Facebook Ads: You Will Be Monetized
This Facebook ad thing is all about the money, big corporations licking their lips over sucking in clueless customers, and basically nothing to do with how or why I use Facebook. Therefore, I think it’s a questionable move.
The one bit that turns me off, big time:
People will not be able to opt out of these social ads or turn them off, at least for now, unless they stop revealing information about themselves on Facebook. Says Zuckerberg: “It is an ad-supported service. It is a free service.”
I get that Facebook has got to make money somehow, but no opt out is a huge deal breaker. So I guess the only way to opt out is to stop using Facebook? Gotcha, I’ll make a mental note of that one.
Next annoying statement:
Social Ads are not so much about buying a digital camera right now because you are in the middle of your shopping research. They are about planting suggestions for things you may want but do not even know that you want. That is what brand advertising is, and it represents the majority of ad dollars spent today offline.
Uh… actually, I think that is totally backwards. The only time I really want to know more about a product is when I am doing research on it. Any other and it’s an unwanted solicitation. This line about “planting suggestions for things you may want but do not even know that you want” is pure marketing bull.
Every company believes their product will do wonders for my life, from Brillo pads to Gold’s Gym Memberships to Vanilla Mint Orange Colgate. But I know that 99% of advertisers are completely wrong. Who knows me better than me? How presumptuous to claim to know more about me… than me! Way to earn a customer (or in this case, annoy a user).
Oh, but you’ll love our product if you only give it a try? Please. You’re wrong, and bugging me to try something that I have no interest in makes me more inclined to despise your product just because you bothered me with your pitch.
Now the targeted ad thing is slightly better – but only when I need a cheap laugh. I sometimes check out the Amazon suggests or NetFlix recommends type thing and they’re always completely wrong. Neither site has enough data on me to make truly accurate suggestions, and I have no interest in giving them enough data to make their suggestions work properly.
The same goes for Facebook. I’ll make it a point to not give them the data they so desire from here on out. Easy to do when I don’t use the site that much.
Maybe I’ll befriend Dove (is it the ice cream or that soap that floats?) for some amusing chuckles.
The bottom line: this is about monetizing Facebook and justifying the 15 billion dollar valuation with some actual earnings. It has nothing to do with providing a service I’d actually use.
The larger societal implications are summed up quite eloquently by Nick Carr:
Editorial is advertorial. The medium is the message from our sponsor. Marketing is conversational, says Zuckerberg, and advertising is social. There is no intimacy that is not a branding opportunity, no friendship that can’t be monetized, no kiss that doesn’t carry an exchange of value.
That’s a really crappy future. I don’t want to enable it.
Update: Another choice quote in Portfolio magazine from Mr. Zuckerberg:
If those interests include not seeing advertising, that is too bad. “There is no opting out of advertising,” Zuckerberg said.
Additional Reading: WinExtra, New York Times, Deep Jive Interests, Republic of Internets