Dare had a post on his blog yesterday about how Facebook's SocialAds aren't revolutionary, but Evolutionary. I disagree (very respectfully of course, I think Dare is one insightful cookie).
I think that people fit into two camps when it comes to ads.
There's the folks who like to see ads as they do their daily tasks. I'm one of these people. I like to see ads because I like to shop. If I'm searching for a product, I want to see the most popular, and highly rated product displayed to me on my results screen.
The second is the group of people that view ads as a bother. Any real estate that those ads take up are a waste of space. And if this kind of person wants something, they'll go to Amazon.com or Buy.com and get it. The only way to advertise to these folks is to market without them knowing.
I think the advertising that will have reach into both of these personas are the social ads. They are not invasive at all, but they are viral. All consumers want to hear how other users feel about the products that they are interested in. Here's a screen shot Flixster showing the fact that I want to see a movie.
Ultimately, I provided information to tell other friends on Facebook that I wanted to see this movie. Now, the studio that produces this movie is banking on the fact that I want to do this. This is the ultimate way to do viral marketing. To the best of my knowledge the Flixter folks don't earn a penny from the movie makers. I'll quote Dave Winer from his post about OpenSocial:
...advertising is on its way to being obsolete. Facebook is just another step along the path. Advertising will get more and more targeted until it disappears, because perfectly targeted advertising is just information. And that's good!
To me, there's not much revolutionary about Search Ads, and they've provided a marketing function that was pretty predictable. Social networking and delivering marketing virally within social networks, to me, is revolutionary. The ability to market products in a way that is ultimately non-invasive is an extremely difficult thing to do. And as more and more people move towards using the Internet for networking, this flavor of marketing will become more and more pervasive.