Facebook’s Failure in a Single Image

I am 37. I live  – and always have done – in Leeds. I’m married, have a couple of kids, work in online marketing, have had some fairly well documented health problems, follow the fortunes of Leeds United, play in a band and am bald.

All of this information I have given freely to Facebook over 6 or 7 years of near-daily use. My location, workplace, interests, relationships and music taste are exhaustively documented there for everyone to see and while my involvement with the site has fallen off over the last year, it is still the place I go to share life’s dramas and bad jokes with my nearest and dearest.

That stuff should be a goldmine for advertisers: “here’s a married man in Leeds, with kids, disposable income and who loves music.” Even without all the other stuff thrown in, it should be pretty easy to match me against some good ads.

Furthermore my statuses often reflect direct intent. Two random statuses from recent weeks:

“Having a loft conversion: Anyone want a futon? Getting rid for space reasons. Message me.”

“Anyone know a good pub for food in York?”

And that’s the fundamental premise of Facebook to advertisers: TV levels of exposure with a global audience of hundreds of millions, allied to personal profiles of every one and intent.

Based on this stuff, I’d probably expect/hope to see ads for local decorators, pubs, offers from music stores and things which just some obvious.

And yet, every day I see advertising like the stuff in the image on the right there. At the single most fundamental level, it’s not even the right country. I can’t buy Tyson Chicken Nuggets. There are no participating Simon Malls anywhere for me to use my Amex. None of them reflect my interests, location, tastes or needs.

Given what they know, Facebook should be better than Google at serving ads. Love it though I do, if they can’t sort this out they’re toast.



3 thoughts on “Facebook’s Failure in a Single Image

  1. Well, according to F**kbook I live in London rather than Great Yarmouth, so it seems that all the geographical stuff passes them by. I also think that you are assuming that they care where you live. Personally I don’t think that they do

  2. Hmm I think it says more about Facebooks client list than anything else, it may well be that there are no relevant business wanting to advertise than anything else. Having said that there is no excuse for serving those ads although it just goes along with the standard “the web is American” mentality of most local websites

    1. That’s definitely a factor. I’m quite sure that some idiot in charge of marketing those chicken nuggets is pleased with the millions of impressions he’s got for his ads – even if half of them are being served up in China!

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