How should brands appear on facebook?

It’s question I think facebook, advertisers and their agencies are still working out. For facebook, it is a relatively simple balancing act: they need to monetize their site, without annoying their users. For marketers, it is perhaps more complicated.

facebook poll

Advertising on facebook is generally non-intrusive. However yesterday I was served advertising for a dating website several times. This is despite the fact that facebook (or anyone who has access to my profile) knows that I am ‘in a relationship.’ If I am willing to share my information with you and others, then I want you to give me relevant messages.

I then noticed a ‘sponsored link’ in my news feed. It was for a movie, Hostel II, and the video trailer embedded in the page didn’t work. Content that is broken, delivering a negative brand experience.

More importantly, I’m not sure why facebook thinks I would like this movie. I’ve added the ‘movies’ application, I have not added any ratings or indicated any movies I want to see. Perhaps the fact that I added the movies app indicates I’m interested in movies in general, but I didn’t ask for a sponsored link, I’m not in any movie-related groups, and I would like a sponsored link to be at least relevant, and preferably polite enough to ask me if I am interested in it. That way I can turn it off, or request another type of sponsored link. At least there is no ‘Hostel II’ profile on facebook, as I am more likely to visit the movie’s website than to make it my ‘friend’ on facebook.

Feeling a bit annoyed at facebook for the first time, I scrolled down my news feed page to find a ‘poll of the day’, which asked what my favourite energy drink was. If you’ve been on facebook you will guess that this is most likely from Red Bull, though there was no branding to indicate this, and the results were available to any FB user that stumbled across it.

I then saw a link to ‘create’ a poll, which seemed like a fun thing to do. A few clicks later I had set up my poll, but arrived at the ‘payment’ page. Oh, so they want to monetize this feature too? Fine, I selected options based on how many responses I wanted, and by paid up (the more more you pay per response the faster the results). My 1000 responses (at 10 cents each) should come in 24 hours.

Follow the poll live here, or use the comments on this page to indicate your answer to the poll question. You can also read another facebook-related post from Adrian here.

UPDATE: live results seem to only be available to the poll author, so I will update you when it the results are in. So far ‘Not at all’ is way ahead…

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