Marketing Director

Facebook Advertising Undressed

Facebook has passed Google in terms of market share of weekly visits in the US highlighting it's position as America's favourite website. With no end to the growth in sight Facebook Advertising is a must for any online advertising campaign or is it? This post will reveal how your information is 'given' to advertisers by Facebook.
People love Facebook but Facebook advertising is many things to many people. I asked my network on Facebook, "What do you think of Facebook Advertising?". The perspectives varied especially between those who use Facebook ads and those who can't stand to even see them. In this post I am addressing this complaint which came from more than a couple of the responders.

This is something of a common complaint about Facebook. The user's 'cut' is the entire Facebook ecosystem: the communication, the games, the quizzes etc. Facebook doesn't 'sell our personal information'. They provide advertisers access to a targeting system based on information you enter into Facebook. Your information is never revealed to advertisers and doesn't leave the site. This is the kind of information that advertisers receive:

Sample 'Responder Demographics' Report:

The information on the far right is: % of Impressions, % of Clickers and CTR. (m1317 = Male 13 -17 years old)

Sample 'Responder Profiles' Report:

*NOTE: Facebook's reporting system is imperfect. When a column is empty it moves items from columns to the right to the open column on the left. IE: the only books or movies listed by clickers were 'twilight series' and 'twilight' respectively, but 'rap' is a Music interest which has been pushed left because there was no 'Book' or 'Movie' in the second position. I hope that's not too confusing. The columns are: Interest, Book, Movie, Music, TV Show.

This may give an advertiser hints about what kinds of people click their ads but in no way does it release your personal information to advertisers. Besides choosing TV programs to advertise on what else could this be used for? Facebook offers advertisers and promoters many opportunities that are hard to find online especially when it comes to targeting. This is how Facebook turned a profit last year, ahead of schedule. Any business or product that employees people has to have a revenue model to grow. That is what Facebook is doing and ultimately it is to benefit the users. The history of the creation of Facebook is a fascinating read from the Business Insider.

What do you think of Facebook advertising? Love it as an advertiser? Hate it as a user? Or don't even notice it. These seem to be the three perspectives I have found I would love to hear yours in a comment below. Watch this space for a new post "Facebook Advertising's Benefits: Beyond the Click".


  1. I used facebook ads for a month long campaign a while back. Found no return on the investment. I usually visit facebook from my iPhone or Hootsuite so ads are irrelevant for me and I suspect many other users as well.

  2. I agree Scott, I think it's important when using any media for advertising or communications to consider who your target is and what kind of environment you are addressing them in whether it's Facebook or Twitter or...

    The mindset of a Facebook user who clicks ads on the site may require a specialized landing page or a value add or an incentive(even good information)