One of the biggest stories not heavily discussed this week was Facebook's new Ads Platform targeting of "Friends of Connections": "How do you find more fans for your Facebook Page, more people to interact with your Application, or more people to engage with your business? Target friends!

'Friends of connection' targeting is now available for Facebook Ads. Expand your audience reach by delivering your ads to the friends of people already connected with your Page, Application, Group or Event."

facebook connections ads

As brands and marketers focus energy, product and budgets on increasing their Facebook presence (fan pages, ads, etc), this is a very powerful lever.... particularly for brands with already-popular fan pages.

Consider that the average Facebook user has 150 friends (this is across all 350million users - so it is probably much higher for active users... who are most likely the people being targeted here. Let's say the average for a highly engaged user is 300 friends).

A fan page with 10,000 fans then has the potential to reach 150,000 - 300,000 fans. For a brand like starbucks that has 5,000,000 fans, this allows them to reach a hug percentage of active users... and in a socially relevant way.

Here is a screenshot of the targeting in action from AllFacebook. Notice that the social context of the ad (Your friend Rolland Lawrenz is also a fan).

Facebook describes the unit further:

"Let’s take a look at an example. Annie is a fan of the Etsy Page. When Etsy wants to promote their Facebook Page, they can choose to target an ad to Annie’s friends by selecting the 'Friends of connection' filter. Annie’s friends will receive the Etsy ad with the following sentence: 'Annie Ta is a fan of this Page.' Annie’s friends are naturally more interested because Annie’s interaction with Etsy is showcased directly in the ad. "

Targeted, relevant and dynamic - it's a terrific ad unit and another example of how Facebook's social graph is changing advertising.