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How Facebook Sold You Krill Oil

samzenpus posted about a month and a half ago | from the buy-this dept.

Facebook 114

An anonymous reader writes with this look at how Facebook tries to make and sell "thumbstopper" ads compelling enough to get people to stop scrolling through their news feeds. With its trove of knowledge about the likes, histories and social connections of its 1.3 billion users worldwide, Facebook executives argue, it can help advertisers reach exactly the right audience and measure the impact of their ads — while also, like TV, conveying a broad brand message. Facebook, which made $1.5 billion in profit on $7.9 billion in revenue last year, sees particular value in promoting its TV-like qualities, given that advertisers spend $200 billion a year on that medium. "We want to hold ourselves accountable for delivering results," said Carolyn Everson, Facebook's vice president for global marketing solutions, in a recent interview. "Not smoke and mirrors, maybe it works, maybe it doesn't."

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Snake Oil (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47598605)

Anyone claims they know their readers / visitors to a 'T' and tries to tell you that they can help your ad home in to a chosen group of visitors / readers is selling snake oil

Re:Snake Oil (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47598737)

Rape builds character.

Re:Snake Oil (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about a month and a half ago | (#47598905)

Millions of people voluntarily give all kinds of relevant information about themselves to Facebook. Even without any serious data mining, and ignoring the people who deliberately create garbage data accounts, Facebook probably already have more accurate demographic data about their users than most advertising channels. For example, knowing about major life events like someone getting married or having a baby are advertising gold for some markets.

At the scale they're working on, even trivial analysis of the underlying graph is probably quite informative as well. If 60% of your friends are interested in a certain thing, there's a fair chance you are too, even if you didn't explicitly indicate this.

Re:Snake Oil (4, Informative)

cnaumann (466328) | about a month and a half ago | (#47598939)

If you are using a credit card in a store like Target, they not only know your likes and dislikes, they know exactly what you buy. Sometimes they know more about you than your family.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ka... [forbes.com]

Re:Snake Oil (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47599329)

Lets be clear there. If you use a STORE credit card, then they have access to both the card owner info as well the itemized transaction records. If you use any other credit card (just a generic visa/mastercard/amex/discover from chase, citi, your local credit union, or whatever bank), then as far as I've ever hear, the bank does not get any access to your itemized transaction details, so they merely know the total amount spent. Likewise, the store has access to your itemized transaction details, but they only get access to your name and card number. They don't get your address/phone/email (unless you voluntarily give it to them). The most they could do is know the details of other transactions you paid for with the same card and then print out a corresponding coupon at the cash register on one of those catalina printers.

Re:Snake Oil (2)

Old97 (1341297) | about a month and a half ago | (#47599455)

Yes, but then there are the data brokers who put that all together for their customers. Selling and exchanging data is a big business. A company can buy the raw data in some cases or share their data where it goes into a pool and the broker provides (sells) you details about customers, prospects, leads, partners, etc.

Re:Snake Oil (2)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about a month and a half ago | (#47600561)

What? They are the retailer. Of coarse they have access to your itemized transaction records purchased through them, its right there in the POS at checkout.

They know your full name and the zipcode you shopped at along with the purchase history with that card. That's probably enough to identify you and cross reference the address book to figure out the rest of your address. They can then target your snail mail, if they want. Or sell the info to their suppliers, so they can do the same.

Re:Snake Oil (4, Interesting)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | about a month and a half ago | (#47599427)

Here's the problem: Facebook will never not show you an ad. At the end of the day, if you don't fit a better model, they revert to lowest common denominator advertising. "Over drinking age? Male? Cue up the alcohol ad with women in it!"

And that's the thing, Facebook's advertising as a result is like all the other advertising in the world: you know where it is, you know it mostly never applies to you, so you tune it out. If they make it more prominent, you turn on ad block. Which says worlds about their actual confidence in their data: they don't have any. They don't know what you will do next. Which is why they always show you something - because they can't afford not to. They won't leave ads turned off, then strategically show them right when you show a high probability of being interested in X and could be swayed to a brand. They have no idea when that is, or what it will be.

Re:Snake Oil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47599857)

Hey it's better than Evony "Come Play My Lord" they don't even sell beer. :(

Re:Snake Oil (2)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about a month and a half ago | (#47599943)

Here's the problem: Facebook will never not show you an ad.

I'm not sure whether that's strictly true, but I'm also not sure why it's relevant. Even if we assume Facebook intends to show a fixed X amount of ads to each user per visit/unit of time/number of other entries in their feed, Facebook ads run on an auction system. The targeting available to advertisers is quite objective about who is and isn't included in the potential audience, and any given ad is only going to be shown to qualified users. But those qualifications can be as simple as the country you're in or being a friend of someone with a certain interest, so even if someone hasn't given much information themselves, there are always things that Facebook have a very high probability of determining correctly.

Re:Snake Oil (5, Insightful)

hoggoth (414195) | about a month and a half ago | (#47600357)

I find that Facebook, Google, and every other "targeted" ad system does the same thing: they show me ads for the thing that I just bought and won't need to buy again for several years.

Re:Snake Oil (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a month and a half ago | (#47602317)

Just like how all the junk mail to refinance my home began as soon as I finished the first financing.

Re:Snake Oil (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about a month and a half ago | (#47603151)

That's almost certainly what the industry now seems to call retargeting: you visit a vendor's site and either a bug belonging to the ad network or some sort of code added by the vendor themselves notifies the network that you were there, and possibly which page(s) or item(s) you appeared to be interested in.

The vendor can then use whether you'd been there before as a criteria for targeting their ads, and the network can prioritise showing you those ads in whatever allowance they have because in general they are much more likely to convert (not to mention being less annoying for the user, since if it's done properly then it's more likely that the ads will be of some relevance/interest rather than random spam).

This doesn't work very well at all if the vendor doesn't also indicate the completion of a successful sale to the network, though, as it leaves no way to remove you from the set of people likely to be interested in something once you already did make a typically one-time purchase. That's when you get that annoying "I already bought this!!!!11!!1eleven!" feeling.

Re:Snake Oil (3, Informative)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | about a month and a half ago | (#47601949)

Interestingly, I've noticed that leaving abandoned shopping carts triggers ads with the same products, but discounted. I've used this more than once to get a 10-20% discount

Re:Snake Oil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47602557)

You've touched on the hidden, but most important part of the advertising business.

Advertisers do have the job of conning the public in to making products look attractive, but really that's their secondary job. It's the business that pay for advertisement that are the real marks. Those are the people they have to sucker the most.

Re:Snake Oil (2)

Kingofearth (845396) | about a month and a half ago | (#47602717)

Facebook doesn't promise that your ads will only be shown to people who care about them, they offer the ability to target ads based on fine-grained characteristics. I often see ads for bands and DJs that I like when they're coming to my area. No one's guaranteeing I'll buy tickets, but if I "like" Bassnectar and "music festivals", and Bassnectar is playing a music festival in the midwest, (aside from the fact that I likely already know about it) targeting ads to people like me is about as effective as you can get for advertising.

Re:Snake Oil (1)

tipo159 (1151047) | about a month and a half ago | (#47599699)

A problem is, for all of the data that they have available, at least among the group of people that I have discussed this with, Facebook is not doing a very good job at analyzing that data. For example, they grouped a friend into the "Politics (US Conservative) audience" despite the fact that he scored 90+% Green and Democratic Party (and under 15% Republican) on the "I Side With ..." FB application.

Re:Snake Oil (1)

dantotheman (2887483) | about a month and a half ago | (#47601579)

A problem is, for all of the data that they have available, at least among the group of people that I have discussed this with, Facebook is not doing a very good job at analyzing that data. For example, they grouped a friend into the "Politics (US Conservative) audience" despite the fact that he scored 90+% Green and Democratic Party (and under 15% Republican) on the "I Side With ..." FB application.

And where did you go abouts verifying what group Facebook put your friend in? Maybe they just grouped him into the "asshats that flood facebook with political rants" category. In that case, they probably analyzed the data perfectly.

Re:Snake Oil (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | about a month and a half ago | (#47600759)

Based on the ads that I see, either I've done a really good job of not giving Facebook much information about myself, or Facebook's data mining is really, really bad. Every once in a while I'll see an ad for someplace like Newegg, but most of the ads I see aren't even remotely interesting to me.

Re:Snake Oil (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47601081)

Don't you remember the recent Target hack that got everyone's credit card numbers?

They keep your credit card information to track you.

Re:Snake Oil (1)

Kingofearth (845396) | about a month and a half ago | (#47602655)

I help run the NORML chapter in Wisconsin. I can target ads for our page to people who "Live in Wisconsin" and "Like 'marjuana', 'legalization', 'weed', etc". Users tell Facebook their demographic info and their interests, Facebook lets advertisers target ads based on that information. What part of that system is deceitful?

Re:Snake Oil (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | about a month and a half ago | (#47602811)

Not at all. I actually click on Facebook ads. I can't think of any other ads I've ever clicked on. Whatever juju they got going works for me apparently. And I say that as a Google AdWords buyer. Some things work great as Facebook ads but not what I sell. Sometimes knowing your visitors to a T doesn't help you. I could definitely use Facebook's demographic information to find precisely the sort of decision maker who would buy my product but when you're on facebook you aren't looking to make a business purchase you're looking for personal connection and are thinking about yourself.

I can see why (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47598645)

I can see why their pill advertiser wanted to advertise as
Schiff are convicted (US) scammers
http://www.law360.com/articles... [law360.com]

proving once again that Facebook (and others) adverts tell me who to avoid not who to trust with my purchases

Re:I can see why (1)

zoomshorts (137587) | about a month and a half ago | (#47598677)

"proving once again that Facebook (and others) adverts tell me who to avoid not who to trust with my purchases", PRECISELY. I have never clicked on ANY advertisement for this exact reason. There are people who do click, and I feel sorry for them.

Re:I can see why (2)

fisted (2295862) | about a month and a half ago | (#47599615)

Me neither, except the other day where i accidentally clicked one. I nearly killed myself out of shame.

Re:I can see why (4, Insightful)

Dishevel (1105119) | about a month and a half ago | (#47599761)

Isn't linking to a paragraph on a paywall just a horrible shitty advertisement as well?

News' length (2)

Thanshin (1188877) | about a month and a half ago | (#47598655)

Now I'm sad about the length of news I really couldn't care less being about four times longer than news I'd like to know more about.

And they even include corrections (as fundamental as changing Caroline to Carolyn).

In science news, to get more than four paragraphs in the NYT one has to reach Mars riding a comet harnessed with carbon nanotubes. And replacing "light years" with "ping-pong balls" wouldn't be deemed deserving of errata.

Re:News' length (2)

MightyYar (622222) | about a month and a half ago | (#47598981)

I'm with you. I just read the minutes of a meeting full of advertisers selling a dubious product.

Re:News' length (1)

mozumder (178398) | about a month and a half ago | (#47600001)

Yet, the science around sales and marketing is far more useful than any physical science.

Sales and marketing is a basic function of all life. Animals broadcast themselves to find mates. You sell yourself when making social connections, as you are doing right now when you comment on these boards.

The knowledge within the article is going to be more rewarding to you than what you'll find in any physics journal.

It is only the most douchey, self-hating libertarian that feels they are above the role of sales and marketing that is fundamental to life. Those guys are complete losers, and completely happy about being losers. You'll find it a lot within outcast subcultures, such as nerds.

Compare this to more socially dominant alpha groups, such as fashionistas, where they actually closely follow news reports on which supermodel received which advertising campaign [fashionista.com] .

They do that because they understand that advertising and marketing represents a basic purpose of life.

Meanwhile, nerdy libertarians absolutely hate advertising themselves, because they think they're deserve social status without sales and marketing to go along with it.

The real world ramifications of the nerds hatred of sales and marketing including losing funding for the sciences, such as when the Superconducting Supercollider was canceled back in the 90's because scientists just couldn't kiss politician ass. They just simply couldn't do it.

If you nerds had any social IQ whatsoever, (instead of just sitting around being awesome by yourselves, because you're obviously so awesome!), you would be absolutely following articles like these.

Re: News' length (2)

IMightB (533307) | about a month and a half ago | (#47600115)

I clicked on that super models fashion link you posted and clicked again through the ads and the only thing that popped into my head was they were trying to sell was self starvation. Half the pictures looked like they had pulled bodies from concentration camps and put hideously ugly clothes on them.

dear facebook (4, Insightful)

dominux (731134) | about a month and a half ago | (#47598673)

I have a problem with my fish oil sales, it tastes like shit, it does not outperform a placebo and costs twice as much as other competitors that also do nothing. Can you help?

Of course Facebook can help, that is exactly what social media is for.

Re:dear facebook (2)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about a month and a half ago | (#47599321)

Where can we get these "placebos"??????

Re:dear facebook (1)

fightermagethief (3645291) | about a month and a half ago | (#47599947)

I hear they also keep tigers away. You don't see any tigers around here, do you?

Re:dear facebook (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47601183)

Interesting... have to get me some of that placebo stuff...

On a related note, overheard a work conversation a week or two ago...

Guy 1: I got this magnetic wristband and it's really cool, it does all kinds of good stuff for me.
Guy 2: I've never really believed in those.
Guy 1: no really, they did scientific research and it shows it helps. I can't remember the name of the effect it has, but it works.
Guy 2: I'm well aware of the placebo effect.
Guy 1: yea, so you know how great it is.

Re:dear facebook (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about a month and a half ago | (#47601427)

Wish I could have a magnetic bracelet. But then people would think of me as someone who believes it has magical powers.

I just have a faint suspicion that I might end up in a situation where I need to macgyver a solution that may require a magnet of some kind to disable a bomb.

Re:dear facebook (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47601415)

Taking placebo raised my blood sugar.

People still use Facebook? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47598679)

LOL

"Tell us what your heart beats for!" (3, Funny)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a month and a half ago | (#47598695)

FB would love advertisers to believe their questionably ethical compilation of your particulars can be used against you.

Advertisers want a piece of the place where, FTA, one in 5-6 online minutes is spent.

I have left instructions for my family per what to do in the event of medical brain death, or evidence of a Facebook account... but I repeat myself.

Facebook didn't sell me anything (4, Informative)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a month and a half ago | (#47598705)

When Facebook says they have 1.3 billion users worldwide, do they count inactive accounts such as mine, which I had to create to make sure nobody else could create a fake account about me and fill it with slander?

Re:Facebook didn't sell me anything (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47598781)

I had to create to make sure nobody else could create a fake account about me and fill it with slander

Rerouting auxiliary power to the tinfoil hat.

Re:Facebook didn't sell me anything (1)

Merls the Sneaky (1031058) | about a month and a half ago | (#47598849)

Weird Al has you covered.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

Re:Facebook didn't sell me anything (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a month and a half ago | (#47598921)

I absolutely love that song.

Re:Facebook didn't sell me anything (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a month and a half ago | (#47599091)

It's too short. :(

Re:Facebook didn't sell me anything (4, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a month and a half ago | (#47598951)

I had to create to make sure nobody else could create a fake account about me and fill it with slander

Rerouting auxiliary power to the tinfoil hat.

I know a couple of people this has happened to. It's usually a teenage prank. Unfortunately the OPs idea doesn't work. Everyone I know that this happened to already had accounts and the perpetrators just spelled the name slightly different.

I just flat out deleted my account years ago. And trust me, that is no easy feat. You have to put in a request to remove the account, then they put a 2 week delay on the request. If you open the facebook site at all it restarts the counter. Given that facebook is nested on just about every site this was difficult. It happened so often I finally blacklisted every domain they own in IPTables on my firewall, then routed my phone through a VPN to the same firewall. At work I had to dump my browsers history, temp files, etc... so I wouldn't accidentally log in. What they considered a login at the time was crazy. Things might be easier (or harder) now, I wouldn't know. But I do know a lot of my friends and relatives are deleting their accounts now. They saw I did it, and didn't vanish into obscurity, so why not them to? There does seem to be a frequent problem of "What do you mean you didn't know there was a cookout?!?!" or "You didn't see the wedding photos?!?" but, to be honest, I haven't missed anything I'd have cared to see/attend anyway. If you really care that I show up, you got my number and you know I don't use facebook. If my attendance isn't even worth a phone call, I'd rather not attend.

Re:Facebook didn't sell me anything (1)

gsslay (807818) | about a month and a half ago | (#47599325)

Anyone can create a Facebook account with any name. They do not have to have unique names, or be unique in any other way. So there is no need to spell a name slightly differently to set up a fake account. Nor does setting up an account with your name stop anyone else creating another account with your name.

Re:Facebook didn't sell me anything (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | about a month and a half ago | (#47600109)

Last time I googled myself, I saw several FB accounts on the first page. They all were spelled just like my real name, but none of them were me (I have an account, but it wasn't on the first or second page on Google)

Re:Facebook didn't sell me anything (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a month and a half ago | (#47602673)

And so you cannot stop anyone from creating an account with your name, set the town to yours, the phone number, etc. At which point, someone doing a casual search might think the fake account is yours and your job application goes directly in the trash.

Re:Facebook didn't sell me anything (1)

penguinoid (724646) | about a month and a half ago | (#47602391)

I had to create to make sure nobody else could create a fake account about me and fill it with slander

Rerouting auxiliary power to the tinfoil hat.

My college friends threatened to make an account for me if I wouldn't. The implication was that it would be more "interesting" than the one I would make for myself.

Re:Facebook didn't sell me anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47603119)

Wouldn't that be a form of identity fraud? I'd love to see what the legal system says about that, especially someplace like Europe.

Re:Facebook didn't sell me anything (2)

CaptainDork (3678879) | about a month and a half ago | (#47598845)

It counts the 17 (seriously) that I have so I can do my stuff, and it does include the two (2) that cannot be used because they are banned for life. (I was testing the limits)

And, I know it counts the one I actually do use under an alias.

*I* am not on Facebook.

I know from first-hand knowledge that Facebook game players have have at LEAST two (2) accounts apiece.

Re:Facebook didn't sell me anything (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47599191)

People can have the same name on Facebook. If you created one someone could literally take the pictures and any piece of info and create an identical profile that they control.

Also succeeded in killing faith in humanity (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47598747)

Engineers gave you the internet, people, and you hand it back to a company that is worse than all off TV. WTF is wrong with you.

Re:Also succeeded in killing faith in humanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47603131)

Engineers gave you the internet, people, and you hand it back to a company that is worse than all off TV. WTF is wrong with you.

Indeed, We get rid of the AOL and Compuserve walled gardens of the late 1990s for a few years only to hand it back to the Facebook walled garden, what is wrong with society?

For the first time I feel good. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47598833)

For the first time in my life I feel good about being a misfit.

I do not have a facebook account nor a LinkedIN account for that matter - don't get me started on them!

Anyway, reading that article it reminded me of something Henry Ford said (Bio on Netflix) with regards to GM/Sloan's success:

To paraphrase:

People were shrewd consumers looking for value. Now, they want to be sold to.

When an advertising company like facebook or Google can make billions and fantastic margins, while companies who make things or provide services that actually add value to people's lives just survive, I just wonder where people's heads are. Everyone works so hard, but throws money on shit. And opportunities are drying up for work because of off-shoring, automation, and our demographic changes in our society.

It's like the future of this country is going to be Medical (especially elder) or sales. That seems to be the only opportunities left.

If you want to get rich quick - like Mark Zuckerberg - figure out how to see to people. Selling anything.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm taking my library card and getting out of here. If I believed in God, I'd become Amish for Christ's sake! It's the only way to get off of this merry go round!

For the first time I feel good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47601119)

Trillions bailed out because some people sold bad mortgages, and they wanted it back for free.

Re:For the first time I feel good. (1)

Kingofearth (845396) | about a month and a half ago | (#47602773)

When an advertising company like facebook or Google can make billions and fantastic margins, while companies who make things or provide services that actually add value to people's lives just survive

Yeah! What valuable service has Google ever provided!?

Two words (4, Informative)

TVmisGuided (151197) | about a month and a half ago | (#47598839)

AdBlock Plus.

Re:Two words (1)

GrubInCan (624096) | about a month and a half ago | (#47598907)

What i would like, is the ability to right click an ad and 'open in /null'. Basically cost the advertiser a click, without me having to close the opened tab.
The more clicks they have to pay for, the less crap we might see.

Yes, indeed (2)

davebarnes (158106) | about a month and a half ago | (#47599351)

A great idea.
I do like AdBlockPlus though. I did not even know that Facebook had ads.

Re:Yes, indeed (1)

dcmcilrath (2859893) | about a month and a half ago | (#47601149)

Even better? Run two ad-blockers. This will give you almost no white-list overlap AND you can fool some sites that whine about ad-blockers by turning one of them off, and leaving the other on.

Re:Two words (1)

amaurea (2900163) | about a month and a half ago | (#47600319)

I suggested this to the adblock plus author (or was it the adblock author from before adblock plus?). Basically: every URL that is blocked is recorded during page load, and then later, when the browser isn't doing anything, silently downloaded and discarded in the background. Sadly, the author was vehemently against that - likening it to fraud. Now, if the owner of the webpage did this himself to generate fake views, that might be fraud, but I don't see why this would be fraud or even immoral when it's page visitors who do this on their own. It's basically equivalent to not using an adblocker, but ignoring the ads instead (though humans aren't actually capable of that).

Speaking of the adblock plus author, hasn't he done some rather questionable deals where he takes money from advertisers to put their ads on a whitelist in the adblocker? After I read about that, I switched to the fork Adblock Edge, which is under hopefully less corrupt management. Perhaps I should make the suggestion to whoever maintains that fork?

Re:Two words (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47600983)

It is fraud to the user expecting his ad _block_ software to block ads and not connect to the hosts to leave a trail (and ad blocking is not about costing the advertisers or inflating their stats)

Rather juvenile to wish damage to the people you ignore. then you go on the make accusations without even a link to back it up...

Re:Two words (1)

alvarogmj (1679584) | about a month and a half ago | (#47602119)

Well, for one thing, if you download ALL the ads you might have seen, you are leaving behind a profile that might be harder to make sense of, from an advertiser's perspective. Open all ads in a private window isolated from cookies or data from the others, and maybe it is not such a bad idea.

And on the other hand, if enough people use adblock, then one could argue that those who don't use it are easier to target... of course one can't be responsible for what other people do (or don't do, like running an ad blocker).

Re:Two words (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a month and a half ago | (#47602357)

How about an adblock like program that still used the ads, but downloaded them very very slowly (so as to not slow down your web viewing) but then don't show the ads until the finish loading, or redirected the ads to a different window that the user may or may not decide to view. So the excuse against fraud is that you didn't want to wait for ads to finish downloading, or you didn't want to go look at the extra ad window.

Important to remember (2)

sasparillascott (1267058) | about a month and a half ago | (#47598853)

Advertisers are Facebooks customers, users are the product - and the company (led by its senior executive leadership) has a history of making ethically unsound decisions with "their" product (i.e. users) and there is no reason to expect those poor decisions (with regards to its users) to stop.

I've heard one person remark that Facebook stripmines their users personal details & that seems to be an accurate analogy for how the company operates. JMHO...

Re:Important to remember (0)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a month and a half ago | (#47598977)

Advertisers are Facebooks customers, users are the product - and the company (led by its senior executive leadership) has a history of making ethically unsound decisions with "their" product (i.e. users) and there is no reason to expect those poor decisions (with regards to its users) to stop.

I've heard one person remark that Facebook stripmines their users personal details & that seems to be an accurate analogy for how the company operates. JMHO...

I've heard this a lot... it's not accurate. You're both customers.

Dress sweat pants (4, Funny)

Nimey (114278) | about a month and a half ago | (#47598861)

Dress sweat pants are a thing, which I know only because of Facebook.

Re:Dress sweat pants (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47600027)

I'm fairly sure that even with their forensic probing of my habits, they are not getting me interested in their ads.

In other words, have they tried a study where clicking on a "Stop Annoying Ads" button would not trigger 9900% more clicks than any of their ads? The signal to noise ratio has to be fairly high as I've only ever accidentally clicked one.

Re:Dress sweat pants (1)

AuralityKev (1356747) | about a month and a half ago | (#47600413)

Now I know it because of you. They look glorious. Maybe not $100 each glorious, but goddammit I think I might be finding out soon.

Banner ads are ineffective ... (3, Insightful)

CaptainDork (3678879) | about a month and a half ago | (#47598915)

Facebook and other online "commercials," are going to have to borrow from the more mature TV advertising business model and fold ads in with content. Product placement will increase, as well.

The other day, on Jeopardy, the category was, Ford Models. The answers were, like, Explorer, Fusion, etc. Blatant advertisement.

On Shark Tank, the sharks did a schtick where Barbara says, "Oh, let me take a picture of that using my smart phone on T-Mobile!"

Regular program-interrupting ads are doing the job.

Online sites have much more malleable tools to work with. There will be more targeted ads, ads embedded in the content, and content will be blocked for those using ad blockers.

Email spam is so yesterday.

Content-embedded ads is the way to go.

Re:Banner ads are ineffective ... (2)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about a month and a half ago | (#47599397)

In content ads have always been a thing, for example the number of starbucks cups in Fight Club is a well known joke (hell there is some site called starbucksfightclud that exist only to document these cups). And The Philadelphia Experiment had like a 2 minute advertisement for the brand new futuristic coke in an aluminum can. But some ads nowadays have taken it to extreme, such that if I am going to continue watching a TV series is as much about the ads as anything else. Castle, season 1, had an entire episode devoted to some espresso maker, which continued to guest star in subsequent episodes. Like the story, itself, was based around this amazing espresso machine. Carefully arranging sets to highlight product labels is bad enough, and taking time out of the show to actually have the actors comment on how great this product is is far worse, but having the writers base the entire story around some product[s] completely kills the show.

Re:Banner ads are ineffective ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47599459)

>Email spam is so yesterday.
>Content-embedded ads is the way to go.

Agreed, but this is hardly new. In place advertising is older than email spam. The movie "Minority Report" is a fairly recent example of this but In-Place Advertisement been around for some time. Just look at the advertising for Kentucky Fried Chicken in the movie "How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (1965!)" at 33:00 This has been going on long before the internet! TV shows, like the "Beverly Hillbillies" from the same time period used the same actors, in character, to push Kellogg's Corn Flakes in some commercial spots.

Just because somethings old, doesn't mean it's useless. If it were, both email spam and in place advertisements would go away. Sadly, it won't.

How was the entire ARTICLE not this already? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47600909)

I'm reminded of John Oliver's closing segment about native advertising [deadline.com] on Last Week Tonight, which covered the NYT's practice of this and loss of the wall between the two halves of the business.

The entire body of ad copy for MegaRed was repeated through the article, and the story was very conciliatory towards Facebook's advertising practices and their efficacy. Even though the article makes a point about how the jury is still out about fish oil supplements, it paints like a two sided issue and makes sure that it clearly represents MegaRed's version of things (which is repeated in other places for the purpose of the narrative). I don't think it's a two sided issue; nuturitional supplements are almost certainly unproven, with most of the research studies that marginally support them being paid for by the industry, and they have no business be discussed so blithely in a Science/Tech column. I wonder how much consideration or other under-the-table perks they got from those two corporations for running this "informative" article.

Re:Banner ads are ineffective ... (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a month and a half ago | (#47602371)

Best to just avoid TV in that case.

Missing the bigger picture (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47598979)

No one has commented so far about the creepiest aspect: according to the NYT article, Facebook knew how many of the people they showed the ads actually bought the product.

You see, stores sell your personally identifiable information regarding everything you buy to data brokers, and Facebook bought the data from the data brokers. Ergo, FB knew what percentage of people they showed these ads subsequently bought the product.

It's enough to make me seriously reconsider using anything but cash for certain purchases. How many insurance companies buy data regarding your alcohol and tobacco purchase frequency, for example?

Re:Missing the bigger picture (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47600061)

That's why I only buy my crystal meth using cash or stolen cards. Good luck shoving that rehab clinic ad under the nose of Mr. Joe H. Schmuck who lost his wallet in the subway last week, Facebook!

Re:Missing the bigger picture (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47600371)

Don't be ridiculous. That's called "conversion tracking", and it is neither new nor a Facebook invention. It's the very basis of affiliate marketing.

Re:Missing the bigger picture (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47602225)

Conversion tracking from an online ad network that shares cookies with an online store is a completely different animal than "we showed you an ad in your browser and then cross matched it with everything you later bought in brick and mortar stores".

Which is what happened here.

Facebook Logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47599029)

I don't know if anyone else gets something like this.

I have a few things up on Shapeways for sale I also see ads for Shapeways in Facebook.

Weirdly these adverts are all for things I've designed. It seems really counter productive for Shapeways to market my own designs to me. That is unless they are marketing designs fitting my interests to me and I've designed things according to my interests so that's why I'm always seeing my own stuff marketed to me.

Not me (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a month and a half ago | (#47599039)

How Facebook Sold You Krill Oil

How I hate these "you" headlines. Facebook has never sold me anything.

Also these ten amazing life hacks will not change my life, and these aren't the 20 superhero movies I'm looking forward to.

Re:Not me (2)

fisted (2295862) | about a month and a half ago | (#47599665)

Dude, but you should totally look into this one weird trick to boost your sexual potential!

Re:Not me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47600087)

You think it has sold you nothing. You think none of the pointless purchases you made this past month had anything to do with Facebook. That's the beauty of it, they raped you a thousand times over and your ass never even got sore from it.

The short version (2)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a month and a half ago | (#47599045)

My dad is a christian mobile DJ. So I ran a targetted ad campaign to anyone marked as "engaged" and christian in a 100 mile radius. He got about a million views and it cost several hundred dollars and he got a grand total of zero leads. We even had several hundred clicks. We're the best in the area, have a perfect reputation, and our prices are very competitive. Also I personally made out website so there's really no reason that anyone should see it and decide against us. We also have no competition whatsoever in our area. So either Facebook was lying to us and people are ad-blind and all the clicks were accidental or fake or something even worse is happening. Either way, it doesn't work.

Re: The short version (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a month and a half ago | (#47599097)

Many people call themselves Christian but would not want a Christian Rock reception. You can target fans of some of the CR bands, evangelical preachers, etc. Start as narrow as possible and expand until you get some bites. A custom campaign url is probably useful for your tracking.

Re:The short version (1)

elfprince13 (1521333) | about a month and a half ago | (#47599317)

I hit both of your target demographics, and have family ties to the Christian music scene (my cousin in law has toured as the Gettys' bassist, and was next door neighbors with one of Anberlin's band members, my dad wrote Mark Heard's biography, frequently plays and/or speaks at SoulFest, and organizes the Vermont Conference on Christianity and the Arts), and, well....I didn't realize "Christian DJs" were a thing people hired, and now that I know, I still can't imagine hiring one for a wedding reception. Maybe a youth group event or a YoungLife overnight.

Re:The short version (1)

pr0fessor (1940368) | about a month and a half ago | (#47599323)

If you are Dad is the only DJ in 100 miles then you live in a very rural area. More rural than where I live in Kansas. I've been to very few weddings that have had a DJ that wasn't family or a close friend and the same with bands.

If a friend was having a wedding reception and they needed a band or DJ I could have them a of about 5 bands and a dozen DJs that would do it for free.

Re:The short version (1)

tompaulco (629533) | about a month and a half ago | (#47599493)

I have never had an advertising campaign work out, and I am not convinced that anyone else has either. Especially on the internet. Unless the advertising is free, it is not worth it. I wondered out of the $7.9 billion in revenue that Facebook made in ad revenue, how many dollars worth of product that ended up putting in the hands of their advertisers. Facebook IS huge, and their are a lot of click happy people, so maybe it resulted in a a few hundred million in sales. Maybe even a billion. More than $7.9 billion? I would not believe it.
In my experience Marketing is not very good at marketing your product to your target audience. Instead, they are good at marketing themselves to you to make you believe that they are good at marketing to your target audience.

Re:The short version (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47600751)

Facebook is probably good for keeping big brands big. Coke. Apple. Budweiser. Ford. etc. The ad doesn't "generate" a sale but it keeps the product top of mind so that when the time comes you at least consider the product. This puts the big brands one step ahead of smaller brands that are never considered by the consumer. Constant ad bombardment keeps the big brand products top of mind and the smaller guy can't run ads 24/7 and gets beat out.

Re:The short version (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47601047)

Perhaps you should stop giving money to ad-companies to spam the internet... especially when it doesnt pay off. And the hubris of "Also I personally made out website so there's really no reason that anyone should see it and decide against us"

I've bought stuff from Facebook... (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a month and a half ago | (#47599061)

... that my friends have recommended and posted about. Once in a while I post about an effective product or amazing deal.

There's a simple algorithm for achieving such results: produce an impressive product.

For everything else, there's a CPM (no, not the z/80 kind) ad program. Word of advice: make the ad as incipid and vapid as possible, to save on non-converting clicks.

Re:I've bought stuff from Facebook... (1)

Thagg (9904) | about a month and a half ago | (#47599921)

Bill, this advice "make the ad as incipid[sic] and vapid as possible, to save on non-converting clicks." makes so much sense, and is so obvious, that it must be happening already. This was pioneered by the the Nigerian scammers (originally snail-mail, now mostly email.)

It does make me disheartened about the future of the ad-supported internet.

Re:I've bought stuff from Facebook... (1)

Lord Maud'Dib (611577) | about a month and a half ago | (#47602765)

More disheartening is the thought that insipid and vapid ads are effective at all.

Compared to /.? (1)

khchung (462899) | about a month and a half ago | (#47599193)

I find it quite hilarious to see so many posters complained about the ads in Facebook, in the /. forum that have ads a hundred times worse.

OK, maybe not 100x, be definitely worse. On my phone, I get pop-over ads to blocks 1/4 of the already small screen, with the (X) so small that the phone would register as a click on the ads instead (not the intended result, I am sure, LOL).

Then when clicking on articles, half the time the page opens at the bottom to immediately show the ad, so I have to manually go back to the top, the other half of the time I can read normally, but once I reach the end my music would stop because the ad at the bottom is a auto-starting video ad. So I have close the page to stop it from wasting MB in data plan.

(On my PC, I have plug-ins to block all the ads already)

With FB on the phone, at least I can turn off video auto-playing in the settings, and I then only occasionally see an ad when scrolling in the app. No pop-over ad, no auto-playing video ad, no jump to the ad when I open any page. Yes, 100x better then /.

huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47599331)

what are ads? i don't see any ads.

Yes, very effective. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47599357)

Yes, very effective indeed.

Gotta love all those Owdi car ads I have been getting recently.
Can't forget my FOOTBALL, love kicking me some balls around. Rinaldo if my favourite player.
LOVE me some music as well, Lady Gogo, such an amazing voice he has.

No. Just no.

The only thing Facebook ads has gotten right are web dev and programming ads. Eh, I guess holidays, but I only just noticed that now, it could be a seasonal thing.

Misleading headline (1)

Livius (318358) | about a month and a half ago | (#47599575)

Oh, *krill* oil.

I was thinking I'd remember an ad for Krell oil. But I probably couldn't afford anything imported from Altair IV anyway.

They're right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47600239)

"Facebook executives argue, it can help advertisers reach exactly the right audience..."

Indeed, the stupid fucks who were dumb enough to open a FB account.

If they're that gullible, they'll buy anything.

Won't you think of the whales? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47600381)

Krill - small crustaceans - are the primary food source for filter-feeding whales.

Steal the krill for faddy human food supplements and you steal the food from the mouths of baby whales!!!

Murderers!

captcha == "starve" See! Even /. knows its wrong!

Took me 4 years to get off of facebook. (1)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about a month and a half ago | (#47601067)

Damn if I test this theory out.

What Are These "Ads" You Speak Of? (1)

IonOtter (629215) | about a month and a half ago | (#47602819)

I don't get adverts on Facebook? Nor do I get game requests, pokes or any other annoying thing that intrudes upon my idle time.

I installed the Facebook Purity [fbpurity.com] browser extension, and all of that went away.

I now browse FB with no trouble, no bugging, none of the "Eat this and never diet again!" adverts that look like some kind of tropical disease. I also get a lot of hand customizations that give *me* far more control of Facebook than they're really happy with, which is why they had to change their page from "Facebook Purity", to "Fluff Busting" Purity [facebook.com] .

I have noticed that it also blocks Facebook's third-party cookie system, meaning I can't comment on LiveFyre, Discus and other commenting systems on other sites. Annoying, but probably just a configuration issue I haven't figured out yet.

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