Does More Info Mean Better Facebook Ad Reach?

Can your Facebook “likes” tell the world who you are? A study released recently from The University of Cambridge in Britain, argues that what you choose to support on the social media site can provide detailed information. From how smart you are, your political and social leanings, and even if your parents split when you were young.

Over 50,000 Facebook users voluntarily allowed the researchers to comb over their Facebook activity to see if their movements revealed insight about their personality, habits, response to marketing, and other information.

The results were surprisingly deep. The participants took online personality and intelligence tests and these results were compared to their Facebook activity. Some results were in the “well, duh” category. If you “like” a Republican candidate’s page you are probably, wait for it, a Republican. Same with liking a religion themed page. Christians and Muslims were identified correctly 82% of the time.

Whether your parents split up came in at only 60% accuracy, but taking into account the algorithm required to pull info about people related to the user and not the user himself, even that percentage is potentially significant.

Facebook “likes” are public and accessible, so this formative information could make Facebook advertising even more pinpointed. It also has privacy advocates revving up their engines. Not only could it be used to more accurately (and perhaps cost-effectively) reach potential customers, it could also be used to uncover information the user may want to keep private such as sexual orientation or how they spent their off-work hours.

This sort of information could be a goldmine to marketers, but how they use it is still something of an art form.

A recent article on the Marketing Profs website details the semi-disastrous attempt done by a company to advertise on Facebook’s timeline. Wistia, a video hosting company, had previously had some luck with ads on the sidebar and thought the next step would be a bigger push into the Timeline. Turns out Facebook users don’t necessarily appreciate having ads show up in between posts from friends sharing cat videos and screaming about politics and posts from pages they had actually “liked”.

In fact, they really, really hate it:

A spokesman from the company had this to say:

We tried to target this post to people who “Liked” companies whose fan base was likely to overlap with ours.

 As it turns out, Facebook targeted the post to people who had interacted with those companies. Few of the negative commentors had actually  ”Liked” any of the companies that we targeted, and some had even left negative comments on those pages.

Then there was a little side note about whether or not Facebook is using bots to accumulate “likes” but that’s another story.

What we’re taking from both these stories is the continued need for marketers to know just who their customers are and the best way to reach them. Turn The Page Online Marketing can help our customers learn more about their customers to better reach them in the online circus.

To learn more about how we can help just give us a call and we can dish about the best online plan for you and your business.

Author Amanda Hall

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