Social media advertising isn’t just another fad. With all of that juicy customer info we give social networks each day, for free, businesses of all sizes are lining up to cash in by offering the right ad to the right person, guaranteed — or so they think.
Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t.
Here’s the promise Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder and CEO, made to media buyers last November:
With Facebook you will be able to select exactly the audience you want to reach, and we will only show your ads to them. We know exactly what gender someone is, what activities they are interested in, their location, country, city or town, interests, gender [etcetera, etcetera] . . .
Several months later, this is the result:
Apparently, David at Broccoli & Cheese wasn’t a good target for this ad:
As you read this, thousands of 18-34 year old men are watching Tampax commercials. Not because they want to, but because television is an imprecise medium that makes it hard to get the right ads to the right people. As a result, we’ve been conditioned over decades to expect irrelevance at the commercial break.
But wasn’t the Internet, and in particular, social media, supposed to turn that tide? Take Facebook—they know more about my day-to-day life than my parents do, and surely enough to serve me ads that I’d find remotely useful. But they’re dropping the ball. Big time.
[...] Will someone out there besides Google please get their [expletive] together?
If MarineCFO’s Chief Financial Officer is reading this, chance are s/he’s not thrilled with Facebook.
To be clear, I don’t think MarineCFO was silly to place this ad. It’s just that, like me and perhaps even you, we’re easily seduced by the promise of demographics. We like to think it’s sufficient.
They make being wrong feel so right. They always seem to have the right answer. They help us justify lazy decisions. They give us such wonderful opportunities to prejudge our audience — specifically, how they define themselves and what they want to hear, see or read — based on a few scant details. Yet by themselves, demographics can never be accountable for anything because they’re based on correlation, not causality.
Marketers, and the advertising platforms that prey on them, need to look beyond the logistics of ad placement and stop thinking of “targeting” as a one-way, two-dimensional process. Demographics are important, but without the context of psychographics [define], they’re quite often useless. To paraphrase Mark Twain, to a media buyer armed with vague demographic data, everyone looks like a target.
I wonder where and how these ads would have been placed had they planned the campaign with personas.