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How Facebook Sold You Krill Oil 114

An anonymous reader writes with this look at how Facebook tries to make and sell "thumbstopper" ads compelling enough to get people to stop scrolling through their news feeds. With its trove of knowledge about the likes, histories and social connections of its 1.3 billion users worldwide, Facebook executives argue, it can help advertisers reach exactly the right audience and measure the impact of their ads — while also, like TV, conveying a broad brand message. Facebook, which made $1.5 billion in profit on $7.9 billion in revenue last year, sees particular value in promoting its TV-like qualities, given that advertisers spend $200 billion a year on that medium. "We want to hold ourselves accountable for delivering results," said Carolyn Everson, Facebook's vice president for global marketing solutions, in a recent interview. "Not smoke and mirrors, maybe it works, maybe it doesn't."
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How Facebook Sold You Krill Oil

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  • dear facebook (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dominux ( 731134 ) on Monday August 04, 2014 @08:30AM (#47598673) Homepage

    I have a problem with my fish oil sales, it tastes like shit, it does not outperform a placebo and costs twice as much as other competitors that also do nothing. Can you help?

    Of course Facebook can help, that is exactly what social media is for.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 04, 2014 @08:43AM (#47598747)

    Engineers gave you the internet, people, and you hand it back to a company that is worse than all off TV. WTF is wrong with you.

  • Re:Snake Oil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Monday August 04, 2014 @09:09AM (#47598905)

    Millions of people voluntarily give all kinds of relevant information about themselves to Facebook. Even without any serious data mining, and ignoring the people who deliberately create garbage data accounts, Facebook probably already have more accurate demographic data about their users than most advertising channels. For example, knowing about major life events like someone getting married or having a baby are advertising gold for some markets.

    At the scale they're working on, even trivial analysis of the underlying graph is probably quite informative as well. If 60% of your friends are interested in a certain thing, there's a fair chance you are too, even if you didn't explicitly indicate this.

  • by CaptainDork ( 3678879 ) on Monday August 04, 2014 @09:11AM (#47598915)

    Facebook and other online "commercials," are going to have to borrow from the more mature TV advertising business model and fold ads in with content. Product placement will increase, as well.

    The other day, on Jeopardy, the category was, Ford Models. The answers were, like, Explorer, Fusion, etc. Blatant advertisement.

    On Shark Tank, the sharks did a schtick where Barbara says, "Oh, let me take a picture of that using my smart phone on T-Mobile!"

    Regular program-interrupting ads are doing the job.

    Online sites have much more malleable tools to work with. There will be more targeted ads, ads embedded in the content, and content will be blocked for those using ad blockers.

    Email spam is so yesterday.

    Content-embedded ads is the way to go.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 04, 2014 @09:26AM (#47598979)

    No one has commented so far about the creepiest aspect: according to the NYT article, Facebook knew how many of the people they showed the ads actually bought the product.

    You see, stores sell your personally identifiable information regarding everything you buy to data brokers, and Facebook bought the data from the data brokers. Ergo, FB knew what percentage of people they showed these ads subsequently bought the product.

    It's enough to make me seriously reconsider using anything but cash for certain purchases. How many insurance companies buy data regarding your alcohol and tobacco purchase frequency, for example?

  • Re:I can see why (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dishevel ( 1105119 ) on Monday August 04, 2014 @11:10AM (#47599761)
    Isn't linking to a paragraph on a paywall just a horrible shitty advertisement as well?
  • Re:Snake Oil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hoggoth ( 414195 ) on Monday August 04, 2014 @12:11PM (#47600357) Journal

    I find that Facebook, Google, and every other "targeted" ad system does the same thing: they show me ads for the thing that I just bought and won't need to buy again for several years.

"Say yur prayers, yuh flea-pickin' varmint!" -- Yosemite Sam