Facebook Ads: Targeting or Reach

So reading through this article from the WSJ, I have a lot more reactions than would fit in 140 characters on Twitter. So I figure I revitalize my blog with some thoughts:

  • The shift from TV advertising to “something more efficient” is going to be really slow, and we’re going to see boomerangs like the P&G sound-bite for a while. Other than the real dinosaurs, metaphoric dinosaurs don’t die overnight.
  • Keeping premium (ad products focused on reach, and not sold through self-serve channels with features that brand advertisers would pay more for) is something I (and a handful of people) spent battling to save when I was at Facebook from 2011–2014. The culture at the company is about efficiency for advertisers (which would lead to better ROI which would mean more spend), and keeping a placement that was artificially protected was counter to the culture.
  • Facebook would rather have advertisers pay 50% and reach 90% of the audience than have a product reach 100% of the audience, even it meant paying 100%. Even when they wanted this placement. Even when they were willing to pay 120%.
  • Targeting sounds great on paper, but I think the idea of it hasn’t matched its execution — while advertisers “think” they want to hyper-targeting (large families and families with pets), a miss just signifies they’ve misidentified their audience, or that audience converts less well than they originally think. We don’t have enough targeting signals in the ads ecosystem for great intent information (maybe outside of Pinterest).

Facebook Video, with its sight-sound-motion, is still a staggeringly great brand advertising product with huge potential, that should be positioned as the “TV ad for the 20th Century”. You know, for when your TV becomes your phone, when your Newsfeed becomes your television channel. I hope it’s given the credibility and support to become that.