Kel Kelly

Hey, thanks for swinging by my blog.

Whether it's topical news, internet happenings, social media, public relations, marketing, start-ups, mobile shiz or whatever, I promise to wade through the bullshit and give you my unbuffered perspective.

You'll note I never take on a "corporate tone" — whether I'm chatting you up at a party or speaking to the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company, my voice never changes. I say what's on my mind and I'm often the champion of the underdog.

I'm a social media junkie and smoke Google Analytics in a crack pipe to get my day going. I hope my immersed insight and offbeat view make you laugh. More importantly, I hope you take a second and share your thoughts by posting a comment. If you have any ideas on how to make my blog better, shoot an email to kel@kelandpartners.com.

Peace out.

Facebook Reality Slap

September 8, 2008 7:28 AM

I have Facebook set as my browser home page, so it’s almost always launched on my desktop. With rare exception, I’m generally on Facebook at a minimum of a dozen time a day. Like most internet users, I have been able to mentally block out the vast majority of advertising to the point where it becomes white noise and I don’t even notice it. My ability to do this is amplified by the fact that I am allergic to details and can successfully ignore this kind of minutia as easily as I breathe air.

Yesterday, in a moment of weakness, an advertisement actually stopped me in my tracks. It was an ad for surfing, something I love to do. I was thinking about how powerful it is that based on profile information and other content, Facebook can serve its ads with such relevance. They have truly raised the bar when it comes to reaching a highly-defined target audience based on granular, real-time demographic and psychographic data. For a fleeting moment I was feeling very young and contemporary because mostly young people surf…right?

Thwack! Yeah…not so much. I decided to hit the refresh button a few times to see what other targeted advertising they would serve up to this obviously hip, way cool, 45-year-old woman. Bad idea. According to Facebook, here is a list of things that I could use:

  • Rachel Ray’s Diet. How do they know I need to diet? Do they monitor my status bar and see all the stuff I eat? Remember, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they are not out to get you. It couldn’t possibly have to do with the fact that a woman’s metabolism slows down when they they turn 40, and disappears all together at 45.
  • 4 Different Oprah Diets. Ummmm….that’s like offering me Artie Lange’s favorite diet. The point is that she’s not that thin and the fact that she has had to try four different diets mean that they are not working.
  • Epila Personal Laser Hair Removal. Apparently I will never have to shave again. Amazingly enough, this product allows me to permanently remove unwanted hair at home. The problem is it cites body locations that I don’t currently shave and I didn’t even know had hair. OK…ick!
  • Exfoliating Skin Product. Will make me feel sexy and “will have you feeling like 20 again”. Notice they don’t say “look 20 again.” Wouldn’t want to over-promise because at 45 the fact of the matter is nothing short of surgery will help get rid of wrinkles.

So basically Facebook thinks I am a fat, wrinkly, hairy woman on a surfboard. Maybe they should have served me an ad for razorblades, so I can put myself out of my misery.

Have you been served any reality slapping ads from Facebook?

Posted by Kel | in Featured, Uncategorized | 27 Comments »

27 Comments on “Facebook Reality Slap”

  1. Jack Says:

    Ironically, I’ve noticed Facebook has inserted very similar ads on my pages, too (a 45 year old male with vastly different profile data points!) While the concept of targeted advertising is powerful, I believe there are shortcomings in many related arenas. Advertisers have yet to find a truly effective way to become an integrated part of the Web 2.0 experience. Though it carries the moniker “interactive,” most current advertising efforts have yet to become truly integrated components of the web 2.0 framework. More significantly, advertising sales continue to be driven by a publisher’s internal sales forces or advertising networks. Though a networks reach is often broader, neither source captures more than a small percentage of potential advertisers and campaigns, especially if the publisher is capable of delivering a highly granular profile of targeted consumers. So, I think the “reality slapping” ads we have each been served aren’t so much the function of “flawed” generalizations based upon our profile, but rather the product of a limited pipeline of available ads (after all, they’ve got to serve up something to try and generate a revenue stream). Then again, perhaps I’m just trying to rationalize against the undeniable fact I have truly attained middle age ;-)

  2. Tara Says:

    Funny enough I keep on getting Monster ads wanting to know where my career is? Rest assured – it’s with you.

  3. Kel Says:

    jack, i love your insight. i do believe facebook has an unprecedented asset — 100 million memmbers with lots of granular data on each of them. they have trumped any other online property particularly given the broad range of its membership. however, you bring up a good point. the ad pipeline is still limited due to the simple fact that the rest of the biz world has not yet had the epipahany of how they can best leverage this opp. in the meantime, i encourage the membership to maintain its sense of humor as they get served ads that may not be well aligned to needs. haha!

  4. Kel Says:

    tara, that’s good to know!

  5. Trudy Says:

    Oh, Thank God – I thought I was the only fat, hairy, wrinkly athlete on fb! I bet we could start a fb Group ;-)

  6. Kel Says:

    trudy, hahaha! i was with a male friend who is about my age. we were looking at something on his profile page. the ad they served him was for a back hair removal product. ick! double ick!

  7. Chris Says:

    If you ever get sick of all those ads, and you are using Firefox, install the GreaseMonkey plug-in and use this script to block out all ads:
    http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/13787

    Of course, this isn’t nearly as fun as comparing Facebook’s profiles!

  8. Michael Says:

    Your FaceBook ad encounter is symptomatic of the underlying challenge faced by social networking sites: How to monetize site traffic and establish a sustainable business. Ad revenue embedded within social networking sites appears to be the only revenue source available to social networking sites. Or they could sell the user information to advertisers.

    As cool as social networks are today, the question remains, how will they become sustainable? Venture Capital runways (funding) only last so long.

    It took amazon.com 10 years to figure out how to turn a profit. I suspect social networks will not be given the same time to figure out how to become revenue positive.

    What do you think surfer mom?

  9. Kel Says:

    chris, thanks for the tip. it will be a whole new world when i get my macbook pro air. of course apple needs to begin shipping the product. don’t they know i’m waiting?! haha!

  10. Kel Says:

    michael, true that! sustainable web 2.0 monetization is still an elusive nut to crack. i expect a great deal of discussion on this next week in ny at o’reilly’s web 2.0 expo.

  11. Karthick Says:

    Haha, I love your style of writing Kel!For some reason most of my ads seem to have either dating or don’t be a loser in them (sort of the old Charles Atlas memories flood back in…). I refuse to own up to that reality though :/. They have so much work to do to reach the Google targeting levels.

  12. Kel Says:

    karthick, now that’s funny. how could they not know you are a suave chick magnet that women flock too?! haha! thanks for stopping by and taking the time to post a response. look forward to hearing from you again.

  13. myke Says:

    Not sure out targeted they are. I am a 29y/o male and was presented with the same hair removal ads. Found myself saying, ‘wow these are way off base!’. Have you seen the ads from your friends? I have seen some saying “So-and-so loves Monster.com!”.

  14. Kel Says:

    myke, maybe the head of advertising at facebook is married to a really hairy guy. haha! haven’t seen the ads from friends, but now i will keep an eye out for them. i hope i don’t get any hair removal ads from friends. that’s a place i just don’t want to go…

  15. Terri Says:

    I had never noticed the ads, so I had to check it out! I am getting things like: Are you a woman over 40?; TeeBeeDee: A new social media site for those that have lived a little; Oprah’s Top Diet; and Weight Watchers. I think they are trying to say: “Hey you are over 40 and have lived a little too much so we think you need to go on a diet.”

  16. Kel Says:

    terri, clearly the ads are not appropriately targeted because you are one of the most fit women i know! they should be serving you ads for triathlons in your area. haha!

  17. Abbie Says:

    Gee, Kel, this is strange. I don’t see any of the ads you and the others do.

    The ones that appear when I log onto Facebook are for Maseratis, Bulgari jewelry, Net-Jets, Cristal, Hermes leather goods, and Ritz-Carlton luxury resort timeshares. Weird, huh?

  18. Kel Says:

    abbie, well clearly your clients are paying you too much. haha!

  19. Abbie Says:

    If only, Kel. If only!

    Yeah, I see the same crappy ads that you and the others do.

    Which reminds me: I need to whip up some Oprah-Rachel Ray-approved food for dinner. Then, I’m diving right in to my body hair removal project. I wonder if Bombay Sapphire Gin works as a topical anesthetic … hmm.

  20. Megan Says:

    Well, if we hadn’t already figured out that Facebook doesn’t always do the greatest job of giving you ads that match your profile, this would prove it. Today I got an ad from David’s Bridal telling me to “click here to plan my dream wedding and I could win it” even though my relationship status is, and has been since I opened the account, set as married. Guess they think I might want to start planning my next wedding.

  21. Kel Says:

    megan, that is so funny! as you know, planning weddings are quite the undertaking. better to get a jump on it now just in case your marriage doesn’t work out. haha!

  22. Alex Says:

    It is amazing to see how many different ads I get these days. Some are so stupid (like never shave again) that I click them just to cost the ad spammer money. On the flip side I got a chance to advertise to potential employers and had some great results. Check it out at http://tinyurl.com/69xhcz. Love the blog and tweets!

  23. Kel Says:

    alex, clicking to make the spammer pay is brilliant! i like your style. hey, the link you posted doesn’t work. would love to see it. try to post it again. thanks!

  24. Alex Says:

    Thanks, I figure if you waste my space then you can afford to waste money. I swear though that I may change my single status just to avoid those dating ads.
    Here is the job experiment I did for One Day, One Job.
    http://www.onedayonejob.com/blog/use-facebook-ads-to-make-employers-hunt-you-down/

  25. Kel Kelly Blog - Pimpin’ To Teens Says:

    [...] and psychographic data it pulls from your profile. Many of you will recall my previous post called Facebook Reality Slap where it became clear through the ads it served me that Facebook thought I was a fat, wrinkly, [...]

  26. Lisa Says:
  27. Kel Says:

    lisa, i hadn’t seen the appearance. thanks for sharing!

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