Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash

Facebook Ad Targetting is Broken

For a few years now, I’ve observed a really curious thing happen when I take on a new website. My Facebook ads start to echo the project I’m working on with uninteresting content invading my experience. This is presumably due to marketing engines tracking my work visits to things like tourism, eCommerce and whatever other category of site my client of the day seems to be in.

It seems I must now pay a toll for living my entrepreneur dream at Open Studios as the most boring and poorly conceived ads I’ve ever seen in my life invade my personal Facebook experience. Maybe it’s on me for spending any time on this platform at all, but I would honestly welcome an ad I’m actually interested in such as Stargate merchandise or the recent release of Cyberpunk 2077. I’m a fan of many things, I’ll happily throw money at something I like.

Here’s someone called Tyson Zahner promoting his free book that I would never in a million years be interested in. Why am I getting this ad? Presumably because I’ve done a few searches for lead generation for work purposes, but it doesn’t mean in any way interested in hearing about this in my down time.

Due to my work related browsing habits, I’m now subjected to the ads of my competitors and peers in the entrepreneur space. Facebook doesn’t give any of us digital marketers much of a choice either, making it against their policy to have multiple accounts and providing no corporate login option means we’re all likely to be cross contaminating two completely different personas — our personal and private lives.

As I get older, I tend to spend less and less time reading random websites in my personal time unless it’s for work. This means all that marketing data being collected on me doesn’t reflect my actual personal interests, and yet it is this data set that Facebook blindly scrapes and regurgitates back at me in my personal time.

In the past few years, I’ve spent more than I can afford on Facebook ads hoping to lure some permanent fans and traffic to my websites. There are certainly peaks related to my ad spend and I won’t deny Facebook seems to have the best ROI out of the networks but this experience as a Facebook user gives me pause to spend any more. I’m fortunate that most of that ads are in two incredibly lucrative categories — video games and webcomics. My entrepreneur colleagues may not be so lucky, especially if their ads keep appearing in my feed as I will laugh and even critique their ad out of boredom.



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