An Example of Facebook Timeline Advertising Success

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- I have this habit of waking up every morning somewhere between 3:30 and 4:30 in the morning. My wife hates it because the shine of my iPhone display inevitably wakes her up. Or I accidentally hold the home button too long and Siri starts talking.

After the lack of early Twitter timeline activity bores me, I typically go to Facebook ( FB) to see how TheStreet's ( TST) fan page is doing and check in on my friends.

I have already written about the great success TheStreet has had with its Facebook advertising campaign. But over the weekend I personally experienced my first example of a Facebook ad -- targeted to me -- executed flawlessly.

Facebook served an ad for a new service called Washio. At this point, you can only use Washio in the LA area and via a mobile Web site, but it has plans to expand geographically and with iOS and Android apps in the next two weeks.

Washio is a laundry and dry cleaning service. You schedule a pick-up time in a 1/2-hour window and a drop-off time later the next day, also in a 1/2-hour window. Pricing seems reasonable. Service looks convenient. My order pickup Sunday morning went off without a hitch. I can expect the load of clothes and two dry cleaning items back late Monday afternoon. I'll report back on quality and value.

Facebook nailed it. The ad worked for me. It worked for the client.

Facebook placed the ad on my timeline early Sunday morning. Quite possibly laundry day. And, for me, it actually was. I live in a zip code where Washio offers service. I took advantage of the $10 coupon for your initial delivery.

And when I checked Facebook later -- after having already received confirmation from Washio for the order I had placed -- I saw another Washio ad featuring a testimonial from a user.

Solid execution.

Facebook needs to -- and probably does -- study the trajectory of that ad placement from start to finish and determine how they can replicate it. That's the key to the company's success -- relevant, targeted local advertising that either helps me live my life better or provides information or context around some subject matter Facebook knows (or predicts) I care about.

As a quick aside, something curious on the revenue-generating front from Facebook that didn't work quite as well.

For my wife's birthday, I decided to try out a Facebook gift card so I used the Send a Gift function next to her birthday notification. I gave my wife the choice to pick her preferred vendor from about two dozen choices. She went with Target ( TGT).

To my surprise, Facebook took her snail mail information and, within a week, she received a Facebook-branded Target gift card. This old style approach to doing a gift card supports the reality I've been trying to hammer home for months -- Starbucks ( SBUX), with its superior digital and mobile strategy, is tech's untold, underrated and most extraordinary story.

Starbucks' gift cards and loyalty program work the way we expect these things to work in 2013. It's really quite stunning that Facebook's, at least in my particular experience, do not.

I made the birthday gift card purchase on my iPhone. My wife accepted the gift and completed the transaction on her iPad. Shouldn't Facebook have the operation perfected to the point where the entire process is hooked up with Apple's ( AAPL) Passbook or something? Why do you have to wait a week to get your gift card? You should be able to use it instantly.

Anyway, just a thought. Facebook has had to move quick with these efforts. From development and partnership standpoints, I imagine these things take time.

This highlights one advantage Starbucks has -- not only a massive, built-in customer base (like Facebook), but its own mobile and digital e-commerce platforms. On second thought, it's curious to consider why Facebook could not move with the same sort of efficiency and effectiveness.

-- Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

Rocco Pendola is a columnist and TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola makes frequent appearances on national television networks such as CNN and CNBC as well as TheStreet TV. Whenever possible, Pendola uses hockey, Springsteen or Southern California references in his work. He lives in Santa Monica.

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