Commentary

It's Time For Ad Buyers To Boycott Facebook

  • by , Op-Ed Contributor, March 30, 2018

So, imagine you are out walking in the mall, and pop in a store, you don't buy anything, but you just wanted to look. A salesperson sees you and maybe you have a brief chat. Then you leave. 

Next, you stop by an old friend’s house for a visit, and the salesperson from that store you popped into shows up, rings your friend’s doorbell, walks into the living room and asks you about those shoes you were looking at in the store. 

You find it humorous, although perhaps just a little creepy. But you move on and you and your friend go out to eat. But at the restaurant that same store clerk is there, standing next to the waitress as she takes your order. Okay, now it’s really getting creepy. Now you are starting to hate that store, and decide that you’ll never shop there again. 

Are you picking up on the metaphor here? It’s not difficult to see what I’m getting at. All you chief marketing officers out there who think you’re being so clever, so tech-savvy and so in tune with the millennials you so desperately seek, think again. 

It’s not working. You’re not attracting customers — you’re making them angry and alienating them, some of them forever. And now, in the midst of the enormous Facebook scandal, your customers are even angrier than ever, especially at Facebook. They’re deleting their profiles in droves. So now maybe you should realize that the very last place you want to be is on Facebook because if your customers see your ads there they’ll be even more upset than when you showed up at the restaurant! 

So what’s the answer? It’s simple: BOYCOTT FACEBOOK!  Not just personally, but as a CMO, as a media planner and buyer. STOP IT. 

Just because the technology exists doesn’t mean you have to, or should use it. Facebook has become the AR-15 of social media. It’s toxic. So like the smart, wonderful kids from Parkland, send a message to Facebook where it hurts. In the wallet, in the stock price, and do it now. 

One person resetting their privacy settings is like complaining to a radio station for running annoying ads. They don’t care. They sold that time, and it’s done. But if entire companies with substantial marketing and advertising budgets stop associating themselves with Facebook, it just might send a message that they better reconsider whether it’s a good idea to use a person’s personal data to target them with products, services, and yes — political positions and ideas. 

To return to my metaphor, here’s my message to America’s CMOs: Stop going to the mall. We in the advertising business are a major part of the problem here, and we can also be the solution. This is a time where the ad business can lead the way for positive change, and that would be a nice change of pace.

1 comment about "It's Time For Ad Buyers To Boycott Facebook".
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  1. Henry Blaufox from Dragon360, April 2, 2018 at 10:30 a.m.

    The problem as described isn't necessarily Facebook. It is misuse of targeting, especially overuse in frequency and duration, along with poorly determined context on the part of the advertiser (not effective to just follow a targeted user ID all over the web and mobile apps, while disregarding what user intent is over the course iof more than a few hours.) Retargeting works best when it is applied throughtfully, and probably much more sparingly than many advertisers do. Carpet bombing doesn't work. Incidentally, who says Facebook users are deleting their profiles in droves? I am sure that overstates what is happening.

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