Facebook uses an algorithm determined by your profile information, stories you share, and links you click on to serve you ads based on your interests. It also keeps a running tally of the general topics it thinks you like hidden deep within your settings. Strangely, the topics it’s sorted into are … super specific.
+Commentary: This was an interesting look into why Facebook ads have never worked, may never work, and are ultimately useless. When using this article to investigate my own personal settings or “topics” it was hilarious how off-the-chart wrong they were at capturing not only my own general interests, but how off-base they were with regards to things I’d be interested in if they were ad keywords.
As we’ve pointed out here previously when it comes to Google Ads Keyword Planner, they can, if you know what you are looking for and if you are versed in how to find them, realize the whole internet ad thing is built upon a house of cards. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t make money, or that it is not useful to a small business, it just means that unlike the large ad agencies & multi-national corporations you can’t waste tons of money testing out a bunch of different things. Most small business owners that I’ve spoken to recently think that social media is vastly overrated as a tool to connect them to the business they want.
After 8 solid years of using Facebook, none of the above things appeal to me in any way whatsoever. Not for an ad keyword or a topic of discussion. As a lifelong single person those keywords above are about as far off base as you possibly could get. In fact if they knew me, or the context in which those words might be used by me ~ they’d know I’ve fought to have singlism recognized & that the above words all represent oppressive states. Yet they don’t know me that well at all, in fact the entire set of keywords were so far off base, and irrelevant that no wonder they served me Christian Single ads for so almost a year.
The closest they came were in the movies, TV shows, and some of the other ephemera that was shared, live-blogged, etc…yet many notable ones were just as likely to be missing. The other area that they totally missed was the “Sports” category. It was ludicrous that they would even connect me with the NFL, an association I once worked for but find repugnant & make jokes about when others post about their teams, and have actively fought to have Native American slurs removed from team names. Posted often about the dangerous of concussions and the safety issue, but the NFL & I are not compatible, in any way. So if you are an advertise who wishes to target people with that interest, then my account is one of the ones that you have been serving that will quickly block you.
Just to give you some insight into not only the ridiculous ones they chose for me but how some of them have keywords that are suspect at best, and clearly and chronically miscategorized at worst. (Click on pictures to read keywords)
But let’s look at some rather odd choices, also
But since when, if ever, has Angela Davis ever been a politician? [Answer: Never]
Yet under TRAVEL, clearly Michelle Obama is a destination:
So as you can see, they don’t ‘scarily’ know me, they are wildly off-base, and despite having a billion users they have the conception of me that perhaps a 5 year old child might. Throwing random words under specious categories. That isn’t actionable business intelligence, that is willful ignorance. It isn’t semantic, but clearly based on things I’ve liked, clicked on, made fun of, and so on. Without a way to tell the serious from the silly.