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.

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