Hyper-targeting isn’t new.  Neither is intrusive media.

But a combination of the two… could be incredibly effective.  Just imagine if FaceBook had ads like this Apple Skyscraper/Banner ad:

Apple Ad

Watch the fully animated ad over at The Unofficial Apple Weblog – it’s quite obviously an intrusive ad (in a good way).

For those unfamiliar with the term, intrusive basically equals sound: radio or television, and, to a degree, animated banner ads.  It’s intrusive because you can’t close your ears and the ads interrupt something else that you are doing, like listening to music or watching TV or reading the online version of the NYT.

Yet when it comes to radio and television, selecting the show or station is as targeted as it gets. That’s why they call it mass media and broadcasting.  Direct mail, on the other hand, can be targeted by gender, age, income, buying activities, interests, profession, etc – yet still manages to get dumped in the trash unopened and un-looked at a shocking percentage of the time.

Which brings us back to the target-ability of Facebook ads.  Want to only show your ads to mothers of 3 kids between the ages of 32-38 who live on the west side of Newport, RI?  No sweat.  Want to make sure those same mothers of three actually LOOK at your ad?  Houston we have a problem.

2009-11-04_2345As of now, FaceBook ads are mostly static and entirely without sound.  There also kind of, um, spammy. Without motion or sound to attract members’ attention, most ads end up looking like the example to the left.

But banner ads/online space ads don’t have to be that way, as the recent Apple ad proves.  Nor does FaceBook have to give up editorial control on what kind of ads get run.  Just like many fashion magazines already do, FaceBook could require ads to meet a certain non-annoying or cool threshold.

Flash driven ads with sound that had a high creative threshold could prove to be the best of both worlds.  You’d get targeted ads that are also intrusive enough to seduce FaceBook viewers away from their newsfeeds long enough to watch and click through.

What do you think?


  1. Carole on 11.05.2009

    Great post Jeff. I hope Facebook is listening because I think there is some real potential here if they grab hold of this concept.

    I love the targeting aspect of Facebook advertising. However I also I think that marketers need to realize that writing ad copy for Facebook is not going to be exactly the same as writing for search engine PPC. But guess what, keyword selection is still a vital part- different angle. Like you said, you are trying to distract them away from their interests, not answer their active inquiry.

    I would also add that I have had some success with Facebook pages and ads, however the success has been seen for local events, businesses and small niches, branding and micro-conversions.

    More can certainly be done with Facebook ads, so rest well for now Google giant…

  2. David Stanley on 11.05.2009

    Thought provoking idea. Intrusive is more powerful than passive. I think the challenge will be how to capture attention quickly. I tend to hit the mute button almost immediately when sound starts upon arriving at a website.

    I wonder if the Apple ads work stronger because people are already engaged with them from TV and like the ads?
    .-= David Stanley´s last blog ..3 Keys for Competing With The Big Boys =-.

  3. rick copper on 11.06.2009

    Jeff, I have been placing ads on Facebook for a couple months now. There has been some success, in part because I refuse to use “shouting” copy, opting for “curiosity” copy like “lime green. brilliant blue. golden yellow. colors from the alternative crayon box.” for the new Hyundai Genesis Coupe.
    The CTR is still poor, but sales did increase.
    I hope Facebook heeds some of your advice. While I am not in favor of unrequited audio, I would like to see “opt in” audio.