Elements or Lower

Wed, 03 Dec 2008

Facebook Advertising

There’s ongoing discussion on whether advertising on social media such as Facebook is worthwhile, something we’ve been considering ourselves. I’d like to bring a couple of my own experiences to the table.

I’m quite the fan of the Canadian electronica band Delerium. Earlier this year, I noticed a Facebook ad for their gig at the Carling Academy in Islington, a very rare performance outside of North America, and an event I’d never have known about otherwise. With enthusiasm, and something even approaching gratitude, I clicked. Tickets were booked, a great time was had and a t-shirt bought.

It’s safe to assume that the ad was targeted relatively narrowly: people living in the UK (perhaps even just London), who have listed Delerium in their favourite music on their Facebook profile. Only a handful of people would have seen the ad, really — but because Facebook ads are PPC (price per click), the event organisers would have only paid for the times the ad was actually clicked. They may well have recouped their investment through finding me alone.

Exposure isn’t the issue here, it’s targeting. Search ads on Google are relatively well-targeted, based on the keywords you’re using for search — but here, the ad was an absolute bullseye. I was precisely the right demographic, and (unlike all the singles ads I see on Facebook that ignore the fact that I’m listed as married) the ad wasn’t an annoyance. In fact, quite the opposite.

Similarly, later in the year, I was served an ad for the new album from Oceanlab, the text of which was something along the lines of “Like Delerium? Listen to this!” — so I clicked, and discovered easily my favourite album of 2008.

What’s to take from this? Well, when advertising is that well-targeted, it stops being advertising and starts being a service. I didn’t need convincing and I wasn’t a hard sell. And, it seems, the purveyors of fine electronica know this.

I wonder if there’s an alternative payment model somewhere in here? One where you’re encouraged to be a specific as possible in your ad spend — ads that get clicked are free: it’s the ones that aren’t that cost you …?