March 12, 2010

Facebook’s Interesting Ad Dilemma


I was just reading a post about the effectiveness of advertising on Facebook, and realized that Facebook has a bit of a problem on their hands.

Unlike Google, where people are specifically looking for something and click on relevant ads once found, users of Facebook have already found what they are looking for. In order to click on a Facebook ad, users need to be distracted enough to leave the actual site and go to yours.

Facebook’s dilemma is that its prime objective is to make the site as interesting and engaging as possible. But the more interesting it makes the website, the less interest people will take in clicking on ads to go somewhere else.

The solution, I think, is to use a more social model. People hate ads, they fast forward through them, block them out and downright ignore them. We need ways to conveniently integrate relevant advertising based on peer reviews and fan pages. Facebook has begun incorporating this already, but progress has been slow.

Users are 1000x times more likely to take interest and eventually buy a product if a friend recommends it. Facebook is all about friends, so what the hell are those random misplaced ads doing in the right sidebar? Many of them have no meaning within my social network – its time for better social contextual integration!

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3 Comments

  1. Sonika March 12, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    agreed! i hate those facebook ads, never even give them a first look.

  2. Ken March 13, 2010 at 8:33 am

    Ads don’t need to be clicked on to be effective. Often quite the contrary, in fact. Think about magazines. Like facebook, they are also trying their best for you to spend as much time as possible with the magazine. But, they do have ads and the ads are effective. Ads need to be relevant and well-targeted and the internet is quite uniquely positioned to leverage that. My point is to think of internet advertising in the same light as magazine ads. Don’t hold them to a higher standard. That being said, most magazine ads are much higher quality than a typical internet ad. Internet advertising has a long way to go in understanding what works and what doesn’t.

    Cheers.

  3. Mike March 13, 2010 at 9:28 am

    Hi Ken. Great comment!
    I would have to disagree there, since I don’t think full page interesting magazine ads have the problem of “banner blindness”. I typically at least look at each big magazine ad. Many of these ads are not for sales, but for exposure.

    On the internet, people’s primary focus is quick sales. Additionally I tend to ignore about 99% of all advertising online – often subconciously. The paradigm is simply wrong! The web is much more social than a single person reading a magazine too – that is a massive factor to take into account.

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