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Everbody Forgets About the Power of Intentional Declaration

By - March 23, 2011

I love that Facebook is testing real time conversational advertising. In short, the idea is that the right ad shows up on someone’s Facebook page when they declare some intention. As the Ad Age coverage puts it:

Users who update their status with “Mmm, I could go for some pizza tonight,” could get an ad or a coupon from Domino’s, Papa John’s or Pizza Hut….With real-time delivery, the mere mention of having a baby, running a marathon, buying a power drill or wearing high-heeled shoes is transformed into an opportunity to serve immediate ads, expanding the target audience exponentially beyond usual targeting methods such as stated preferences through “likes” or user profiles.

Sounds great, but hollow – kind of like a 4/4 beat missing a bass drum. And what’s the bass? It’s the consumer, of course.

Allow me to explain. If I’m a consumer in Facebook’s real time advertising world, and I notice that the ads change based on my status update, I may decide to intentionally declare my desire for a pizza, or a pregnancy test, or some cool shoes, because I know the ads/offers/coupons/deals are going to come my way. In other words, it’s advertising’s version of the street finding its own use for technology. Advertising isn’t one way, Facebook. It’s conversational, and the biggest mistake one might make is to assume your consumers won’t game that system for their own uses. In fact, I’d suggest you design your product around that assumption.

If you do that well, you just might have a hit on your hands.

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15 thoughts on “Everbody Forgets About the Power of Intentional Declaration

  1. jordan says:

    I definitely like the idea. One way I can see this working is with time sensitive ads, i.e. a one day coupon or 3 hr coupon, or something like that. where there is no real resale value since it would be hard to ‘sell’ quickly. Or, perhaps you have to take a picture fo the ad in the form of a QR code from the monitor with your smartphone and dispay it at the venue. I had a smartphone coupon for a free carwash last month a friend forwarded to me. I thought it was a great idea.
    I remeber in the early 90′s if you searched for ‘free stuff’, you found many different websites giving away things. I had blank dvd’s, and other things sent to me. I am surprised more discounted items aren’t being made available with mobile marketing right now. We need a mobile blue light special here and there.

  2. streamed says:

    You are right John, i remember when I had blank dvd’s, and other things sent to me. I am surprised more discounted items aren’t being made available with mobile marketing right now. We need a mobile blue light special here and there.

  3. karimuns says:

    Users who update their status with “Mmm, I could go for some pizza tonight,” could get an ad or a coupon from Domino’s, Papa John’s or Pizza Hut….With real-time delivery, the mere mention of having a baby, running a marathon, buying a power drill or wearing high-heeled shoes is transformed into an opportunity to serve immediate ads, expanding the target audience exponentially beyond usual targeting methods such as stated preferences through “likes” or user profiles.

  4. I’m sure there will be many ways one can think to game this system, but the one mentioned here would most likely delight the advertisers. Should a user’s post have the intention of soliciting ads, the advertiser should love the fact that the user is seeking engagement with the brand. What I would worry about more is the user experience of all of this user’s friends. If gaming the system hits some critical mass, and my friends’ posts become more geared towards ad baiting, I’ll most likely get annoyed with the entire system. I hope Facebook has considered this.

  5. adicisa says:

    I remeber in the early 90′s if you searched for ‘free stuff’, you found many different websites giving away things

  6. Tom Matte says:

    Opportunities: If you mention pizza and typically buy from a big franchisee, perhaps the coupon could be from a small local place instead. So you save $5 on the Pizza and take a risk on something new. So many ways to make this work…or fail.

  7. cunti says:

    in my opinion, expanding the target audience exponentially beyond usual targeting methods such as stated preferences through “likes” or user profiles.

  8. Noel Proulx says:

    While this might seem like a really cool idea at first I think we are all aware how well technology interprets our input at times. Take a look at the thousands of hilarious iPhone auto-correct mistakes. My guess is I am going to get just as many ads that make no sense of some obscure keyword in my post as I am going to get things that are relevant.

  9. sail morotai says:

    I’ll most likely get annoyed with the entire system

  10. kindasi says:

    What I would worry about more is the user experience of all of this user’s friends.

  11. sinclair says:

    I may decide to intentionally declare my desire for a pizza, or a pregnancy test, or some cool shoes, because I know the ads/offers/coupons/deals are going to come my way.

  12. We can see no reason why any advertiser, should want to desecrate their clients branding abilities by using facebooks brand over their clientsgeter1645 brand. This violates a cardinal rule in BRANDING STRATEGY. What kind of destructive Kool-Aid are you considering here??

    We have 40+ years of Marketing Analysis And Marketing Strategy experience and are apalled that Facebook is even considered in building any clients BRAND, really what are you thinking ??

    You must know from your B school training that this runs up against and compromises your clients goal of BUILDING THEIR BRAND NOT FACEBOOKS !
    Is this what professional Marketers do?

    Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger)

  13. sales D net says:

    remeber in the early 90′s if you searched for ‘free stuff’, you found many different websites giving away things. I had blank dvd’s, and other things sent to me. I am surprised more discounted items aren’t being made available with mobile marketing right now.

  14. Take a look at the thousands of hilarious iPhone auto-correct mistakes. My guess is I am going to get just as many ads that make no sense of some obscure keyword in my post as I am going to get things that are relevant.

  15. Interesting targeting concept. I’m not sure if coupons or discounts would be a motivator for people to post things that they otherwise might not have, but if they do it certainly works for the advertiser. Like everything else about Facebook, it’s only a matter of time that status updates evolve into something new.

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