I’ve mentioned bad targeting and bad Facebook ads before. It’s pretty gross (and wasteful) business. It also provides a horrendous user experience. Whether Facebook likes it or not, when an advertiser doesn’t do audience targeting correctly, it casts a dark light on Facebook, because not everyone is totally aware of what is and isn’t an advertisement. That is both the beauty and drawback of native advertising.

In some ways, it’s even worse then a Google search. At least Google puts that little orange-ish box that says “AD” in the results now. With Facebook, it’s mixed in with your newsfeed and the 4 point “Sponsored” font is hardly noticed.
bad facebook ads
Last week I was doing a sort-of consulting gig with a local company (story for another time), but I saw this image above for Boise State Lacrosse Apparel come across my Facebook feed. This is an example of what I consider poor targeting. Why?

Well, I do have lacrosse in my Facebook profile, because it’s a part of my past work history and I follow several lacrosse-related Facebook pages. Which reminds me, I need to stop following those. So that’s why I’m seeing the ad. Checkmark for the advertiser.

However, I feel like they got it wrong on several levels. One is that I didn’t attend Boise State. Am I saying that the advertiser should have ONLY targeted Boise State students and alum? No. But it still doesn’t feel right. Two, I live and grew up 2,000+ miles from Boise.

So while the advertiser got the lacrosse part right when targeting me, they probably could have saved some money and optimized their spend by doing a little bit deeper targeting on things like geographical location. Tighten that up, folks.

Another thing – the image in the ad is an absolute atrocity. This advertiser should be shamed in public for not using high-quality pictures of actual Boise State Lacrosse apparel! Especially with all the image options (like multi-image carousels) that Facebook gives advertisers now. What the hell?!

I mean, look at that ad! Would you click an ad from Ralph Lauren advertising apparel if it was just the Ralph Lauren logo? The big huge B does nothing to entice the user. This provides further evidence to me that this advertiser needs a lesson in engaging and effective advertising.

All that said, maybe this was a campaign where the advertiser was only paying for clicks and if that’s the case, it’s probably a little more acceptable to spray it all around, targeting be damned. Or maybe the advertiser simply had a ton of budget (but no camera, hahah). The ad overall is pretty inexcusable and the ad is terribly ineffective.

Back to my original point, too – it’s not totally relevant to my feed and it makes the user experience, for me, unpleasant. Now I’m off to change my profile so I don’t get any more lacrosse ads.