Thursday, August 1, 2013

The future of advertising is more advertising

Well, there it is.

Yesterday Facebook announced it would start selling 15-second video ads for as much as $2.5 million per day.

What's surprising about this is not that video ads will now be part of Facebook's everyday experience, but that the only way you'll be able to target your ads is by age and gender.

So basically, they're admitting to the lie they and every other social media platform has been telling advertisers since the invention of the internet and will advertise to their users just like television does, en masse. No geographic targeting. No affinity targeting. No slicing and dicing their reams of data so I can speak to the exact person I want to at the exact moment that matters most.

The one-to-one future is dead, at least for now.

Facebook is a mass-medium and proves that when it comes to marketing. They've proven customization doesn't scale. The platform's only real value is in the aggregate of its users.

Maybe this will change. Maybe when we're all used to seeing spots roll after every 20 posts on our timeline they'll start selling space to local advertisers and microtargeters. If they're selling a few hundred companies a day at a million dollars or more, 365 days a year, however, why would they?

The folks at the networks are breathing a little easier tonight.

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