Facebook, in its continual effort to court us and keep us, continues to brainstorm ways to make itself as awesome a part of our lives as humanly possible. Currently, it’s with their ads, which are pretty impossible to miss.
Since Facebook continues to be as popular as ever, with 1.18 billion (billion!) monthly active users as of August 2015, one could assume that ads on Facebook reach a TON of people. And, as of late, Facebook really wants you to like their ads, so much so that you’ll notice if they’re gone… and want them back. Just like any good potential suitor — they want to keep our attention and have us miss them when we’re not together. We’ll long for seeing ads for things like fun, inexpensive Zappos dresses and happy-faced Flo from Progressive insurance, trying to entice us with a lower-priced policy.
Recently, at Adobe and InVision’s Design + Social Panel in San Francisco, Co-Director of Product Design, Julie Zhou, broke down Facebook’s ad plan for us. “We want to one day show you a News Feed that doesn’t have ads and show you one that does have ads and have everyone say, ‘The News Feed with ads was better,’” Zhou said. She mentioned that even posters at Facebook say, “Ads as good as organic.”
So, ads would be tailored to us as much as possible. If I were an Airbnb fanatic, I’d see a lot of those and ones for other housing swaps, while you may see more ads for car insurance (if you’d recently been searching for a new provider).
I decided to check out my Facebook ads at random times today to see if there was any consistency — and to see how well Facebook knows me. (This is the goal of any great couple, right? You know each other so well you can basically do the whole mind-reading thing.)
First, an AT&T ad came up (I have a phone already, thank you, that is not AT&T). Then, an ad for a Burberry bag (which is waaaaay out of my price and style range, but thanks anyway).
Second, an ad popped up for Verizon (I guess Facebook really wants me to switch carriers; I’m with Boost Mobile). Then, one for Groupon (which was truly an excellent reminder to go onto the site).
Third, an ad for Subway appeared (I haven’t eaten it since college, when I overdosed on it, so no thank you). Then, an ad for yet another Verizon item (These phone ads have really got to stop; I am in love with Boost, and no other carrier can steal me away!)
Fourth, a Blacklight Run ad came up (which is something I’d like to do, so thank you, Facebook). Then, an ad for New Year’s Eve dresses (I’d just been thinking about NYE, so that ad is something I could get behind, too).
Fifth, there was an ad for Walden University (already went to grad school, Facebook, and don’t need to add to my student loan debt). Then, one for an iComfort mattress (which looked enticing, but I already have a bed I love, so that was a no-go).
Sixth, in my last impromptu ad test, an ad came up for Burberry clothes (Burberry again? Sorry, if I’m not a Burberry purse type of girl, I’m not a Burberry clothing type, either). Then, an ad for a 24-month lease for a Sprint phone (as I mentioned before, Boost is my guy, though Sprint does own Boost, so Facebook’s getting a little closer to knowing my phone tastes; however, I currently have a month-to-month phone contract, so an ad for a 24-month lease is not for me).
Maybe Facebook knows something I do not — like that I should be a Burberry-wearing, non-Boost-using person instead of a more one-of-a-kind thrift-store-wardrobe-clad, Boost mobile (read: non-contract) one.
So, of the twelve ads I saw, only three were a good fit for me, 25 percent. Not very good odds. Perhaps your ads are better-suited for you?
All in all, the tailored-to-each-of-us ads are a great idea, if they truly cater to our wants and needs. In any case, I won’t break up with Facebook over it. They just need to try harder to get to know me better.
(Images via Facebook and Alexey Boldin / Shutterstock.com)