Facebook advertising with laser precision

WASHINGTON, DC Search Marketing expert update

Recently, I started noticing some advertisements in my Facebook page for used tandem recumbent bicycles.  “How serendipitous,” I thought … I just happen to be talking back and forth with my friends (through Facebook) about buying a used tandem recumbant bicycle.

But, it’s not serendipity afterall, it’s the precision laser guidance system (and breach of privacy) deployed by Facebook advertising.

Here is the thing … we innocently answer all of Facebook’s profile questions about every aspects of our private and personal lives:

  • What is our name?
  • When we were born?
  • Where we were born?
  • Who is our mother?
  • What is our mother’s maiden name?
  • What is the name of our pet?
  • Where did we go to high school?
  • What year did we graduate from high school?
  • Where did we go to college?
  • What year did we graduate?
  • What fraternity or sority did we belong to?
  • Are we a doctor, attorney, politician, corporate executive?
  • Where do we live?
  • Where did we grow up?
  • Where do we work?
  • Who are we married to?
  • What is our sexual orientation?
  • How many friends do we have?
  • Who ARE our friends?
  • Do we have children?
  • Who are our siblings?
  • Who are our children?
  • What are our favorite books?
  • What is our favorite movies?
  • What is our favorie music?
  • What are our interests?
  • What are our activities?
  • What sites to we link to?
  • What facebook pages are we fans of?
  • What are we doing right now?
  • What photos have we taken lately?
  • What photos of our friends do we like?
  • What videos have we uploaded lately?
  • What videos have we seen lately?
  • What is our Twitter activity?
  • What is our Netflix activity?
  • What is our YouTube activity?
  • Have we neglected our farm lately?
  • What is our Jung-Myers-Briggs typology personality profile?
  • Are we democrats, republicans, independents or anarchists?
  • Do we go to church?
  • Where?
  • How do we talk, how do we write?

Virtually every aspect of our lives is completely and transparently revealed through Facebook.  Why hire a private investigator when all we need to do is look up somebody’s facebook page?

As an experiment, I decided to make myself gay – a male seeking relationships with other men.  Guess what?  I started seeing ads related to gay men.  I changed my interests and activities to yoga and started seeing yoga advertisements.  I thought about changing my activities and interests to S&M just to see if any dominatrix ads were to appear and then thought otherwise – afterall, my mother is one of my “friends.”

So, the point is two-fold:

  1. If you are an advertiser, a seller, a service provider, a supplier or an e-commerce vendor … Facebook advertising is an incredible opportunity for you to deliver your advertising with directness and laser-like precision, just like a laser-guided missile.
  2. If you are concerned at all about your privacy, DON’T put any personally sensitive or personally identifiable information online ANYWHERE.

In fact, if you are concerned about privacy – which is pretty difficult to maintain after 9/11 – then you should follow these steps to protect your privacy:

Funny, I just tried to looking up an old friend.  When I finally found her through an AOL account that I only check once a year, I asked her if she was on Facebook.  Her reply?  “I am sorry that I won’t link up on facebook. I really don’t want my life plastered on the internet.”  She gets it.

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