MySpace — better with Bacon Salt?

October 13, 2008

mmmmm-baaaaacon.jpgMySpace rolled out the public test of its MyAds system, a service created for small businesses that want to run banner advertising on the online social network. Designed to take advantage of the personal information that MySpace members provide, it’s geared primarily toward folks whose businesses are small enough that they don’t have things like media buyers. (See the e-mail conversation with our friend at Bacon Salt at the bottom of this entry for an example of what I mean.)

You can read the Reuters story that we ran Sunday night, and then check out these other stories, which wrote up different angles on the service:

BNET’S Steve O’Hear offers directions so easy that even someone evincing signs of my legendary tech illiteracy could make it work:

1. Sign-up on
2. Create a display ad using the MyAds Builder Tool
3. Select a variable ad spend anywhere from $25 to $10,000
4. HyperTarget to customers (based on self-expressed interests available on MySpace profiles, along with age, sex and geographical location)
5. Measure ad performance with MyAds analytics reporting

O’Hear also notes how the program is similar to Google’s AdWords.

Rachel Metz at the AP offers some related background:

The idea of self-service advertising is not new – Google Inc. has been doing so for years with text-based ads through its AdSense platform. But it has generally been more difficult to combine self-service with display ads. While Yahoo Inc. is trying to merge do-it-yourself tactics with display ads through a new advertising platform, its tools for advertisers won’t be available until next year.

BusinessWeek’s Heather Green sounds warning notes:

Getting some companies to take a chance on social network advertising won’t be easy, especially as the economic slowdown forces many businesses to curtail marketing. “Social networking is still unproven,” says Jeremiah Owyang, an analyst at Forrester Research.

And here’s Josh Quittner at Time:

I can’t decide whether this will be a roaring success or a horrible failure. The market MySpace is targeting here – small to medium-sized businesses – is expected to be the hardest hit by the financial crisis in the coming months and years. They’ll have far fewer dollars to spend on marketing and advertising. MyAds is an extremely cheap way to experiment.

I didn’t hear back from the Bacon Salt guys — for whom MyAds has worked quite well so far — until after my story was done. Here’s co-founder Dave Lefkow (by the way, Bacon Salt is, as he notes, a zero-calorie, zero-fat, vegetarian and Kosher seasoning that makes everything taste like bacon):

Q: Why did you use MyAds?

A: We launched the company with a MySpace profile and a Facebook group, and currently use Facebook ads and MySpace MyAds as marketing vehicles. We like that both tools allow us to get the word out to highly connected audiences. MyAds allows for more creativity than anything else we’ve used. Within minutes, we created branded banner ads vs. just text ads. For a very low cost ($500), we doubled our website traffic and increased online sales by 30 percent.

Q: Don’t you think you should win a Nobel Prize for Bacon Salt? (mmmm…. baaacon)

We’re still awaiting word from the prize committee…. Cross your fingers.

(Photo: BLT sandwich at Tony’s on I-75 in Birch Run, Michigan — Reuters)

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