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Facebook’s ad feedback function fail

By September 21, 2009June 4th, 20214 Comments

You know the ads on the right hand column of your Facebook feeds page?

Here’s a view I’ve received a lot lately:

mafia wars ads

Yeah. I know. You’ve seen these ads enough already.

Not sure why I’d receive ’em…I’m not a gamer and there’s nothing in my profile that would lead you to believe I’d be interested in this.  In fact, I really don’t like seeing a gun or a crime scene every time I log on to Facebook.

So I’ve nuked these ads whenever I’ve seen them, using Facebook’s advertising feedback feature:

facebook ad feedback

Now that’s what advertisers and users are looking for: Users can receive tailored ads, and advertisers can build a feedback loop for their creative.

Well, at least in concept.

You see, I decided to delete all the “Mafia Wars” ads that popped up, and they simply kept appearing—sometimes two to three of them at once. It didn’t seem to matter which reason I gave, they still littered my screen.

Look, I like a good mob movie as much as the next guy—but what if I really found these offensive? I’d be pissed.

This practice isn’t just anti-user, it’s anti-advertiser.

Somebody has said every way they can that they don’t want to see your ad—but Facebook is still serving them up?

Sure, the feedback widget says “Over time, this information helps us deliver more relevant ads to our users” but if you are given the option to remove an ad because it’s offensive, misleading or anything else on the list, shouldn’t your wishes be granted there and then? Are there any advertisers out there that really want to offend people over and over?

I started deleting the “Mafia Wars” ads weeks ago. And while they don’t pop up nearly as much, I’m still receiving them.

It’s nice Facebook is asking for feedback, especially since it appears they are using the information provided to improve the user experience…somewhat.

But they aren’t asking people to passively answer a poll regarding the color of their wallpaper. They are asking people if they find an ad offensive or misleading. If the user says “yes, this offends me,” the ad needs to disappear from their user experience—forever.

What do you think?

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Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • I’ve wondered the same. I think Facebook should allow users who do what you did (and I do all the time) to opt out of specific ad categories (not all ads in one shot). This potential revenue killer could be spun into a strong value proposition for Facebook sales teams. FB could tell prospective advertisers that already well targeted users had, in essence, opted IN to their feed. I’m guessing that the majority of FB users never bother to click on the “x” anyway, but for those who do, the opt out choice might lead to a sense of empowerment. This could bolster Facebook’s PR ongoing campaign for enhanced user experience.

    Facebook will not probably not do this. Someone’s job depends on hitting revenue goals, and very few sales directors have the courage to drop their production numbers for the sake of customer satisfaction. That’s another department’s problem! Short of my professionally suicidal suggestion, FB might choose to publish polling data regarding those of us who can’t stand seeing Mafia Wars ads on our screens. This at least would give advertisers and users a sense of how many people are getting annoyed.

  • Sign me up! This is the kind of thing where a groundswell of informed outrage (or at least frustration) could have an impact. Many successful social media campaigns have begun in just this way. (BTW – I think Jon LaRosa makes some very good points above.) The only thing we might need to make this more effective is to frame it in simpler terms – e.g. the “Dell Tech Support Sucks!” campaign that is attributed to Jarvis – I think his post was titled simply “Dell Sucks!”. Anyhow, you get the idea…


  • Martin says:

    How many users on Facebook? How big is it? Don’t expect things like this to get better. Expect them to get worse. I believe when something gets this big, customer satisfaction becomes mostly irrelevant in the minds of said “big company”.

    What are you going to do? Delete your account? Go ahead. They’ll still have 299,999,999 users. Expect some amount of privacy? Be real. Don’t like it? Go ahead. Delete your account.

    Start an online campaign complaining about it? I’m sure they’ll be shaking in their boots. And when they’re done shaking they’ll slap up another Mafia Wars ad.

    For all the blessings of such a huge network, there are going to be some things you’re not going to like and aren’t going to change.

  • Douglas says:

    Judging by Martin’s needlessly combative response he has to be from Facebook. In any experience I’ve encountered the same headaches with their Ad Feedback function not working. I have flagged one particular advertiser for the last two years or so over & over again since starting my account and despite FB claims that flagging their ads helps to deliver more relevant advertising, they still appear every day!

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