AMC Coverage 2008: Facebook’s COO: It’s an open web…this is important for the long run, but difficult for monetization in the short run

Sheryl Sandberg explained why it’s important (now more than ever) to get your content out where your users already are.

The luncheon keynote on Monday afternoon at the American Magazine Conference was an interview between BusinessWeek’s EIC Stephen Adler and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, who told publishers that getting their content to where their readers already spend their time online is key to success in the long run.

Her idea of having an “open web” was heard sporadically throughout the conference. Our interpretation of her comment is that publishers shouldn’t be afraid to send traffic away from their sites and onto other sites that their users enjoy. This way, a publisher website is able to act as a true resource for its users.

Get your content out to where your users already are… the message couldn’t be stronger.

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Sandberg also noted that from a monetization perspective, it’s clear that users are not on Facebook to buy something – and they don’t need them to be. Facebook knows who people are, and they know what they’re doing—this will be very valuable going forward.

“My view is that people don’t dislike ads, they dislike irrelevant, untargeted ads,” Sandberg said; and where people spend their time is ultimately where the advertising will be.

Facebook has 100 million active users, 40 million of which are in the U.S.. Sandberg believes the net is evolving; she noted that the Internet connected us to sources of information, but in an anonymous way, not as our personal selves.

The next evolution, Sandberg believes, is that people will be able to interact even more personally, likely by maintaining one connected account that can be used on all websites. Through Facebook Connect, users can to authenticate through Facebook to external sites. Sandberg made it clear that Facebook does not consider themselves providers of content, more of a water cooler, where people can gather to talk about themselves and the things they enjoy.

She also spoke of their recent redesign (which a lot of FB users dislike, but are still using) where they tested an ad product on the right side of the page. MTV tested by doing video trailers for the MTV music awards, where people could watch right in the ad and then comment on it. So in one place, an ad no less, users were sharing their opinions like they do in Facebook. Sandberg noted that broadcasters are looking to test this model as well, but far enough in advance to help guide some of their broadcast decisions.

More coverage from AMC 2008:


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