I’ve recently been experimenting with Facebook advertising and this blog. I’ve known consciously for a long time that any endeavour is successful in a large part by how you sell yourself: you can’t just have a really good blog or business or whatever and expect that word of mouth can carry you to success. You could have the best damn widget ever and no one will ever buy it if they don’t know about it. There is a lot of hard work and shamelessly selling yourself on the road to success. I say I’ve known this consciously because while I’ve known it, I didn’t really believe it at a really deep level. Anyways, while I want this blog to be successful, I don’t really intend for it to be an actual business. I figure if I get a bunch of readers I could sell T-shirts or something, mostly so people can rock my sister’s logo design, but it isn’t a get-rich-quick sort of scheme. It would be cool to get more readers, and see if that whole “selling yourself” idea works, and it would be an interesting experiment if I ever did try to start a business. So that was my motivation behind advertising, to see how effective it really is and to learn from it.
So I advertised (“boosted” in Facebook parlance) a few of my posts. The first one I advertised was the post about writing and typing; it was a fairly tame post that I figured people might find enjoyable. If you clicked the link you can see that it did get quite a bit of shares, more so than most other posts (33! Shit! I didn’t know it did that good!). Anyways, advertising on Facebook is cheap, easy, and does seem to get your message out to people. It also allows you to pick your audience by selecting interests that you want to target for your audience. Obviously for that post I selected people who liked reading, writing, and blogging. You want to advertise to people who the message will resonate with, obviously. More on that shortly…
For advertising my second post I wanted to go right for that juicy market that is Donald Trump hatred, and selected my scathing but fun post on covfefe. (And got 55 Facebook shares?!) It wasn’t so much trying to get those sort of readers, just that my first advertised post was fairly tame, and I wanted to get in on the mess of politics. When it came time to pick my audience it was obvious to select those who identify as liberal and who possibly lean towards liberal views. Duh. Like I said before, you want to target people who your message will resonate with. But this seems really cheap and easy, so I also targeted those who were very conservative and who leaned conservative. In a recent post about Echo Chambers (which I learned from advertising the covfefe post), I railed against people reading shit that agrees with their views. To me, what’s the point of advertising an obviously liberal point of view to people who lean liberal? I’d just be contributing to the “echo chamber” problem so why not advertise to the conservatives? So that’s what I did…
And it was kind of a mess.
First off, it finally clicked in my head that I had just spent $25 to target conservatives with a very anti-Trump post, and if you care to check this blog’s Facebook page, some people weren’t happy at all about it. Curiously, a bunch of liberals “liked” the post, but few conservatives shit on it, so I’m assuming many of the people angered by it just ignored it. Still, that isn’t as bad as shitting all over the page like some people did and could’ve, but it’s still wasted money by going absolutely nowhere. Advertising on Facebook Sucks because you pay to target an audience, so you’d naturally pick those who agree with you. No one in their right mind would pay to target those who hate their ideas and views. Imagine if Shell or Mobil gas tried to target electric car owners? Or if Tyson Foods advertised towards vegans and vegetarians:iIt’d be a waste of money.
Secondly, I don’t think this would get any sort of conversation going at all. Not a single conservative voter will read my blog posts and go “Hmm. He has a point. Trump is bad, what was I thinking?” The political posts I write are some vulgar, simple, and easy hit pieces on Trump and the Right, mostly because they make such obvious and easy targets on a page called Everything Sucks. While I don’t want my blog to only appeal and to target liberal-minded voters, trying to actually get a conversation going (while simultaneously shitting on Trump) on Facebook seems pretty stupid and futile. I mean if a newspaper as prestigious as the New York Times (“the failing @NYTimes”) can be labeled “Fake News” and shit on by Trump supporters, why would Everything Sucks and Facebook Advertising change anyone’s mind? It won’t…and I’d be dumb as hell to think it would.
So, in short, Facebook advertising is pretty cool if you just want to shamelessly support a page, company, blog, or whatever. It does work and is fantastic at getting your product (or whatever) out in the world for people to notice and perhaps utilize. This puts the success of your whatever on it’s quality and not if people have heard about it or not. My two blog posts got tons of views and shares after I advertised them, but in terms of trying to advertise to those who disagree? Hell no, because no one wants to spend money to reach people who will hate their message. Even if I’m trying to be inclusive and not contribute to creating my very own echo chamber, Facebook advertising sort of encourages advertising to people who will be supportive of your message. Facebook makes it so you can target an audience who will like your message, but this ease in getting positive feedback discourages any willful targeting of a dissenting audience, further contributing to people hearing what they want to hear. Facebook Advertising Sucks in getting a conversation going and further contributes to the problem of people having Echo Chambers where they can hear facts and opinions that already support their own opinions.