Ad it all up

Purchasing ads of Facebook gives marketers more bang for their buck, and connects consumers with products they’re more likely to be interested in (Adapted “Facebook Ads” licensed by Sean MacEntee under CC BY 2.0 )

Maybe this has happened to you:

You’re shopping online for some new shades, or that pair of shoes that just won’t go on sale…

Nope. Too expensive. Maybe next time.

Fast forward a few minutes or days or weeks later. You’re on Facebook to see what’s up and – lo and behold – your wish list appears in the news feed.

It was no accident. That’s how online ad’s work. Maybe you already knew that, but do you know why?

Social media sites like Facebook mine your personal data – page and post “likes,” cookies, browsing and search history, age, sex, location, anything they can get – to sell you out to advertisers. And why not? You’ve already expressed an interest (one way or another) and nobody wants to waste ad buys on uninterested eyes.


My First Facebook Divorce
Wonder why you get the ads you get? Try checking your browsing history… (“My first Facebook Divorce” licensed by Lee under CC BY-SA 2.0)

Targeted advertising is one of the biggest appeals of social media marketing. The other is cost.

Have you ever tried to “boost” a page on Facebook? I created a professional profile to find out. For $20, I can blast 2,700 – 7,200 users per day for almost a month. But more than that, I can tweak who sees it. Men aged 13-35, women between 30-65, Edmontonians, Haligonians, Nike fans, Instagram users…

You get the picture.

Compare that to a print ad in the Edmonton Journal.

A black and white “business card” ad running Monday Thursday costs $797, and that’s the cheapest option. But is it worth it? The 2015 Daily Newspaper Circulation Report pegs the Journal’s average weekday circulation (Monday – Friday) at 36,566 – that includes copies that line birdcages and go unread.

What about digital? For those with the wherewithal, a flashy ad in a big paper is still one way to generate buzz. In Crash to Paywall (2015), our very own Dr. Brian Gorman tells the story of how Mercedes introduced it’s E-class sedan with front page ads splashed on the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal:

“The estimated cost was $100,000 per site. However, the car company’s strategy was to make a splash with the mainstream media and them immediately move to a cheaper, more focused camping involving buys from networks: organizations that bundle ad space on websites, often selling it at a deep discount.”

Whether it’s online or in your mailbox, the front page placement can still turns heads. As Stephanie Clifford of the Gainsville Sun writes, “Newspaper sites are the patent-leather stilettos of the online world: they get used for special occasions, but other shoes get much more daily wear.”


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