Facebook – Do You Really Think I'm Old & Fat? A Lesson in Targeting.

I have been noticing a somewhat disturbing trend when I log on to Facebook lately – apparently, Facebook thinks I am old and fat. Or at least they are hoping I think I am old and fat… How do I know this? A disturbingly high number of “suggested posts” have been littering my Newsfeed of late for either anti-aging secrets or weight loss secrets:

Facebook "Suggested Post" recenty in my newsfeed from Dr. Oz.

Facebook "Suggested Post" recently in my Newsfeed from Dr. Oz (who is a huge offender)..

This "Suggested Post" is even trickier, as it looks like a post where a friend updated their cover photo.

This "Suggested Post" is even trickier, as it looks like a post where a friend updated their cover photo.

Apologies for the slightly grainy images – the ads appear on my iPad and I took a quick photo of them to share!

These posts really got me thinking about targeting and remarketing and what it is like from the targetee’s perspective. It can be borderline creepy and in this case, a little insulting to have at least one post (ad) in my newsfeed every day urging me to take action about my apparent weight and aging issues. Look, I get that I am in my 40s and recently had a kid, but does that mean that I want to see these kinds of ads every time I log in to Facebook? For me, the answer is no.

What is it about this that is bugging me – it is not the targeting specifically, although when you see 5 “suggested posts” in a row, it is a bit like being accosted at the mall! Rather, it is the lack of viewing these tactics from your target’s perspective. Do any of us like to feel bombarded by advertising? I would not be insulted or particularly bothered if these ads were showing up in the right side column on Facebook – but when they are right in the middle of the Newsfeed on a mobile device (for me a tablet) it starts to feel pretty intrusive.

It is worth noting that with retargeting and remarketing technology – just because you can does not always mean you should. As a marketer, I think these tools are pretty amazing and the possibilities dizzying when it comes to recapturing potential customers. But, we should exercise restraint when deploying strategies in this area and really think about the impression caps and the people we are trying to impress.

It’s not very sexy, but slow and steady really does win the race in marketing – with remarketing this is even more true. So, before you go nuts targeting every possible demographic set under the sun, take a moment and think about it from the targetee’s perspective and maybe dial it back just a bit. I know I’d be happy if Facebook stopped calling me fat every day!

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