Sunday, May 25, 2014

Has Facebook Become An Infomercial Channel?

I am a huge fan of Facebook.

I check the site every day (not at work, obvs!) and genuinely enjoy it. 

But what's up with the ads?

Obviously it would be better if it were ad-free, though I understand they're a business, and want to turn a buck. However, the ratio of ads to editorial seems to have jumped all of a sudden, and most of them are promoting "1 weird trick to reduce belly fat" or a skincare product used by a Mom who "is 56 but looks 26."

In short, it's starting to feel like an infomercial channel.

A billion people use the site, so shouldn't it be full of ads for big brands like Budweiser, Ford, or Citibank?

Many of the brands just feel so small and crap.

Here's one from my feed today.

Who are 'fabnob'? Why are they closing down? This ad makes Facebook feel like a dilapidated high street.

The other great promise of Facebook is supposedly the ability to personalise ads, using all the data they have about us. But judging by some of the other ads in my feed today, I'm not sure it's working:

Thanks Oscar Wylee, but I don't wear glasses.

Sounds like an interesting proposition, ezidebit, but I don't own a gym.

Qantas, those shoes look fab, but being male they don't really appeal to me. 

Admittedly there are one or two big brands on there, like this ad for Nike:

But it's terrible. First of all, the headline is so poorly written, I can't really understand what it's saying. And second of all, I don't get the point of the image. Who are these people? And why is one performing a cuddle on the other?

Since few people will click through, wouldn't they be better off just placing a display ad? You know, with a cool visual, and a snappy headline?

Can someone please explain what the deal is with Facebook advertising? 


Charles Edward Frith said...

I don't get these ads but I use an adblocker. I'd like to thank all the people who don't use adblocker as it keeps my Facebook experience free from tacky commercial interruptions.

Anonymous said...

No idea what's up with those annoying ads. Just download an adblocker. Can't believe there are people without.

Anonymous said...

Ill give you points for still using the web without an Adblocker. You're a stronger man than I.

Scamp said...

Crikey. If everyone starts using an adblocker, how is Facebook (or indeed the entire internet) going to survive?

Anonymous said...

Irony squeezing out like vegemite worms

Anonymous said...

Adblockers don't work on Facebook ads.

Anonymous said...

Correct. Adblockers don't block all ads on facebook. Advertisements contained with the news feed are exempt. However the side panel ads are typically eliminated.

Its important note that popular apps like Adblocker Plus do not block all ads in general. Companies can be added to a 'white list'. There is a strict criteria that needs to be met before being added.

Alex Wood said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

"There is a strict criteria that needs to be met before being added."

I'll translate: you have to strictly pay a certain sum to be on that list.

Anonymous said...

If, as an ad person, you are pissed with these online ads, think of how consumers must feel. Ive never ever clicked on any advertising online, unline its by mistake.

Anonymous said...

As said by the famous Ad Contrarian: the web is great at fulfilling demand but terrible at generating it. How true.

Mrs. Kalm said...

Those are examples of poorly targeted ads. Take the one with the gym for example: it was probably targeted for male/female, aged (insert age range here), interested in Sports - and there you go, if you're interested in sports you may have a gym :) It's not Facebook's fault, it's the media agency's and the strategist (if any) working on the account who don't know exactly how to target people, who to target, and how much to invest to get a quality reach.

As for the sponsored stories, again examples of bad writing and a bad Social Media Managing...

So, from where I'm standing, the deal with Facebook advertising is that, unfortunately, it's being managed by the wrong people.

Anonymous said...

Ford have advertised on Facebook- in Europe.

Unknown said...

Went to an agency focused open house for Facebook the week you posted this. They don't like you very much Mr. Scamp.

Scamp said...

I'd be surprised if they were paying any attention to l'il old me, Cody.

But if they were, I'd be very happy to hear from them. Like I said at the top of the post, I am a huge fan of Facebook. And I'd be delighted to be put straight if I've got this wrong.