Facebook, Targeting, and You

March 5th, 2010 |


Jeff Louis is a strategic media planner, brand project manager, blogger, and aspiring writer. He's intrigued by innovation overcoming adversity, survival of the fittest brand, history, reading, and similar fun stuff. He writes for sites and is the Public Relations and Advertising writer for the Chicago Examiner.

Do you ever wonder why, with all of the marvelous personal info that Facebook collects, they’d allow an advertiser to run an idiotic ad for mortgage refinancing with a hairy, caveman looking dude on it, or those ridiculous “Find out who Googled You” ads with the image of a college girl that wouldn’t Google you if she were the last piece of ass on Earth?

It’s obvious that the ads must be working because they’re still running. Either that, or they’re running on a pay-per-click basis and no one is clicking, thus costing the  advertiser nothing. I’ve come to think that social media is such a targeted platform that, when an offending ad comes up, I never fail to wonder which “marketing genius” dropped the ball.

Don’t get me wrong…I don’t have anything against banner ads on my FB page, nor do I have anything against the companies behind the ads. What bugs me is that we hear about what a great platform Facebook is for behavioral and geographic targeting, then these Run-of-Site (ROS) ads show up.  I know that money is money, but when the advertising starts to negatively affect the medium, or the brand, it’s time to make a decision on which one is of the most importance.

Why am I bitching? Primarily because I’m allowed. Yet…I do have a point, although it’s feasible that I’m the only person who took notice. This is doubtful, but theoretically within the realm of possibilities.  Maybe Facebook needs the money, although Inside Facebook projects that the social media powerhouse could boost ad revenues from an estimated $700 million in 2009 to a whopping (estimated) $1.1 billion in 2010. Why estimated? Facebook does not release their advertising revenues. So, maybe those “Who Googled You?” ads are working perfectly…

Some of the ads are so poorly targeted (or wholly un-targeted) that I report the ads as offensive.

In case you’re unaware of this “featurette,” Facebook allows users input as to which ads they like or dislike, and why. You can mark the ads as misleading (no one really Googled me), offensive (that chick’s a whore), or just poorly targeted (irrelevant). While it’s not a perfect system, the reasoning behind it is brilliant; the more information you give away, the better Facebook’s advertisers are able to reach you.

Overall, it’s a pretty sweet marketing tool for all involved because it provides you, the user, a vote. There isn’t another ad medium in the world that does that, my friend, so take advantage of it. If you are easily offended, mark the ad that way; I actually mark quite a few as “offensive,” but I’m not easily offended. I do it because I learned that “offensive” seems to be the  single voting button that guarantees an ad won’t show up again. Don’t tell Facebook, though, or they’ll take it away.

As Facebook gathers more information about you, your surfing habits, and your online behaviors, they’ll be able to cross tabulate the data with information that’s related to your demo- and- pyschographic profile. (Demographic information is your age, income range, highest level of education, race, and etc. Pyschographic data is comprised of your opinions, attitudes, and activities.) Over time, the information becomes an accurate picture of who you are and what you buy, allowing advertisers to serve ads to you for items you may actually purchase.

Think about that for a second. Instead of searching for a product, you might just see something that you want to buy on your profile page.

While the following statement may seem obvious, it’s nearly impossible to predict:

“The simple idea is that advertising influences the brand-choice of consumers who are in the market for the product. It’s about how we think advertising works.” [emphasis: mine]

Erwin Ephron, the man behind is the concept of recency.  Even simpler, take only the emphasized words:

Advertising influences consumers who are in the market…

Pay attention, this is important! If advertisers had the ability to engage us at the exact moment we decide to enter the market, sales would skyrocket. Pay attention to what they come up with next.

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Jeff Louis
  • KDK

    Dude, You're a Genius!! That's the best explanation on social media I've read.

  • http://www.k9stud.com Puppies for Sale

    I feel so tired of reading articles related on facebook. I think facebook is a weird site. I need some break.

  • http://www.k9stud.com Puppies for Sale

    I feel so tired of reading articles related on facebook. I think facebook is a weird site. I need some break.