Yesterday I wrote about Twitter’s plan to make money from its site. All the power to them if they can do it but do it in a way that keeps Twitter growing.
Facebook is making money. Whether they’re in a profit position yet, I don’t know, but they are running ads. I’m sure there aren’t many people out there who would begrudge Twitter and Facebook from actually making money off social media.
Okay, there are a few old-timers who think that everything on the Internet should be free and no businesses should be allowed on. Since universities and the military were the first on the ‘net, they can stay. *Yawn* When will these old-timers go away?
So, what’s the best model to make money? Facebook is making money from ads. That’s a start. Too bad they allow so many garbage ads on there. Now I routinely ignore them. Not sure, but I may start seeing erectile-dysfunction cure ads on there soon. (I’ll ignore those too. I’m a long way from needing those!)
Facebook has polluted its well by allowing junk ads. With pretty good demographic and psychographic targeting available with Facebook, you’d think advertisers would avail themselves of those tools and actually attempt to match up their ads with those most likely to act on their offers. I’m not sure who’s interested in six-eyed babies, or determining if they’re smarter than Barack Obama, but…
And if Stephen Harper really did have an $11,998 cheque waiting for me, I might just click on that ad.
I talk to people regularly about the garbage ads I see on Facebook. It’s sad that they’ve almost ruined a golden goose.
Good online ad model: magazines
I’ve said this many times before, but people don’t always ignore ads. You just need to give them the right ones. Do you have a hobby? Do you purchase a magazine related to that hobby? Let’s say you’re into four wheel drive trucks. You are quite likely to read the ads in a magazine related to it because magazines that are tightly focused on a certain hobby usually have ads directly related to that hobby.
The benefit? Readers typically look at the ads because they are directly related to them and their interest. The ads have information they may find useful. There are products the reader is very likely interested in purchasing. I get a few magazines and I do read the ads because they provide me with some useful and interesting info. I have bought products based on ads I’ve seen in those magazines.
The key here is focusing on the audience. Give them ads that are related to their interests. Facebook gives users plenty of opportunity to define themselves and their interests. There’s no excuse for Facebook not to serve up useful ads. Facebook allows advertsiers to focus their ads with a limited amount of demographic data. It’s not perfect, but there really is no excuse for advertisers not to try. Perhaps Facebook can have ad reps assist advertisers and also reject ads that are spammy, sleazy or deceptive.
It’s really a simple concept, so why do so many websites just not get it? I guess they’re desperate to have any kind of revenue at all, so they’ll run complete crap and call it advertising. It really is an insult to your user.
If you’re actually trying to make money online and do it via advertising, you’d better provide some value to the user. Facebook seems to have missed the point on this, although the ad quality had been improving slightly, lately. I hope that trend continues.