Blaugust Day 1: Maybe Facebook doesn’t need your money…

It’s started….

(I’d insert a maniacal laughter -type .gif here, but the WordPress IPhone app doesn’t deal well with that kind of stuff.

It’s the first day of Blaugust, and usually this is where I would lay out expectations and plans for the month of posts, but I got ahead of myself and did that yesterday in the end. 

So let’s talk about Facebook.

There’s been a lot of in the news recently about Facebook ‘dark ads’ – political messages targeted at specific groups based on psychological and social profiling. This Guardian article gives the best summary and explanation, so I won’t try to do it myself, I recommend you read it and this similar Forbes article.
You should also have a look directly at the Facebook for Politics page if you want to have an idea of the amount of effort Facebook is putting in to this. 

This Fortune article is a little older  but gives you an idea of the sheer amount of money being poured into political ads. There are ethical problems here and I certainly don’t have an answer, but it’s important to at least be aware of them.

But there’s also another possible problem, which affects almost anyone else trying to use Facebook as an advertising platform. 

Recently, I saw a tweet suggesting that Facebook could sustain itself solely on the money spent by political ads. I haven’t been able to work out the financial details to prove this (but I hope someone is doing that) but as a digital marketer it concerns me, because it suggests that really Facebook has no interest in my money. A campaign of a few hundred pounds is less than pocket change, so it isn’t in Facebook’s interests, despite it’s claims of ‘niche targeting’ to make the platform work well for me. Not that good Facebook ads don’t produce great results- but there may be no incentive for Facebook to improve it for small – to – medium campaigns and as a result the entire process (which a lot of marketers see as the answer to their problems – lots of data, in people’s faces, completely quantifiable) should be approached with some level of caution.

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