When users listened to new songs by The Donnas and Bonnie McKey, they were exposed to ads for Secret Sparkle and offered a chance to participate in a Secret Sparkle sweepstakes.

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