Advertising is always a gamble, but Facebook is putting the odds back in advertisers favor by offering them a way to pitch to important people on the social network.
A new patented technology allows Facebook to find 'experts' and 'influencers' on the network, who are not only more likely to share the content, but normally have more knowledge to back up sharing.
These people are obviously more lucrative than the typical Facebook user who might like or follow a certain brand, but have no sharing clout to push the advertising to other people.
The patent was added in 2011 by Facebook advertising chief Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, but has only been granted in the past few weeks. Typically, the US Patent and Trademark Office take around two years to grant a patent.
Having this technology available could bring in even more money for Facebook, since advertising are obviously keen to find even more targeted advertising. The cost of advertising to highly followed or experts-in-the-field will cost more than the typical advertising campaign, but the rewards could be huge.
Coupled with new investments in video advertising and the launch of more Instagram advertising, Facebook is starting to grow an ad-empire to rival Silicon Valley neighbour Google.
In the past two years, Facebook has been trying to implement followers rather than pages, allowing celebrities and viral networks to connect with fans and friends on the same account, which could tie into the influencer advertising.
Facebook normally doesn't patent its new technologies, but in a world where Google, Yahoo and Microsoft will gobble up any new advertising ideas, it might be best for the social network to safeguard its new creation.