So Mark Zuckerberg emerge from self-imposed exile today to wow the tech crowd with hints about future products and offerings. There wasn't any mention of the 83 million fake Facebook accounts, because today was a straight lovefest of Facebook tech.
Well, I've had a chance to test out Facebook's tech in the past couple of weeks and a couple of things are clear.
1) They know way too much information about you.
Let's say I want to market to just college educated mom's of kids 5-18 with an interest in soccer living within 10 miles of zip code 13601. Yep, there's an app for that.
You can drill down to an incredible level of understanding and that is what seems appealing to marketers. Why blanket the whole North Country with TV ads when the 300 Soccer mom's on Facebook can see my ad all day long?
2) Does it work?
Here's where Facebook hits a brick wall like every other ad model. The problem is two-fold --- 1) the same 20% of the Facebook population stays on the site all day, while the other 80% never seem to visit and 2) those that do see your ad never click it.
So, while there could be a case for building brand awareness even if people don't click your ad the reality is that in my case, my ads were seen by 150,000 users over a 2 day period and 6 people not related to me actually clicked the ad. 6! Back out the mistaken clicks and you probably have 2 or 3 real clicks. That's awful.
I'm sure Facebook will build a phone or search engine or game console or some other time suck that we can't live without but the ad business can not be the future for that company.