Facebook- PLEASE do better with your ads

Dear Facebook: I don’t care who searched for me. I have clicked the “thumbs down” on these sexy ads a gazillion times. It’s like bubble wrap to me. But you know, after several times, it’s not like you care or replace them with anything better.

Here’s the thing, Facebook. You KNOW what I like. You KNOW who I connect with. You KNOW how old I am, whether I’m married, what I’ve liked or favorited, or joined. You know TONS about me, that I’ve freely volunteered. But you don’t listen.

Sadly, it reminds me of this video:

You COULD do so much for me, Facebook. Just try?

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  • http://twitter.com/paulswansen Paul W. Swansen

    Not only the ads Chris, as it also runs into those that Facebook thinks I know or should know and therefore friend.

  • http://www.thejimgaudet.com/blog/ thejimgaudet

    That's a great commercial. I just never look to the right on Facebook and the ads are gone for me…
    It is hard to believe that they don't have a targeted ad campaign though. Unless, they are targeting you, what else have you been clicking on???

  • angsuman

    Facebook has the information but processing them and targeting them is the hard part. Google does a fairly good job with the information it has but in general it isn't a simple problem.

  • http://twitter.com/Debbie_h2o Debbie Horovitch

    I've bought facebook ads before – it's the advertiser who chooses to select a niche target (based on your demo, geography, profile likes/dislikes, groups, etc.) or not (straight CPM)

  • @bethbellor

    Same here — I comment on the ads probably one-third of the time I log on, and it never seems to make any difference. You'd think something I repeatedly deemed irrelevant or uninteresting wouldn't be served to me again. How is that of value to the advertiser?

  • brandonchesnutt

    That video is awesome. I'm sharing it on our company blog. Thanks Chris!

  • digiscrap101

    I use Greasemonkey to block the ads and love not having all the crappy ads… https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/748

  • http://liveyourideallife.blogspot.com/ Andrea Owen

    According to my demographic (34 year old female, married) I am looking for lipo, white teeth, and a supermodels diet tips. Oh, and the 2o-something cute guy with big arms is searching for me too.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    Let me know when you find him, and/or what your husband says about your amazing new teeth/supermodel body and slender form. I imagine it'll be time for me to write an apology to Facebook if that happens.

  • http://jasonkeath.com jakrose

    I have had the same complaint for their “recommended friends”. I would like to see Facebook allow users to determine the filters for these recommendations. For instance if I don't want to see the thousands of people that went to the same college or high school I went to, I could turn that off. And maybe I want to add more emphasis to users that share friends of mine within a certain group I have defined. Which is something I would really be interested in.

    Perhaps they could allow users to tweak the filters on the ads they receive as well. Although since they seem not to be listening to the thumbs down filter that already exists, I assume it is a deeper problem. Strange though, because whenever I see Facebook give presentations to marketers, the ability to drill down to specific demo information and interests in their audience is a huge selling point. I wonder why the relevance is not seeping through to the end user?

  • http://www.igomogul.com iGoMogul

    Wow! Thanks for posting the script! I usually just ignore the ads on FB, as I do with all other online ads. I don't see much point to commenting about which ones I like or dislike.
    Sara @ iGoMogul

  • http://benwhitesell.com/ Ben Whitesell

    Funny thing is that just yesterday I was looking at the scroll of ads and thought how ridiculous the picture they use are for these ads.

    Hulked out dude shaving his chest with a tiny razor was actually pretty funny looking. I think the ad was for a laser hair service. Of course, I too have some of the hottest looking pornstars searching for me online, which is nice.

    Seems like a prime place for someone to make a fortune if they can find a clever or useful way to utilize that space.

  • gypsybandito

    The real problem, Chris, is that Facebook is still letting advertisers target users, and not the other way around (http://is.gd/1yJw0).

    The great thing about social media is that it offers all the data we need to better align advertisers with users, but that doesn't mean letting the advertisers choose who they think is their target market. Rather, it means letting users tell us what products/services are relevant to them.

    Now, that might not sound too appealing to the conventional advertiser who wants mass appeal, but I suspect that if done right, the conversions/results (and ROI) on ad buys would a lot higher if we were letting users tell us what they want rather than the other way around.

    And because of social media (like facebook and twitter), all the data we need to “hyper-target” ads this way is already there — users are already telling us what products/services they care about. We just need to a way to mine all the data they're leaving behind in the cloud (http://is.gd/1yJI0).

    What I think what it really comes down to is that ad technology hasn’t caught up with content technology. Content has gone social, but advertising is still very much obnoxious and condescending.

  • barbaraling

    I just ignore all the ads, I've trained myself to look thru them. I'll have to check them out one of these days….

  • http://twitter.com/digitalvision Jeremiah Staes

    Interestingly, I think the junk of Facebook ads propagates itself.

    I've been in at least seven situations with multiple clients (or clients of clients) where there's been engaging, hyper-targeted creative and plan proposed either by my team or other teams we were working with for Facebook ads, and they're constantly shot down because “that's not how everyone else does it,” or “they're up there so that style must work,” or “you're only targeting 613,540 people, rewrite it as we want to blanket all of Facebook!” Even in the face of testing, still denied, using the excuse of what the masses do. When faced with that situation, I realize the client doesn't get it, and move on.

    Suffice it to say, the last 3-4 years have created (for me) little faith in traditional marketers who've moved into the social space or are making stabs at it. The video you posted gets it completely right.

  • http://twitter.com/barbaragiamanco Barb Giamanco

    Isn't it the truth, Chris? Advertisers by and large still don't get it. Facebook does – as you've noted – have a goldmine of information about each us, so you'd think they could do a better job of targeting.

    As for the video, love it and posted it to my site a week or so ago for the very same reason:)

    Wake up online advertisers!

  • http://www.thinking-outside-of-the-square.com/blog iconic88

    Forget the ads, where's the buzz? Give some meaning to the ads so we can talk about it.


    Love on!

  • johnarleth

    The whole thing is so perplexing. I do nothing to indicate I am looking for love in all the wrong places, yet I get the same ads. In my late fifties, I am really flattered (not) by young women wanting to get to know me, fat, dumb, married three kids, one now 31 and financially struggling like every one else. How are they so lucky to find such a catch. I'm not carping but my wife finds it infuriating, when she checks my email for me. Just sure I am advertising for a new mate. As Dylan said: “This woman treated me so bad, I ain't never gonna touch another one for years.”

  • http://www.iangilyeat.com/ Elizabeth

    It's so true. No matter how many times you click you don't want particular ads to show up they keep popping up! One commenter noted that they have trained themselves to look through the ad instead of seeing them. If advertisers insist on annoying the customer the customer will ignore them. Then their marketing dollars have been wasted. Facebook can be a great marketing tool but they've got to work on targeting and then respecting their users’ requests.
    Oh, and that video was painfully accurate.

  • mlle a.

    It certainly is a pain. But may I point out that apparently, AdSense thinks I am in need of a dating network, Australian boots of some kind, an IQ test and, worst of all, Scientology brainwash. I do enjoy your RSS feed being a daily morning read, but the ads that come along with it are a constant challenge.

  • Laura A.

    Ahhh Chris – the voice of REASON – and sadly, I think we both know that at this rate, Facebook isn't going to be making any swift changes to its advertising “methods” any time soon.

    Just the other day, I saw a Facebook ad for PERT plus, which, I found amazing because I didn't actually know they still even made PERT plus. Beyond that, however, if Facebook had been “listening” to me, they would have found that I am a fan of L'Oreal Paris as well as a number of other high fashion brands and local salons and boutiques in my area – all on Facebook. Clearly, PERT plus is not a commodity I'd be dashing to the stores for.

    Consequently, however,I did call my grandpa to see if he knew anyone, besides himself, that would like me to get them some. He's a huge fan.

  • http://sarahwurrey.com/ Sarah Wurrey

    Hah, I wrote about this yesterday as well. I have been getting weird baby ads lately, and the cake-taker was yesterday when there was a Today's Sponge ad on top of a Is Your Baby Cute? ad. I was highly confused, seeing as how, currently, I have neither a baby OR a sponge-worthy boyfriend. (Hehe.)

  • flystorms

    On a side note, I found out today that you can get rid of those people who you don't know or aren't interested in “friending” (up in the top right corner) by clicking on the “x”. I heard it not only eliminates them,but it gets rid of it off their suggested friend list. I cleaned mine out today and it's so much better!

  • http://www.austinscoolestblog.com/ Jason Crouch

    I am much more surprised when Facebook shows me an ad that interests me remotely these days than I am by the lame/irrelevant/borderline offensive stuff anymore. They need some serious algorithm tweaking, it seems.

  • markallenroberts

    great point!
    Love the video, plan to use it in a follow up post to http://nosmokeandmirrors.wordpress.com/2009/07/
    thanks again, now off to twitter your post

  • http://BlogSprockit.com Scott Prock

    Facebook Deserves a Junk Punch – http://cli.gs/nvnXRY – looks like I'm not the only one upset with FaceBook and their advertising.

    I can't understand why legit advertisers have such a tough time getting approval to run their ads, yet Facebook allows scams like the free camera, or the latest, “we need camera testers” which is an out right lie … the ads don't have ANYTHING to do with camera testers, yet Facebook still approves their ads.

    Loved the video too … Scott

  • TraciKnoppe

    I completely agree about the FB ads. I am not a huge FB fan, the ads are one reason; my nearest & dearest sending me 'Care Bear hugs' , and other equally ridiculous apps, is another.

  • http://twitter.com/DavidJGarcia David J. Garcia

    I know I'm late to the discussion, but this has been in the back of my head since it posted.

    What you're seeing as an annoyance is actually a huge opportunity. Facebook would love to give you targeted ads (it increases their revenue). And they have several options in place to allow advertisers to target specific people. The problem? Not enough advertisers are taking full advantage of the system. Which provides a huge opportunity for those who do.

    Think about it: if you're annoyed by irrelevant ads on Facebook, so are your potential customers. So advertise on Facebook with specific, well-targeted ads. People will be so happy to see something so relevant to them that they'll click with interest. You'll outbid the irrelevant ads because you get a higher ROI.

    I do what I can to support advertisers that offer something particularly relevant to me. And click-through rates on my ads suggest that others do as well. I actually visit the “more ads” page on a regular basis because I want to know who's trying to reach me.

    When you can target an ad specifically to people who are interested in your product or service and live in your area, isn't it worth 50 cents to reach them? I think so. As soon as everyone else realizes this, you'll see more relevant ads (and increased rates and revenue for Facebook).

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  • http://bdentzy.com Bryan Entzminger

    I'm going to have to agree with you on this one. Thumbs down and all. Thx for posting.

  • http://blog.uprinting.com/ UPrinting

    Haha! I've seen some ads like these before on Facebook too.
    Why do they show up anyway? I don't remember putting the words blonds or binge on my interests…

  • http://blog.uprinting.com/ UPrinting

    Haha! I've seen some ads like these before on Facebook too.
    Why do they show up anyway? I don't remember putting the words blonds or binge on my interests…

  • steve

    I also am wondering where the ads will be seen. Advertising is to be viewed by the general public, or in this case by Facebook users. I see the big ad by AT&T. Where are the other?
    New York liposuctions