In defense of Facebook advertising
Published: March 19, 2013
Author: Andrew Foxwell
Remember, a time before Facebook, when you would sit with your parents at holidays and they would recount the news from your hometown and all the people you were friends with growing up?
You’d sit around drinking some coffee with your mom or dad, and they’d say, “Did you hear that Aaron Smith is now married and works in Chicago?” You’d stop and say, “Wow, no way, really? That building is right next to mine” – and then you’d meet the guy for coffee after a series of phone calls.
Or how about when you heard about a great sale the bike shop in your college town was having from a paper mailer. Then you went to the store and the model you wanted had already sold out.
These situations don’t happen anymore – and they don’t happen because of our investment in social media and, more specifically, Facebook. These modern ‘connection conveniences’ are now second nature to us. So, I’ll just come out and say it – it bothers me that people repeatedly forget all the great benefits we get out of Facebook being a part of our lives. The only “costs” are simple Facebook ads that you can choose to ignore or interact with.
When I’ve previously gone into this topic with friends and family, most people say, “Oh I never click on a Facebook ad – who clicks on those?” Well, how does “millions of people per day” sound? This sort of question drives me nuts because it’s like talking about a magazine and someone saying “I never read ads – who actually reads those full-page ads?” Well, again, how about millions of people?
Thanks to the internet, gone are the days of seeing ads that don’t really mean anything. Now, on Facebook, the sophistication of the ads you see is based on something you’ve previously done on the platform.
Advertising to support the things we love has been working for hundreds of years, and usually, the best ads win our attention. And the story is no different for Facebook: the best content wins.
I know, I know, it’s not a shocker that this comes from a Facebook advertiser. Facebook ads do in fact, pay my bills. However, it means more to me than that. It’s about the fact that the true complexity of Facebook advertising is not widely understood – and it deserves to be. For example, look at the equation for how Facebook decides if you should see certain pieces of content. It’s much more complex than people give it credit for.
Every day, millions of people interact and engage on Facebook. They find out about friends, family, brands, and more emotional things that have fundamentally changed the way we go about things in the world. So, how about we remember the bigger picture and not let a little contextual advertising get in the way? That newsfeed you see is customized to appear differently for over one billion people around the world.
(A little PSA: you can also stop saying “please unsubscribe me” or “why is this SPAM post in my newsfeed?” and go here to monitor all your interactions on Facebook and remove those you don’t want them to use for ads.)
Now back to your regularly unscheduled browsing, posting, liking…
– Andrew Foxwell