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Facebook, Nielsen Partner to Prove Ad Value

Tuesday, 22 Sep 2009 | 12:17 PM ET

The most popular social network -Facebook- is teaming up with the most powerful media measurement giant -Nielsen- to prove that social media ads work.

At Advertising Weekin New York I sat down with Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's Chief Operating Officer in her first live TV interview since taking the post last year.

Facebook Friends Nielsen
Can Facebook be a major player driving online ad revenue? CNBC's Julia Boorstin asked the social networking giant's new chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg.

Sandberg wouldn't confirm Facebook's estimated $500 million in annual revenue, but she did say that revenue has been growing worldwide, in what has been a tough year for the ad markets.

Now she expects this Nielsen partnership to prove just how powerful ads on the site are, encouraging their advertisers to spend more.

Sandberg says that having a third party measuring effectiveness should provide the stamp of approval to make a compelling argument for ramping up ad spend. Sandberg cited a test Procter & Gamble ran with ads for its "Secret" deodorant. Of those people who saw the ad on Facebook, 11 percent were "extremely likely" to buy the product.

This partnership comes on the heels of a new consortium of media giants (NBC Universal and Disney among others), ad giants like WPP, and advertisers, all teaming up to better measure ad consumption on new media platforms. That consortium is seen as going above and beyond what the dominant player, Nielsen, now offers. So Nielsen's move seems like a bold statement of just how savvy it is in what's arguably the hottest part of the new media space, social networking.

Nielsen and Facebook are rolling out their new system to all Facebook advertisers within a few months, and in the meantime, people are anxiously watching.

Here at Advertising Week hundreds of people packed into the New York Times building to grab a glimpse of Sandberg explaining Facebook's newest weapon in its ad arsenal.

On CNBC.com now - Slideshow: 10 Biggest Tech Blunders in the Last 25 Years

Questions? Comments? MediaMoney@cnbc.com

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  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.