You may or may not know about Facebook’s recent email regarding calling out user attributes in ads on the Facebook Ad system. Last week they sent out this email:
Ad quality and user feedback are extremely important to Facebook. We’ve received significant negative feedback about ads that call out users’ personally identifiable information, especially when the information is not directly relevant to the ad’s offer. We take this feedback very seriously and are taking an active role in removing ads that are detrimental to the user experience. Some of your ads have been disabled for this reason.
Please delete any ads using this tactic that may still be running and do not submit new ads that call our user attributes unnecessarily and that are not directly relevant to the offer (including, but not limited to, age, gender, location or interest). This practice is prohibited by Facebook’s Ad Guidelines (http://www.facebook.com/ad_guidelines.php). Advertisers who continually engage in advertising practices that generate strong negative feedback will find that their ads are less likely to be shown to users and may have their ads disabled or face account penalties up to and including the permanent loss of advertising privileges.
We appreciate your understanding,
The Facebook Ads Team
I already knew the email was coming because I saw a DM Confidential writeup about the new policy. Here are my thoughts:
Although I can’t usually side with Facebook about ANYTHING, I think the move makes sense. Calling out user attributes to try to make an untargeted ad seem very targeted can work for a while. The problem is that users just become blind to it anyway. You can only click an ad so many times because you think its some super special offer before you realize its nothing more than a generic ad using your profile information to target you.
Facebook Ads are incredibly powerful. There are probably no other ad systems available with the amount of users and demographic information that Facebook has. For Facebook to keep trust with it’s users they can’t let the users think their information is being sold off to the highest bidder. Relevant ads based on interest are one thing, but blatantly using the Facebook users profile information to serve irrelevant ads that seem relevant are is just going to irk the user over time.
I know a lot of people are pissed about the new rule. I think you should turn your frown upside down. Think of it as a good thing. Figure out how to use the system to target more relevantly. You’ll end up with cheaper traffic and better conversions anyway.