Last week, my much better half posted some nifty foodie-related material on her Facebook Page.
After commenting, I logged out of FB and the page reloaded with some adverfacing™ for Wendy’s
I can see why it sent me this page. That’s because the page I was on had to do with food. So, naturally, I would be shown another page with food. But apparently Facebook assumes that food could mean anything from tomatoes to pasta to crickets.†
So let’s break down how Facebook could have been so good at targeting me for this particular ad:
- In the past six years, I have had fast food at Chipotle and In-N-Out Burger, and I can count on one hand the number of times. I do not eat fast food.
- The last time I had Wendy’s was in San Diego. In 2001.
- The last time I wrote about food on my FB page was never.
- Because Amy’s page is all about home cooking, she never writes about fast food.
So, I am completely lost as to why Facebook, with its incredible ability to glean information from every word typed into the platform, would think I would want Wendy’s.
Don’t get me wrong here: I believe in Facebook. So much so that I bought stock in it. But this is a perfectly good example of why General Motors backed out.
Facebook simply has not figured out relevance. In an age where data mining is the new demographic profiling method, Facebook still can’t quite match the right message with the right audience. If you were to go through Very Culinary’s page, you would find words like apples, homemade, garden, and so forth.
So let’s play some word association: If I say the word “apples,” what do you think of? In a recent survey of everyone on earth, not a single person said “Wendy’s.”#
But let’s not just blame Facebook.
When advertisers want exposure on a website, their product offering is matched with keywords from the user and the site. Wendy’s certainly adds as many keywords in there as possible. The general assumption is that if you (the FB user) are around any page or discussion that has to do with food, then you must be in the mood for some Wendy’s! Right?
Facebook has gotten by with a “spray and pray” method. Find a few generalized keywords and stick an ad on the page. The reach (several hundred million views) is astronomical, the percentage of clicks warrants the placement. But this is why General Motors backed out. They walked away because they were spending 10 million dollars per year and not getting the bang for their buck. Lots of exposure, but little return.
By comparison, GM spent more on Facebook advertising than the GDP of 122 countries. Imagine if they had taken that 10 million and spent it in those places.
In order to reach the right audience at the right time in the right place, you need relevance – the discpline of understanding the right mix of user, location, and time to send the right message.
Once Facebook figures this out, they’ll be on to something. Then, perhaps users will get more relevant and meaningful messaging. Meanwhile, I’ll be at her website, VeryCulinary.com, figuring out what I’m going to eat for dinner. I’m pretty sure it isn’t a Baconator Double.
Adverfacing™ is a brand new word. I could not find it on Google. So that makes it all mine. I own it. If you want to use it, you must pay me an absolutely incredible amount of money. Please contact me for an agreement.
†Facebook may also be challenged with knowing whether you are a human or a bird.
# Survey margin of error: +/- everyone on earth.