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The tool explains why you are seeing a specific ad and lets you keep or remove interests that Facebook uses to show you ads. That means if you aren’t interested in seeing more ads for electronics, you can remove that category from your ad interest list. U.S. users will be able to use ad preferences in the next few weeks. Facebook is working to expand globally in the coming months.
We caught up with Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, to get his thoughts on the new tool. He told us he thinks this will be self-defeating, in part, because people’s interest in ads change daily.
Enderle offered a personal example: He is interested in car ads once every couple of years but if he opts out of them he likely won't remember to opt back in when he wants to make a purchase. By the same token, he said, wedding ads are really annoying except for that short window when you actually want to get married.
“You want the ads to match interests dynamically but if people opt out of categories when they aren't interested they won't see them when they are,” Enderle said. “This approach is one a firm would take if they didn't know anything about you. But Facebook, and social networks in general, are supposed to know everything about you so it makes it look like the very concept of social networking, as it relates to more effective advertising, is a fraud.”
Posted: 2014-06-15 @ 7:48am PT
Facebook is trying to improve a system (21st century online advertisment) that is flawed by design. Nice try, but it is doomed to fail because of the underlying assumptions.
Facebook's "stated goal" might be to help consumers "get the best price or show [them] other brands that might pique [their] interest". This is predicated on two assumptions:
(1) Advertisers are trying to compete for consumer's business by showing them their lowest prices. The reality is totally opposite: advertisers try to segment consumers, ideally into single-person-segment (i.e. full "personalization") for the sole purpose of price-gauging them.
(2) The second one is even more fatal: consumers do not know about alternative brands. With the internet's information overload, consumers do know about other brands. What they lack is objective information, and this is not what the advertisers are going to provide. All what advertisers do is waste consumers' time repeating their biased messages ad nauseam.
So now Facebook's model resembles more and more the old 20ieth century offline advertisment (remeber the product registrations card that manufacturer hoped consumers would fill and send back). Good luck with that.
The conflict between advertiser's interest and consumer's interest can't be reconciled. Consumers want information, advertisment is disinformation. I am loath to waste my time feeding the machine that tracks me and displays ads to me. Facebook is still captive to its paymaster, the advertisers, and there is nothing it can do to entice me to spend time on its websites.