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If I Were The Boss At Facebook Ads

I was reading a Wickedfire thread which referenced an AllFacebook post which alerted me to something that Facebook is up to.  Apparently Facebook is testing ads targeted at status updates.  Facebook has a lot of data on their users so power to them for using it to help their ad system.  See the AllFacebook post for a screenshot of a possible implementation of this new targeting system.

Honestly, if that is how they are going to implement an ad targeting system based on status updates I don’t understand what they are trying to do.  The whole system makes no sense to me in this context.  This got me thinking…..Rather then just criticizing someone elses implementation, how would I implement a status update ad targeting system that would be effective for advertisers?

If I Were The Boss At Facebook Ads……

I’ve come up with 2 possible solutions that could essentially revolutionize online advertising. (Hey Facebook: Show me some love if you take my ideas)

My thought process: The reason why search engine marketing is so darn effective is because there is intent behind a search, and advertisers can cater their ads to that intent. The ads on search engines fulfill a need.  They are the answer to a question.


Status Update Targeted Ad Implementation I

Let’s say a Facebook user made the following status update:

“User Name I feel like crap today and i’ve felt like crap for a month. I wish I had health insurance so I could finally see a doctor.”

Then if Facebook would allow you to target on the following criteria:

Status Keyword: health insurance
Status Time: today (other options being “yesterday,this week,this month,ever”
Location: Within 15 miles of Asbury Park, NJ

You could craft an ad with text like:

Need A Doctor?
No insurance required. Our office only charges $49 for a non insured patient checkup.

This would make Facebook almost as effective as search engine marketing because you could target intent rather then just interests.

This implementation isn’t always going to be perfect.  For instance if someone wrote as a status update “Thank goodness for health insurance” the ad would make no sense in that context.  However, this does move Facebook Ads closer towards having the ability to target based on intent.


Status Update Targeted Ad Implementation II

My second idea would be wayyyyyy more effective but risk annoying Facebook users.  It goes like this:

An advertiser decides they want to run a Status Targeted Ad.  They select their demos:

Status Keyword: health insurance
Status Time: today (other options being “yesterday,this week,this month,ever”
Location: Within 15 miles of Asbury Park, NJ

The advertiser is presented with a list of status updates that match their criteria but Facebook removes any identifying information about the user.  For instance:

1) I feel like crap today and i’ve felt like crap for a month. I wish I had health insurance so I could finally see a doctor.
2) Thank goodness for health insurance
3) Does anyone know what a red rash with a purple triangle in the center if it on your ass signifies?  I lost my health insurance when I lost my job so I can’t get it checked out.

In this example #1 & #3 would be extremely relevant to a doctor that could offer a $49 office visit without the need for insurance.

My proposal here is to allow the advertiser to JOIN THE CONVERSATION and have the “ad” be a reply to that users Facebook status.


Facebook User: I feel like crap today and i’ve felt like crap for a month. I wish I had health insurance so I could finally see a doctor.
Advertiser Reply: My name is Dr. Smith and we examine uninsured patients for only $49.  Give my office a call at 555-5465 for more info.  Feel Better!

And for this type of advertising Facebook could invent a whole new pricing model.  Not per click, or per thousand impressions: PER REPLY!

This would increase Facebook’s bottom line because they could implement this alongside their current CPC & CPM ads.  They could charge a flat rate across the board per reply ($1-10 for instance) or could even build in some type of bidding system.

They would also obviously have to cap each user to receiving one “sponsored reply” per day to limit the annoyance of this ad system.

If the ads were targeted and legitimate the responses could actually HELP the facebook user into making a decision or finding the answer to a problem.

Personally I think this idea is genius.


That was my contribution to the world of online advertising.

What do you think of my ideas?  Do you have a better one?  If so please share in the comments!

Ad Hustler | Subscribe To Ad Hustler

Published inDoing BusinessSearch EnginesSocial Media


  1. Yep have been noticing that as well, they also seem to target albums and specific pictures that have that keyword in the wall or page on facebook as well…

  2. I love your 2nd idea. Although it would cause an uproar for privacy concerns it could make people use their status updates as a yahoo answer typer service as well. So users could embrace the technology by doing a status update like:

    need a sushi restaurant in XYZ city to go to…

    Obviously friends can comment but a sponsored ad could be exactly what the doctor ordered.

    If implemented correctly I think it could ad value to the user experience. I also like the Pay per reply revenue model as it would be a HIGHLY targeted ad.

    I never respond to blog posts but thought I would because I think you are on to something!

  3. Ad Hustler Ad Hustler

    @Ryan: Thanks for the response

    As for “Although it would cause an uproar for privacy concerns” ~ Your probably right that it would, but if implemented correctly you could strip out all identifying data and never give the advertiser access to WHO is actually making that status update. If the data is totally anonymous, then privacy concerns are kind of unfounded.

  4. The ability to target intent is the only thing that the FB ad platform is missing. As it is now advertisers are pretty much targeting potential “tire kickers” based on interest and demographics, but for the most part are not getting anywhere near targeting users in the buying cycle.

    Number 1 is cool and is probably more doable. I would expect that they would be doing something similar to what you are saying.

    Number 2 is a very interesting strategy, but I think the users would be creeped out by it. Kinda like those retargeting ads that follow you around the net, only worse.

  5. I don’t know how effective they would be. It would be good to have for spammers and affiliate marketers trying to make a quick buck but such a low cpm for the local doctor or local person that it would be hard.

  6. Ad Hustler Ad Hustler

    @John – I have no doubt that scenario #2 would be effective as hell if done right.

  7. user user

    I’m going to steal your #2 idea and impress the recruiters at FB… ;P

  8. If data is knowledge and knowledge is power, Facebook is one of the most powerful company at the moment.

    They have so much information about us, and they never delete our stuff.

    I’m just really surprised how ineffective their Facebook Ads platform sucks!

  9. Really interesting ideas. I do think that #2 would freak out a lot of Facebook users. Even if there really was no sharing of data with the advertiser, I think it would be hard to get that point across to the typical user. All they would see is a ‘comment’ from a company pitching them on a product or service related to their post. But, if you could find a way around that hurdle, it could deliver some really relevant ads if the program was developed correctly.

  10. Great ideas Brandon, we will definitely implement these as soon as possible. Thanks!

    Where should I send the check?

  11. Ad Hustler Ad Hustler

    ^^^^hahahahahahahaha made my day

  12. Excellent post Brandon. The second idea sounds a little bit more like what is wrong with twitter 😉

  13. Great idea’s dude. If Facebook actually did what you are suggesting they should do, that would be amazing.

  14. Patel Sridhar Patel Sridhar

    Well Brandon,
    Never ever Facebook is gonna do that micromarketing.
    Then it will not be Facebook, it will be faecebook.
    Sorry for the term.

  15. Yeah, the 2:nd idea is awesome, but annoying at the same time, woulden’t be surprised if FB uses that…

  16. Chris Chris

    brilliant idea. don’t think it will ever fly though. users will bitch and moan like no tomorrow if they get ads as a reply to their status..

    question: would everyone see the ad (all the friends as well) or just the person in question?

  17. Love the idea but I don’t see how FB is going to make this work for the advertiser. Just seems like too much, even though if done right, could make lots of money.

  18. thanks for this ads hustler. Well, facebook is making a lot of changes recently and I think it’s for the better. They added a search function box I think.

  19. Great post! Your insights on Facebook ads are actually pretty good.

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