As Facebook approaches 500 million users, marketers can't ignore the site's potential to help them reach countless prospective clients.

As Facebook approaches 500 million users, marketers can’t ignore the site’s potential to help them reach countless prospective clients. Earlier this month, Facebook unveiled new analytics tools to help businesses engage the 90 percent of users who think brands offer them relevant content on the social site. Now, Mark Zuckerberg is upping the ante with a recent announcement that Facebook will soon release more robust tools for marketers to reach users.

At the Cannes Lions Festival, where Zuckerberg was named Media Person of the Year, the Facebook CEO said he will make changes to support a more creative ad experience, reports ClickZ. He claims these changes will enable marketers to “customize and personalize” product offerings on the site, and he explains they are being launched to mark the end of the “experimental phase” of Facebook marketing.

Zuckerberg’s announcement coincides with clear proof that Facebook can be used to make big bucks for a business: Disney is seeing major success with its storefront (or box office) on Facebook, where it offers users tickets for ToyStory 3.

The Toy Story page has nearly 2 million fans who can’t seem to get enough of the photos, video games and film highlights included on the site. Undoubtedly, this campaign and online ticket booth have helped fuel the frenzy that has made Toy Story 3 consistently top the film charts since its June 18th opening.

Disney’s success can serve as inspiration for marketers to start their own interactive campaigns on the social network, and thanks to the promise of Facebook’s creative marketing support, it won’t take the artistry of Disney to get corporate offerings noticed by users.

Facebook may also be the perfect platform for creative, interactive campaigns because internet users reportedly spend more time on social sites than most other web destinations. A Nielson study shows that consumers are averaging 6 hours per month on social sites in 2010 – more than a 100 percent gain over last year.

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.