Facebook Social Ads: First Impression

Facebook introduced a widely publicized platform for advertisers and businesses the other day. Despite a number of naysayers, I think the Facebook approach to advertising has both merit and novelty. The basic principle that my friends are likely to have an interest in something that appeals to me (and that they wouldn’t mind knowing about it when they login to Facebook) is sound in my opinion. Some of the privacy fears expressed are very similar to the early days of gmail and will phase out over time. However, the ads creation and management process is not without flaws. Here are a few pain points that I came across right away.

1. Facebook Flyers have been phased out for the most part with no prior notice whatsoever. You can’t create new flyers or re-start “paused” flyers.

2. There is no recommendation per se from Facebook about Flyers. Should advertisers continue keeping their flyers? Or is it better to switch to social ads?

3. Editing the text of a Social Ad after it has been created is not possible. Likewise you can’t change the parameters like the target audience once the ad has been created. You have to delete the ad and create it all over again.

4. Facebook Insights (the part that shows you the cool graphs) uses Adobe Flash. This is really painful (in Firefox). Never works no matter how many times you install Flash.

5. The much hyped Facebook pages seem to be well hidden for some reason! I could never find the NY Times page or any other pages setup by businesses for that matter.

6. Once you create a Facebook page there seems to be no way to invite your friends to becomes fans! So you are left with a page that you can’t notify others about and others can’t find it either!

Many of the issues I had with Facebook Flyers exist with social ads as well. In general, the UI takes some “getting used to” unlike Google Adwords or Yahoo (who did a nice job of adapting the Adwords flow for the most part)

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