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Before you start nodding, read on a bit.




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.

 formula edgerank

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

1 Comment

  1. MJH March 20th, 2013

    Not to mention the fact that people are getting a service for free. I find it quite appalling (yes, I used the word appalling) that people would complain about seeing ads to use a service that costs millions of dollars a day to maintain – for free.

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Andrew Foxwell
Andrew Foxwell grew up on a farm in western Wisconsin, where his Macintosh Quadra 610 with its lightning fast 28.8K dial-up connection first sparked his interest in digital marketing. After graduating from St. Olaf College, Andrew went to work as a digital director for a U.S. Congressional campaign, which led him to Washington, DC to work as a press secretary/new media director for a U.S. Congressman. Recognizing an opportunity for improved digital communications between members of Congress and their constituents, Andrew founded and managed the social media marketing agency within iConstituent, the leading online communications firm working with Congress. Andrew worked with members and staffs from both sides of the aisle to deepen much needed Congressional dialogue, improve constituent services, and create a more effective 21st century democracy. Andrew then took his diverse skillset to Silicon Valley where he directed the social media division of 3Q Digital, a full-service online marketing firm. There he tripled the agency’s social media client base, managed a team of account managers and production professionals, and oversaw an average monthly revenue growth of more than 20% while working with companies like Square, Fitbit, Eventbrite, 23andMe, Citrus Lane and more. Andrew is the CEO and Co-Founder of Foxwell Digital, a digital creative agency that works with clients as diverse as small-town cafes to multi-million dollar start-ups. Find him @andrewfoxwell and