Author: Mark Dixon
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Much has been said recently (here, here and here, for example) about whether Facebook can overtake Google as the market leader in online adversting. I am certainly not an advertising guru, but from the online consumer cheap seats I occupy, some things seem pretty clear to me.
When I visit Google – I am searching for something. I type in a keyword or two and expect results that are relevant to my search. Both the regular search results and the ads presented to me are often helpful – directly in line with what I am seeking. The direct connection between my current frame of mind and ads presented to me is very obvious.
On the other hand, when I visit Facebook, I am seeking to connect with people I know, hoping to see interesting content they have posted and offering content and commentary of my own. Searching for items I may be willing to buy is usually the farthest thing from my mind. Facebook does a terrible job of assessing my current context and interests before presenting ads to me.
Google ads are like various brands of breakfast cereal that are presented to me when I purposely visit the cereal aisle in a grocery store. Because I have an active intent to buy cereal, the Google ads, like cereal choices, are usually very relevant to my search and a natural part of my expected user experience.
Facebook ads, on the other hand, are like the obnoxious array of items stuffed into the long aisle I must endure before reaching a KMart checkout counter. Lots of stuff, mostly terribly irrelevant, screaming “buy me!”
Just like KMart will never get rich from my paltry purchases from their checkout aisles, Facebook will never get rich from me responding to Facebook ads in their current form. Facebook must somehow do a much, much better job of understanding my current frame of mind and presenting relevant ads, or they will wither and die as an advertising medium.
What is more … if Facebook doesn’t fix the irrelevant, obnoxious way they present ads to me, I might just get fed up and quit visiting Facebook, much like I rarely visit KMart any more.
In my humble opinion …