For years, Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) AdWords advertising program has been the de-facto standard for a contextual advertising platform. Getting setup with AdWords is a snap: Name your camapgin, name your ad groups, select your keywords and Wah Lah! -- You're advertising to a very highly targeted audience via the Keywords you selected for your campaign.
Other big players, including Microsoft with their adCenter platform and Yahoo! Search Marketing have been making strides, however nobody has created a contextual advertising platform to rival Google's; until now.
Enter Facebook's Flyers Pro program. Flyers Pro is Facebooks new in-house, contextual CPC program. While it doesn't have quite the number of features AdWords does, it does have something AdWords does not: the ability to target not only by keywords but by users interest, hobbies, careers, workplaces, colleges, etc.
Take a look at a sample screen:
That is some pretty phenomenal targeting if you ask me. Previously, targeting down to this level was limited to the huge ad platforms such as DoubleClick or BlueLithium and was dismal at best, because these technologies attempt to build your profile around browsing behavior; Facebook's targeting technology is superior because it's far more accurate as users voluntarily edit their own profiles to include information such as interests, hobbies, places of employment, etc.
An added benefit to advertising on Facebook; the extremely minimal amount of competition (currently). You're CTR is almost certain to be lower on Facebook's Flyers platform than AdWords, however the clicks cost much less and from experience, Facebook users are converting at slightly higher rates than AdWords.
I plan on doing a follow-up post on the Flyers program after I have more empirical data. For now, this platform looks to be extremely lucrative and a very-welcomed addition to the arsenal.