Monday, March 9, 2009

Facebook - The Most Useless Ads Ever



Welcome to the face of Facebook advertising.  Attractive, huh?  

(I'm not going to lie; I am copying Josh's format)

By now, most of you have probably seen the ads on your Facebook profile.  It's the worst thing to happen since Facebook introduced the mini-feed so your friend could see how many women you made plans with over the weekend (oooh...was that out loud?) - but that was almost a year ago.  Like the other social media sites before (and with) it, Facebook has managed to underwhelm its users with lackluster advertising and an underwhelming capitalization of the unique opportunity that is social media marketing.

Before I go further, I must confess; Facebook occasionally provides its users with decent marketing.  I notice some ads will focus on my interests stated in my profile, including cycling, running, triathlons, and real estate.  This is the extent of Facebook's marketing success over its existence.

However, Facebook's most recent ads leave its users (or at least me) feeling dirty and at high risk of identity theft if we click through them.  The two images I posted are actual images of the ads I find on Facebook.  They include the generic:
  • "How many eyes in this image?"
  • "How many deltoids in the picture above?  96.7% of Americans get this question wrong"
  • "Make $75/hour working part-time and being lazy" (smells scammy)
  • "Meet Christian singles" with pictures of busty Catholic school girls looking for a party
Aside from my last example, these ads tend to put nightmare-inducing images on your profile (and this totally detracts from my awesomely attractive friends).  Since when did marketing involve putting incredibly unattractive images on ad space and expecting/hoping for click-throughs?  Did I miss something in Psych 101?  I knew I shouldn't have skipped that day...

Due to not controlling the quality of ads on Facebook, Facebook diminishes its overall reputation in the American marketplace and its users perception of the quality of Facebook advertisements.  Also, poor ad revenues will kill any business valuation...

The solution for Facebook is simple:
  1. Increase the cost of advertisement: Boom!  Facebook's valuation just went up.  Creeper advertisers; go run ads your scammy ads elsewhere.  My profile is a scam-free zone and I don't care how many deltoids that guy has.  Perception is everything, and cost increases will increase the perceived benefit.
  2. Make them bigger: Facebook is a website that needs to generate revenue; increasing ad size will allow companies to develop more original and creative marketing.  It's hard to convince someone of anything with the postage-stamp marketing used today.
  3. Recruit better companies to advertise: Scam-O-Rama still isn't appealing even if they can set me up with busty Judeo-Christian women who attend private Catholic high schools and like to party.  Even the ShamWow guy would be a step in the right direction.
  4. Increase corporate-developed applications: The best (and only) Facebook application I ever used was Red Bull Roshambull.  It had nothing to do with Red Bull but everything with my 9-2 record of crushing my friends at rock paper scissors.  When Red Bull opened up its Roshamblog for tag lines, over 1,100 people submitted ideas to reflect your recent performance in the world of ro, sham, and bull.  Check out the Roshamblog for yourself.  I still laugh.
Mark Zuckerberg; do yourself and Facebook's market evaluation a favor and improve your online advertising.  Please?  

Mama said knock you out.

3 comments:

Laila said...

Personally I wouldn't even mind chipping in a dollar or two per year to continue the facebook service without having to look at some of these cheap ads..... :-)

James Manning said...

laila, i agree but they would lose a lot of users if they charged.

Jenna said...

I think in some ways we are the generation who's brains and eyes have evolved to just ignore side bar ads. Very rarely do those ads actually catch my eye. And let's be honest, those FB ads are way better than their myspace counterparts, rainbow flashes and "when will you die" click throughs....and yes, I'm still on myspace....

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