Facebook Keeps Blowing Stupidly Simple Steps To Building A Huge Business

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Facebook is struggling to build a brand advertising business that investors can get excited about.Executives only have themselves to blame. They keep blowing it. 

This summer’s Olympics are just another example of how.

NBC is paying $1.18 billion to carry this summer’s Olympic games. In February, the network announced it had already sold $900 million worth of advertising against the event.

Clearly, marketers are ready to spend billions of dollars associating their brands with the Olympics.

So what does Facebook do?

It does half of a smart thing.

That smart half: Facebook built an Olympic hub and an Olympic fan page.

Both are very popular with Facebook users. The hub is brand new, but it’s already getting 2,000 “likes” every 15 minutes or so and will get to a couple million in a few weeks. The fan page has been around a bit, and already has 2.8 million “fans” – people who “like” the page and have opted-in to getting updates from it in their News Feed.

The not-so-smart half: There are ZERO advertisements on either of Facebook’s pages. Look:

Olympics coverage on Facebook

This makes no sense.

Believe it or not, a better idea for Facebook would be to do what Yahoo does.

Yahoo is still the company that Facebook is trying to take brand advertising spending away from, after all.

Yahoo also creates hubs for big media events like the Olympics.

In fact, such pages are a core part of the companies entire media strategy.

For big news moments like the Olympics, royal weddings, or elections, Yahoo creates “tent-pole” pages and directs traffic to them from its front page and email accounts. 

But instead of leaving them ad-free (it’s odd to even have to write that), Yahoo displays ad units from big name brands.

These ad units do not make the page look like a Nascar. They are tasteful. Check out the Duracell ad in the screenshot going on below:

Olympics coverage on yahoo

After the 2010 Winter Olympics, Yahoo media boss Ross Levinsohn told press that because of its tentpole page, Yahoo may have profited more from the Olympics than even NBC.

Attention Zuckerberg and Sandberg: copying this strategy is a no-brainer! Get moving!

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