Yesterday I was checking Facebook and noticed an Advertisement on the left for a singles site targeting Homosexual Men. Well, maybe Facebook knows something I don’t, but I do have a wife, and yes, 4 kids – I am far from such! Not only that, but my Facebook Account specifically says I’m interested in WOMEN. I Twittered it and got responses from other people saying they had seen the same ads, and others as well that were definitely not targeted towards what they had entered on Facebook.
Valleywag (I skim it occasionally – yes, they do get some dirt occasionally that is actually news!) today posted an article about a similar situation. I also remember several times seeing an ad for wedding rings when it clearly says I’m married. So why are we seeing these non-targeted ads?
The reason is because there’s a flaw in Facebook’s advertising system. The ads you see on the left are only ads submitted by users, and they are submitted completely by users via a tool on Facebook called, “Social Ads“. So the ads are truly up to the users submitting them as to how targeted an audience they show to.
However, in some of these cases (like the Homosexual ads) I’m afraid it wasn’t the users’ fault the ads weren’t targeted correctly. Right now, when you sign up for a social ad, it gives you the option to filter by Location, Sex, Age, Keywords from your Activities, Favorite Music, Favorite Books, and About Me sections on your Profile, Education Status, Workplaces, and Relationship Status. As you can see there is no “Interested In” field in there. Note, there is no “Religion” field in there either, nor is there a political views field, or field for the IM networks you’re on. Because of this there is no way to target an ad only to homosexuals, or heterosexuals, or catholics, or christians, or Jews, or Muslims, or conservatives.
While Facebook gives great tools to target your advertising in ways you can’t through other venues, their advertising still has holes. To compete I anticipate these things will need to be made available to advertisers, or a better filtering system will have to be in place.
What do you think Facebook can do to improve this process?
(Image courtesy Valleywag)