Tag - ads

Search on Facebook sucks, and so does ad targeting (on searches)

OK, so let’s just be honest.

In all this talk of Facebook being a huge competitive threat to Google … there’s a big missing piece. And that’s search.

Social is great, big, wonderful, exciting, profitable, and growing wildly. Social commerce is going to be big. Social discovery is already huge.

But when you really need to get something done NOW, or find something in real-time … there’s nothing like searching. And the Facebook experience is nothing like the Google experience.

The Google experience is obvious – we all use it. Need something, type something, find something (usually). The Facebook experience is odd … at least when you’re trying to do an actual informational search in a built-for-social world.

By default, Facebook says it’s searching ALL results, out of these options:

  • All results
  • People
  • Pages
  • Groups
  • Apps
  • Events
  • Web results (from Bing)
  • Posts by friends
  • Posts by everyone

This cannot actually be true. In fact, it’s completely false.

We’re currently listing ads for sales consultants in BC, Ontario, and Alberta. Wanting to see the ads in context, I searched for “sales jobs bc” … which ONLY brings up group and business pages, none of which are relevant.

Filtering by people or places brings up zero results. Filtering by groups brings up IDENTICAL results to All Results. Filting by Apps or Events brings up zilch again. Filtering by web brings up Bing results for the search query, which bears no relationship with the results in All Results or Groups. Posts by Friends brings up nothing (for me), and Posts by Everyone brings up a couple of personal status updates.

And then, on top of it all … the ads Facebook showed me while search barely changed from the standard FB ads I always see: local deals, products, groups or people wanting my attention. Few were relevant, and it took many refreshes to see my own ad for sales jobs in BC.

So …

  1. Searching by social doesn’t work well (for this kind of query, and for a lot of the standard Google types of queries)
  2. Facebook search results are not blended results; they are silo’d results … which, particularly in the case of Bing, is a problem in terms of utility (i.e., there’s less than there should be!)
  3. Search query terms do not carry enough weight in Facebook in terms of prioritizing ads to display
  4. Bing ads that are shown in Facebook are severely limited compared to the standard web Bing ads … Facebook’s Bing results show only 2 ads, while Bing.com shows 5.

The upshot?
Social and search may still meet. In fact, will still meet.

Just not today.

Monetizing the Realtime Web

Some really good things we’ve learned:

1. Users are open to ads as long as they’re relevant to their realtime experience.

2. Advertisers really want to create ads that are relevant to the realtime experience.

3. Realtime applications are starting to make serious money through advertising!

Some really hard challenges all of us face:

1. Realtime targeting is complex

2. Data is everything

3. Advertisers need to be taught how to engage in a realtime experience.

OneRiot has been at it since October (beta launch in January), and in April we expect to exceed 1/2 billion ad impressions across our network of realtime apps.

Our impressions are in the stream (e.g. on Twitter apps like UberTwitter and social desktop apps like Digsby) and they are in search (e.g. on OneRiot.com). Recently we’ve started distributing them across the wider web through traditional ad units.

What we’ve discovered is that when the ad is relevant to a trending topic, relevant to what people are talking about on the realtime web, the click thru rate goes through the roof. In other words, if iPad is trending, and we promote the hottest accessories for the iPad, realtime web users love it. Even on mobile, the CTR goes from an industry average of 0.1-0.2% to over 1% and sometimes even higher. We’ve had CTRs as high as 8% when we really nail it.

via Monetizing the Realtime Web – Insights and Challenges after 6 Months | OneRiot Blog.

Mashable: where's the website?!?

I sure hope this is not the future of the web. Where’d the website go?

This is what I saw when I visited a recent story on Mashable: 10 Must-Read eBooks for Social Media Lovers. The post title doesn’t even start until the extreme bottom of the page.

I like free content as much as anyone else on the web … but this is perhaps a price too high to pay.

. . .
. . .

Note: you can minimize the ad – I understand. But by default it wasn’t. This is definitely interruption marketing.

(I was going to link to this permission marketing story as well, but there’s a 10-second interstitial ad.) I guess I did link to it after all … but consider yourself warned.)

Social media marketing: faking it

When I see this Ford skyscraper ad, I’m assuming that mousing over the ad will show me something about the people.

After all, it says “rollover to see their stories.” So that’s the expectation I have – that I can find something out about two real people who really bought a Ford who really had some experiences with it and really are telling them to me.

It looks like an instance of social media marketing: marketing that uses connecting web technologies and real stories from real people to demonstrate how a product or service might be something that I might want to buy.

So far so good …

But when I rollover the ad and see this, everything changes:

Suddenly I feel misled, even lied to. Instead of a story, I’m looking at an ad. A very standard, old-school ad.

Score -1 for Ford.

The moral: don’t mislead customers, and most importantly, don’t raise expectations of A but provide B.

(Unless, of course, B is obviously better and more wonderful in every way than A. And even then, be careful.)