Facebook started out in a dorm room as a college social network, but over the years it’s grown into a social media site with 864 million daily users, and over a billion monthly users across the world. With that many people logging in each day Facebook has become an advertiser’s paradise, and Facebook reports from the third quarter of 2014 show that Facebook pulled in nearly $3 billion in advertising revenue in one quarter.

While Facebook didn’t start out as a marketing-friendly platform, today it’s one of the most popular websites for digital marketing ads. Here’s a closer look at the history of Facebook advertising, and the advertising opportunities Facebook offers today.

The History of Facebook Advertising

2004 – Facebook Was Born

Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook in 2004 at Harvard University. The very first form of advertising available were “Flyers,” which were advertisements displayed on the side of the homepage. Usually these flyers were used to advertise campus social events. Later, this advertising method became known as “Flyers Pro”, which was an auction-based CPC model that allowed advertisers to set the maximum amount they wanted to spend while allowing them to target users based on education, gender, location, age, relationship status, and more. Some of the earliest advertisers with Facebook included Apple and Victoria’s Secret.

2006 – Marketplace

Microsoft became the exclusive provider of sponsored links and banner ads on Facebook. Then in 2007 Facebook launched the Marketplace (an application for classified listings), and today the Marketplace is still being used in a different form.


2008 – Commercial Pages

Facebook started allowing commercial entities to create free Facebook pages.


2009 – Targeted Advertising

Facebook began offering advanced targeting options to advertisers, introducing geographical and language based ad targeting. This allowed business page owners to set up and manage ads on their own.

2011 – Sponsored Stories

This allows advertisers to highlight user actions so they are seen on news feeds, and is still a primary option available.

2012 – Mobile Advertising

After the Facebook app became popular, mobile ads on Facebook were introduced for the first time. 2012 also brought about the introduction of the Facebook Exchange, which allowed advertisers to use real-time bidding to purchase Facebook ads. With Facebook Exchange, advertisers have the ability to use third-party and first-party data to decide who to target with their ads, making it easier to communicate timely, relevant messages to Facebook users.

Facebook Ad Options Today

Now that you’re more familiar with the history of advertising with the internets top social media site, you may be wondering what paid advertising options are available to you today. Here’s a closer look at some of the ad options you may want to consider using if you want to engage in digital advertising on Facebook.

An advertiser has two broad ad options.

1 | Ads – The Voice of Business

This category of advertising keeps the advertiser in complete control of every aspect of the ad, including the text, imagery, and title.

Ad options can be selected based on your overall objectives, here is a shot taken from Facebook showcasing the options available.

Facebook Screenshot


2 | Sponsored Stories – The Voice of a Friend

Advertisers don’t create these ads, Facebook users create them. When an individual interacts with your Facebook business page, a story is created. To make sure that these stories get maximum distribution among the friends of the individual who generated that story, you have the ability to sponsor the story.

Some examples of a sponsored story include:

  • Page post sponsored stories, such as a sponsored comment or like
  • App sponsored stories, such as the use of an app
  • Page or place sponsored stories, such as a check-in or like
  • Domain sponsored stories, such as the like or share of a domain

With so many advertising options available, it’s easy to see why Facebook is one of the most popular social media sites for advertisers.

If you would like to harness the potential Facebook offers your company and learn more about effective ways to use Facebook advertising for your business we would love to have a chat about how it can work for you, contact us at hello@birdbrain.com.au