Here’s a description of me based on the ads I’m being served on Facebook today: “Zef lives in Australia. Because he eats lots of meat he’s grossly overweight and gambles so he can build a new house. He has a clapped-out Windows PC which he uses to shop for high heels. All this gives him a dry mouth.”
While that might sum up a typical Sydney-sider from Paddington, they couldn’t be more wrong about me.
You see, I actually live in New Zealand. I’ve only ever eaten a plant-based diet and I’m not overweight. I’m a lifelong Mac fan-boy so have no intention of buying a Dell. And, sorry to disappoint you, but I’m not a cross-dresser and I usually don’t have a dry mouth.
So what’s going on here? The clear message is that Facebook doesn't get me and all those advertisers are wasting their impressions. And it appears that I’m not alone.
Admittedly, the more I check the optional ‘offensive’ box (available from the top right of each ad), the more appropriate the advertising is getting. But that’s a bit extreme. Would a typical user even bother?
With 80 percent-plus of New Zealanders' eyeballs glued to Facebook it’s not something we should ignore. So who’s responsible for this mess? Facebook or the advertisers?
I suspect it’s a bit of both. Facebook is obviously tracking my activity but can’t understand the context. And it looks like most advertisers are casting the net too wide, treating Facebook like a broadcast medium. The internet isn’t television.
Most experts agree that your ad is likely to perform better if it’s displayed to the people who are most likely to be interested in what you have to offer.
Emily Loughnan from the top-rated iPhone recipe app, Fast, Fresh & Tasty, says she does a lot of advertising on Facebook.
“The default advertising Facebook offers can lead to advertising like you have used as an example. But if an advertiser takes their time, and customises, the results can be very effective indeed. I’ve concentrated creating ads that have value. They have tips in them that customers will find helpful – interesting content that people really appreciate – they definitely don’t say 'Buy Me'."
As a result of her strategy and experimentation, Fast, Fresh & Tasty’s click rates have continued to grow.
Here are a few tips to get some of your own click-through action from the people you’d love to reach:
- Have an idea of the customers you want to target. Not in broad demographic terms, but specifics. Visualise what this person actually might be like, where they live, what they do and where and when they might be viewing your ad. Take into account their gender, location, interests, lifestyle and habits. Facebook Adverts has a great tool that allows you to create targeted advertising. Here you can enter your customer’s interests, activities, family status, genres of music and more.
- Craft ads which are targeted to specific groups of people and add value. Your ad is much more likely to jump off the page at customers if it contains useful information or a teaser which builds their curiosity.
- Keep an eye on the performance of your ads. Keep tweaking and refining the wording, imagery and timing of your campaign. You’ll soon be able to see what’s working well, and what’s not.
The basic lesson here is, get to know your customer. Put yourself in their shoes. Oh, and don’t advertise bacon to vegans.
- Fugaz is the experience design lead at Click Suite and has over a decade of experience developing new products, services, and user experiences for the web, desktop and devices.
- This post forst appeared on the MA blog.