Facebook goes anti-social

Mark Zuckerberg

Today’s Facebook porn revolves around a story that the social network is set to launch a new adserving platform (called ‘SocialAds’) which will take the data from inside their walled garden and use it to serve more relevant ads to people in other locations. Valleywag has it here. Venture beat loose complete control of their horses here, going on to claim this could make the (let us not forget) website, worth $100bn (that’s the GDP of New Zealand).

Venture beat themselves exposes some of the problem with the argument with their stunning example of targeting only those 20-25 year olds who express an interest in beer with a beer ad.

Well, let’s for a second forget that all 20-25 year olds are interested in beer (give or take) and ask a subtly different question: are you likely to sell your brand of beer to someone who’s already such an big ‘fan’ that he talks about beer on his Facebook profile. The reality of how people shop for things is of course, considerably more complicated. When in a bar in a group – for example – most people buy what the first person to order ordered. Second biggest driver is… what the barman recommends. Some banner I ignored on CNN six days ago is not likely to really have an impact.

Any other obvious flaws in the argument that Facebook can take over the world using just the knowledge that I’m a man and watch too much West Wing? Well, if that data is so valuable, why are they getting 10 cents per 100 impressions currently on their own site? Surely it would make AdSense to roll it out their first.

The upside? Perhaps when Mr Zuckerberg is the richest man in the world, he’ll be able to afford some proper shoes.

3 thoughts on “Facebook goes anti-social”

  1. You may be proven right, but you are arguing against various successful entrepreneuers in the ad-targeting world who say this kind of targeting can work extremely well yet hasn’t yet been properly tested.

    In my article, I tried to make it clear that only some advertisers will find these types of ads useful.

    We’ll see if I can stay on this horse 😉

  2. i had an O2 ad for the new Arsenal Opus recently on FB – Arsenal is listed as an interest and I also have an Arsenal app, so for me the banner was totally relevant and i actually clicked on it (!) The only thing that put me off was the fact that it was £3000!!

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