Target me! Target me!

Posted on June 12, 2014


In a New York Times article about upcoming changes to the Facebook platform, this quote stuck out to me:

“The thing that we have heard from people is that they want more targeted advertising,” said Brian Boland, Facebook’s vice president in charge of ads product marketing.

Are those “people” who want more targeted advertising consumers or marketers? As a consumer, I find it amusing when I see poorly targeted Facebook ads pop up. Although I do occasionally feel sorry for those poor, impression-wasting pet food marketers who can’t possibly understand that I don’t have a dog. As a marketer, yes. I absolutely want more targeted ads to reach the most interested and engaged consumers.

Bark Box Ad

The idea that Facebook will now let consumers click a button to see why a particular ad is showing in their feed is genius. First, it likely gets some consumer complaints off their back — if you’re super annoyed at the “Christian Singles” ads, you can now tell Facebook you’re not Christian or single with the click of a button. More important, Facebook is getting consumers to do the heavy lifting for them — and then selling that data at a premium to marketers.

The New York Times article also mentioned that Facebook will begin tapping new sources of data – from your mobile phone or websites you visit – to create an even deeper and more accurate profile of you, the online consumer. But the simple idea that consumers will tell you – for FREE – exactly what kind of advertising they want to see is the bold one in my opinion. Sure, we’ve already been doing this passively to some extent, but it’s far more valuable if I tell you that I want to see ads for new bras than if you just guess that I’m interested because a friend like Victoria’s Secret.

While I’ll be interested to see how this all plays out, I think I’ll keep the dog food marketers wondering. I don’t want the cute pups to disappear from my Facebook sidebar just yet.