My Changing View for Facebook Advertising - Social Media Explorer
My Changing View for Facebook Advertising
My Changing View for Facebook Advertising

Like many of you I am a user of Facebook, often logging in multiple times a day. One of the frustrations that seem to be forever increasing is advertising; often undesired advertising. I recognize that Facebook advertising is what makes the service free to use and connect to what is truly important to me; my family and friends. Over the years I have developed a disdain for most forms of advertising, especially in digital formats, including Facebook. But over the past few months, my view has changed.

Let me be clear, I still have a disdain for poorly targeted advertising and unfortunately, this does not seem to be going away even with the enormous amount of data found on Facebook. Of course this is not all Facebook’s fault but instead poor decisions or laziness by the company or their agency. I get that most companies feel that everyone needs to see their product to appreciate it, but when you are the one interfering with my life, I may want to reciprocate but let’s be clear that would not be in a positive manner by buying your product. The key to successful marketing regardless of the channel is effective content that resonates with the audience.

The challenge is we are still stuck in a mass marketing view of advertising. We apply one size fits all and often do not fully target to the people that would be most interested in our product. We have this dream of changing someone who was not thinking of buying the product. But we rarely think how they may feel about the advertisement or we look at it with our business hat instead of our Consumer hat. My negative view of Facebook advertising started to shift a few months back with the advertisement of Casper mattress. For years I have struggled to find the right mattress, buying multiple with zero luck. I bought the Casper mattress and love it. Of course since that time I am now getting ads for every mattress company out there and also for sheets. Let me be clear I am not the one who typically buys the sheets, even if I bought the mattress. Oh well, I saw positive for Facebook advertising and then months of negatives. I guess it is easy to target someone that may like a mattress or have bought a mattress and think they would want to buy sheets too! Well, in this case it is a big mistake.


“The key to successful marketing, regardless of the channel, is effective content that resonates with the audience.”

For personal reasons, I am selling my house and moving back to Philadelphia. It is a large upheaval in my life and I will have to find a new job in the coming months. When I put my house on the market, I did what most of us do. I hired a realtor and let the process begin (I really think real estate transactions need to be disrupted but that is a post for another day). Even though I hired a realtor, I took the opportunity to experiment with Facebook advertising. I set up a Facebook page, established clear targets, including income level, looking for a new home within the area, in the real estate business and a bunch of other criteria. Overall the cost was not that much and I knew I put together very strong targeting. Early on I was frustrated because comments would indicate that they could not afford the home, even though my own targeting should have hit the right people from an income perspective. Anyway, the first advertisement was for our first open house. According to the realtor, the day was very crowded. So much so that she lost track of all the people coming in. Unfortunately, it did not lead to buyers. Based on this, I did not do any advertising for the second open house. Turn out was about 4 or 5 serious buyers but no one else. We had a third open house and again I did Facebook advertising. Once again the open house was packed and this time, we had very serious buyers. Within days of the open house, we had multiple offers.

Overall I spent a few hundred dollars and achieved a huge return on that investment. I just met the buyers the other day and they told me how they heard about the house. They were not looking in this town, but instead focusing a few towns away. A very comparable area. They found this house not through the advertisement but instead through a friend who saw the ad. The friend was looking in our little town prior to selecting a home elsewhere. They shared the link and the rest is history.

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We still have far to go when it comes to advertising, especially digital. We have to get much better at targeting the right people at the right moment. Unfortunately, from what I have seen, this has not been done so well. In fact, it usually has created poor experiences and the rise of ad blockers. I know I have been tempted to use ad blockers out of my own frustration. That being said, if you can target in the right way, to the right person, you can have a huge return on your investment. If your ads are not working it may be time to find a different expert to help you find your way.

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About the Author

Frank Eliason
Frank Eliason is an American corporate executive and author. Referred to as "the most famous customer service manager in the US, possibly the world" by BusinessWeek, Eliason is best known for developing the use of social media in the practice of customer relations.

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