Facebook, ‘big data’ and targeting – What’s going wrong?

| January 31, 2012

It’s good to know human beings are nowhere near as predictable as marketers like to think we are. 

Despite the vast amount of data sites like Facebook hold about members, the social network’s data-driven adverts are still way off target.

OK, I may be in my forties and engaged to be married. But that doesn’t mean I’m into anti-ageing products. I don’t want a massive great meringue of a wedding dress either. Nor am I interested in celebrities or concerned about my weight: I honestly couldn’t give a stuff how much blubber Cheryl Cole has lost. I have better things to do with my life.

Big data conclusions are far too simplistic

These days marketers have access to ‘big data’, which by rights should make targeting offers tightly to people’s needs, preferences and lifestyles much easier. But in real life, it doesn’t. The conclusions they come to are still far too simplistic.

In reality Facebook’s efforts are no better than thirty years ago, when data driven targeting was the direct marketer’s holy grail and we only had postcode, sex and buying history to play with.

If Facebook filled my account with adverts for stuff  I’m really interested in, things like 1950s German art pottery, ’60s and ’70s oil paintings, antique rugs, craft materials, tickets for Radio 4 comedies, garden stuff, wood carving gear and good books, I’d be a happy bunny and would probably click through. That’s what I’d call targeting!

Tags: , , ,

Category: copywriting and marketing

By Kate Goldstone - ()

Originally from Middlesbrough, I lived in Brighton for many years before moving to North Devon. I’ve had a passion for words all my life and this is my twelfth year as a freelance writer. In my spare time I draw, paint, sculpt, carve wood and rock, garden, read, write poetry and enjoy long distance hiking. I sing and play the recorder. I collect modernist paintings, vintage rugs and mid-century German art pottery. I’m a member of The Poetry Society. And I am an experienced volunteer shepherd, a ‘Lookerer’.

Comments are closed.