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OK, I Was Wrong About Facebook….Kind Of

About 2 months ago I wrote an article named 9,475 People LIKE AIDS.  The article was a response to Facebook changing the “Become a Fan” button to a “Like” button.  In the article I said:

These social networks need to start hiring some staff with brains.  I call for the firing of whoever is involved with this whole “Like” fiasco at Facebook.  I hope you “like” job hunting.

I do still believe that the “Like” button confuses the heck out of Facebook users.  By “Liking” something I don’t think that many users realize that they are subscribing to what they “Like.”  However, I was being shortsighted.

Here’s the TREMENDOUS upside that I overlooked: The benefit to the Facebook advertisers.

By forcing a standard, and removing manually inputted interests on profiles, Facebook created a HUGE opportunity for advertisers.  It went down like this (all under my nose and I was oblivious to the benefits):

  • Facebook removed the “Become a Fan” button and replaced it with “Like”
  • Facebook popped up a message that all profile info must be associated with a Facebook Page – The following are now associated with pages: Hometown, Interests, Favorites etc.
  • The Facebook open social graph was released which allowed webmasters to add a “Like” button to their websites.

By standardizing the “Like” button and associating all user information with a page (whether on Facebook or off Facebook) they began the creation of a MONSTER ad system that could rival any other.  Everything that is liked by many, can now be targeted through the Facebook Ads System.  In the past, you couldn’t target fans of a page.  Now you can.  As Facebook continues to collect data about what people like across the web, their targeting capabilities are going to shoot up exponentially.

What can Facebook do with this newly obtained, free flowing data you ask?

  • Add extra targeting for existing Facebook advertisers
  • Create a Quantcast type rival since they are able to collect the demographic information about any site that participates in the open social graph – even if they don’t create the service for the public, they can use the data privately
  • Create an adsense type rival to serve ads on 3rd party sites, making them a force to reckoned with for self serve ads online

I think this is going to be interesting to watch.

What do YOU think Facebook’s plans are?  Sound off in the comments…

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Published inSocial Media


  1. Personally, I love the potential targeting options that will (should) be available.

    However, I think they need to do something about their ad approval team, but I think that’s a universal attitude between advertisers.

    I understand disapproving ads that do not follow terms, but when their terms change from ‘intern’ to ‘intern’, it’s extremely frustrating.

    I submitted over 1000 ads (all clean and following terms) and they were ALL disapproved. I submitted another batch, and they were ALL approved.

    I don’t think I’m alone in this frustration either!

  2. Ad Hustler Ad Hustler

    Profit Addiction claims first comment AGAIN! How the hell do you do it? 🙂

    On a serious note, i’ve actually been having a lot less trouble getting ads approved lately. Some batches get approved super quick in fact.

  3. And here is what the OCD person reading this blog thinks….

    So confusing. Should I LIKE this post or not? The sexy blue addictive button is right there after the post… What to do, what to do.

  4. Thanks for sharing this. looking forward to this innovation by facebook…

  5. @Browie – I say give it a “Like” 😉

  6. Ha ha…I was just going to say, “Nice LIKE button at the end!” To click or not to click?

    I’m starting to see the button everywhere, so let that data collect and make it more interesting later while selecting your targets in the ad system. Lastly, I like your point on possible 3rd party ad serving from the network that is formed. =)

  7. I still dont see why they dont have a search engine based on data from people.
    They must have enough users and data to do something awesome in the search space but with users endorsing or recomending products.
    Or maybe thats where they are going

  8. From a FB user standpoint, I couldn’t understand why the “Guess who’s been searching for YOU lately?” ad with the woman who forgot where she put her clothes – you know that ad? What? She lookin’ for you, too? – has been replaced with SEO and WP ads.

    I actually “LIKE” that aspect, since I couldn’t care less about cheating on my wife with some 2-bit (insert derogatory).

    In a sense, a real win/win. I get my privacy invaded AND get to shop where I want to.

    That was supposed to end on a positive note. Pretend it did.

  9. Earl Grey…holy moly, man, your site rocks! I read about Autopl!gg months ago, I thought it was done with (it was an old post off the SEOBook toolbar’s RSS feed…anyway).

    Nice work on those tools, EG.

  10. Joel Joel

    On a side note of people complaining about “intern” after “intern” it actually stands for internal not an actual “intern”

  11. their ad approval system is horrendous! lol

  12. I think this is all done to increase targeted advertising which in turn will gain more advertisers for facebook.

  13. @Earl Grey – Your right. It would be pretty simple for them to do so. Maybe they are afraid that’s a step too far into the privacy issue? Not really sure. In any event, there is so much they could be doing that they aren’t….YET!

  14. conv3rsion conv3rsion

    Not trying to exaggerate here but I really think what facebook is doing is going to significantly change the nature of the web. Personalization of websites and content (without direct user intervention) has never happened because it wasnt possible without people sharing the amount of data they are now, and the open graph will change that. The shift could be fundamental enough to be what we will come to call web 3.0

  15. Cool you can come out and admit when you are wrong but still helping others – you sound like an alright guy – you get an A+ in my book man

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