In my mind, what Facebook has is engagement. Whether it's "social" or not, they've got people scrolling, clicking, and moving their eyeballs all over their website. I didn't really see how they've actually made huge money except through deals with companies like Zynga. But what I had forgotten is that I had been blocking ads on Facebook for the longest time using AdBlocker.
So I turned off Adblocker and started seeing ads in the usual spots along the right-hand side. The odd thing is that the ads didn't really seem all that relevant for me in the here and now. I kept seeing ads for products and services that professional photographers would use. This isn't surprising since I had a photography business for years and still run a photography site. But for the last 6-9 months, I've hardly said anything about photography.
So it didn't quite make sense. If Facebook was poised to make so much money off ads, how could they be presenting me with ads that haven't been all that relevant to me for the last year?
Then I started seeing ads for things related to internet technology and jobs. No surprise since I've been in the technology world in Silicon Valley for 12 years. Then I started seeing ad polls relate to the Lakers. Not surprising since I'm very active in a Laker Fans group on Facebook. This was getting better, especially as compared to the ads to buy Photoshop actions.
But then I kept seeing the same ads. Over and over.
What was going on?
|The quick question I got after choosing to hide an ad|
Facebook as a site was basically engaging me with a few simple questions. And I didn't really have a problem answering them. The questions didn't confront me as pop-overs or cover up other content that I actually cared about. So I answered them and moved on.
|The response after answering the above question|
Of course, along this way, Facebook is learning more and more about me and is looking to make money off me. But the simple way in which they are getting me to look, click, and engage intrigues me. Amazon does a very good job with finding relevant content to show me on their home page (based on my previous buying and product research habits). Facebook is not nearly as good at providing me spot-on content, but I can already see it getting better. Given the amount of data they have on my habits & likes and my friends' habits, I expect the ad content to get more and more relevant.
So I'm leaving AdBlocker off and plan to look at the ads I'm presented every time I login. I probably won't click on them, but it's something I'm keeping a very close eye on this evolution. It's amazing to think it's still in its early stages, but given the speed at which I've seen improvement in relevancy, I can only see that Facebook will be making a lot more money (and very soon) off of the level of engagement its users have with each other and with the site itself.
I'd love to hear your experiences with ads on social sites...leave your comments here!