Facebook ads revisited

Long time no see, Facebook ads!

I recently stopped using Adblock Plus and thus saw ads at FB once again, oh the joy!
But hey, perhaps someone remembers my really, really old series of blog posts on FB ads? (Part 1, part 2 and part N, back from 2008 ūüėģ ).

No?

Shame on you.

Anyway, I think it’s time to restart the series!

Below I present a selection of today’s ads, in the same format as years ago. (Title – Content – Relevance – Origin)

  1. Title:
    Uinti Tampere (“Swim Tampere”)
    Content:
    Picture of two small kids in swimming caps. Local swimming club’s activities.
    Relevance (to me):
    Relevant. My kids are of the age and yes, they have been attending swimming lessons.
    Origin:
    Finnish / Targeted to me based on my kids ages (?), my home town etc.
  2. Title:
    Olemme auki läpi kesän Рvastaamo.fi
    Content:
    Picture of a multi-storey house. “Apua mielenterveys- ja k√§yt√∂sh√§iri√∂ihin my√∂s kes√§ll√§.” Local psychiatrist’s office, ad.
    Relevance (to me):
    Well, not that relevant. I can sometimes be a tad on the crazy side, but that’s only sometimes.
    Origin:
    Finnish / I don’t how it’s targeted.
  3. Title:
    Powerslide Suomi / Nitronstore.fi
    Content:
    Pictures of inline race skates. Inline skate brands as list, link.
    Relevance (to me):
    Relevant, Inline skating is a dear hobby.
    Origin:
    Finnish / targeted based on my hobbies and groups (plus browsing history?)

Three examples today. What should I say?

Compared to 2008, ads are more relevant to me. There’s certainly a bigger amount of advertisers (and money!), even on the Finnish market.

Targeting principles are more obscure¬†(imo) now at 2015 than they were eight years ago. Clicking the “Why I’m seeing this?” pops up the following:
One of the reasons you’re seeing this ad is because XYZ¬†wants to reach people who are similar to their customers. We think you’re similar based on what you do on Facebook, such as the Pages you’ve liked and ads and posts you’ve clicked on.”

Well, ok.

Then there’s the “Ad preferences” – interesting! Click, click and a list:
fb_ad_prefThat’s a list of things I’m interested in. Let’s click the “Other”:
fb_ad_pref_otherOh, jolly good. I liked a page (which one? Can’t remember.)
Another test:
fb_ad_pref_motherhoodErrm, what? “Motherhood” – “based on what you do on Facebook”? I’m a dad of two, mom of none. Perhaps I do motherly things, don’t know…

And one more:
fb_ad_pref_alabamaIt’s the Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University! I have no idea what’s the related page. Remains a mystery – don’t want to dig further;)

Ahem, let’s leave the list in peace now, shall we? Still a tad obscure, but better than used to be.

Summary?

Facebook Ads is¬†a big business for Facebook nowadays and generates a lot of traffic. (More on the ads on Facebook’s own pages.)
Targeting is hard and sometimes not (do read this old article on hypertargeting ads on a roommate)
Doing ads is hard, also for Facebook. (Some bad, bad examples).
Revisiting old blog articles is fun. This I’ll continue doing;)

 

Nokia (Yet Again) Chosen as “Best Web Page in Finland”

Last February I wrote about Nokia’s site chosen as “Best Web Page in Finland“.

I was skeptical then and I’m skeptical now as the same media, Digitoday, publishes almost the same piece of news. Except that the company who did the research is different.
(Article from other source in English)

At march it was Webmark who did the research, now it’s Blue White Partners.

Anyhoo.

Article (in Finnish) claims that “Blue White Partners went through over thousand Finnish corporate web sites evaluating their marketing efficiency“. Jolly good.

Marketing efficiency?
Over thousand corporate web sites?

Hmm.

Well, as I last time learned, our journalists can be quite busy sometimes. So off to BW Partners we go to find the press release!
And yes, there it is ( press release as .pdf)

Whee, this is nice.
According to press release,¬† methodology of the said research is based on “an average efficiency to attract visitors and turn them into customers, based on hundreds of thousands web sites evaluated“.

Errm, what?

And how the hell does one measure that?
And hundreds of thousands web sites evaluated?

Hmm.

Hey, there’s even more!
Again the Press Release states that “the average Blue White Score for Finnish Companies” (sic!) ” is¬† 42, still below the international average of 50″. Now, Nokia, the front-seat student of all Finnish web sites, scores 99,8 and release states “which means that only 0,2 % of companies worldwide have as good or better web site as Nokia“.

Phee.

It seems that the rating goes from 0 to 100, 0 being the lowest score and 100 the highest. 100 obviously means “The Best”, there is no better and 0 that there is no worse site. (Please do correct me about the rating¬† if I’m wrong)

The top-100 list for Finnish companies can be viewed at BW Partners Web site. All sites, listed in order of ranking, followed by score and change since the last evaluation.
(Small side note: depending on source about 8 % of (Finnish) men are red-green colour blind. If someone wants to indicate something, let’s take change, with colours, do use some other colours than red and green. Or better, don’t use colours alone, use something else. Like a minus-sign in front of negative changes?)

Anyhow, forward.

What’s nice is that I can purchase the evaluation report for only 295 eur!

Pretty cheap, isn’t it?

Conclusion and remarks

As such the evaluation portrayed here is worthless (at least to me). I don’t know the methodology,¬† I don’t know the sample and so on.

Perhaps they’ll tell in the 295eur-report the following facts left missing in the press release and articles:

  1. Exact size of the sample (“over thousand” is not that exact, you know. 1001 is over thousand, isn’t it?)
  2. Methods of evaluation (“average efficiency to attract visitors ” and so forth is not that convincing)
  3. Sites Sampled (“over thousand Finnish corporate web sites” doesn’t tell that much.)
  4. Pages Sampled from every site or the algorithm for selecting the sample (did they evaluate only the front page or what? Did they start from the root and continue to leafs?)

Most likely the evaluation will be covered heavily by Finnish media, which is somehow sad.

Still waiting for the first proper “Best Web Site in Finland” evaluation.
I’m not holding my breath, though.

(Usual disclaimers apply; I do realize that evaluation methodology can be a trade secret, as well as other data. I also realize that business is business and everyone must make a living. )

[Edit 15.45, Arctic Startup has written about the first evaluation done by BW Partners. According to linked article the evaluation score is “is made by investigating content semantics, language, search engine rank and index, and presence in social media.”]

What Irks Me About “Miehen treenikirja” (or what I personally believe sells good content)

Mr Alexander Stubb, the Finnish foreign minister, published a book about physical training and keeping oneself fit (“Miehen treenikirja“).

Mr Stubb is an enthusiastic runner, skier, duathlonist, triathlonist and so on as well as a top-level politician.

Well, fine. Great.

I do think that it’s great that a politician does something else than sits at meetings, too.

Now, the book, “Miehen treenikirja” (with Ilkka J√§rvim√§ki).
A book “that motivates a man to move and take care of both physical and mental well-being”.

Yes, I’m tempted to buy it. Really tempted.

But.

What irks me is the price. 36,40 eur for a paperback, only 157 pages?

36,40?

What irks me more is the web shop for the book. Done with frames, no proper titles for pages etc.

Again I say it: this is 2009 for god’s sake! If you want to sell something, stick to what you know how to do!
Don’t use frames (unless you know how to use them!), don’t use flash for content (unless you’re making a game/superfancy fashion site (or something like that) and know how to use it!)

Think about the price, set it to something that sells. (Well, I think Mr Stubb is going to sell his book whatever the price is, so no worries. I personally won’t buy it at this price but then again, I’m a cheap bastard.)

Try something new, like the author of “Droid Maker”.

Miehen treenikirja has the content I want but it certainly hasn’t got the means to sell it to me.

Well, it’s good we still have the public libraries in Finland;)

Be Your Own Annoyance (on Facebook Quizzes)

Facebook has it’s own ups and downs, including sometimes funny and (most of the time)¬† really annoying quizzes.

I don’t know if the quizzes in Finnish are more annoying than the ones in English, still annoying.

And know what?

I take those quizzes. I don’t know why. I hate them.

The Finnish ones are full of spelling mistakes (yhdys sana for example).
Results all either fucked up or just plain stupid.

And know what?

I still take them.

Because it’s so thrilling to see if I’m “a True Finn” or wheter my co-worker does the same things I do this summer. Or is my political view what I believe it to be?

Or the quizz about my military rank? What’s with it? My rank is what my rank is – and I certainly know what it is.

Be Your Own Annoyance

And you know what? I won’t complain more, I’ll just do a quiz of my own.

It seems, according to small empirical test, that the hip app for quizz -making is “Make Your Own Quizz” (link leads to Inside Facebook’s app-page). According to app itself:

“Making a Quiz has never been easier! Making a Facebook app has never been so fast! Make your own quizzes and turn them into your own real Facebook applications!”

Jolly good.

Ok, Iäll just go to app  at FB and make a quiz.

make a quiz-application on facebook

Above is a screenshot about the first page, fugly highlights by me. First highlight is the language – I want my quizz to be in Finnish. Second one is picture, it actually says “This is very important! It will make your quiz more popular!“.

So, I have to have a picture.

I chose one about stairs at Pispala and named my quiz to “Kuinka korkealle p√§√§set Pispalan portaissa” (how high can you reach?).

Next page was about the results, screen grab below:

Make A Quiz on Facebook, results page.

Make A Quiz on Facebook, results page.

Typed some results, put on some images.

My images, however, were too big. The “useful” error message stated “2MThe uploaded file exceeds the maximum file size of %1 bytes.“. Perhaps someone should’ve told about the file size limit earlier?

Anyhoo, downsized the pics manually, tried to upload them.

Kaboom!

Everything gone.

Oh well, another try, luckily not from scratch.

Then the actual questions!

I just basically make something up as everyone does.

Make A Quiz On Facebook - questions page

Make A Quiz On Facebook - questions page

After setting up the questions, a new app for the quiz:

Setting up the application for my Quiz

Setting up the application for my Quiz

And voila, there it is (after just one step – I won’t paste that here).

My own little quiz, whee. (Find it out for yourselves if you fancy).

Conclusions and pondering

  • Making ones own quiz isn’t that hard. That’s certainly the reason for all the annoying quizzes!
  • Result (of the quiz) can be something totally different than the maker intended as the answers and outcomes are connected in my opinion in somehow awkward way.
  • Quizzes can be used to influence people and their opinions
  • Quizzes can be used as part of marketing

All in all, quizzes are here to stay (although really, really annoying), so why not use them?

The Power of Feedback (Gefilus, once again)

I wrote shortly about Valio and it’s Gefilus-pages some time ago.

What has happened since?

I wrote a short e-mail to Valio Consumer Services about the Gefilus and SEO, linking to these pages. Short and polite reply came pretty quickly, stating that they will deliver the feedback to developers of the site.

And now?

What was earlier like this:

Sivusto vaatii toimiakseen selaimen joka tukee freimejä. Ole hyvä ja päivitä selaimesi.

Looks now like this:

Gefilus РVahvistaa vastustuskykyä. Sopii kaiken ikäisille

What can I say?

Now the <noframes> -element even has a nice little link to some other site (which sadly is the same Flash-based site as Gefilus.fi).

Power of feedback is remarkable, I’d say.

And why did I do this, someone asks?
No-one paid me any money. Pro bono. Free. Kansalaistoimintaa.

I might have just as well done nothing. Or just laughed my tiny ass off.

I didn’t. Now the problem is somehow fixed.

What else?

At the original posting I wondered who on earth makes only Flash-based sites with no proper content for search engines.

Well, who makes them?

The link at <noframes>-element leads to Vapaatila.net, or actually SEK&Grey, Finland’s biggest ad agency.

Sic.

You might as well draw your own conclusions about SEK&Grey’s own website (Flash, Whoo-hoo!), source code below:

<noscript>
<object classid="clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=9,0,0,0" name="sek" width="100%" height="100%" align="middle" id="sek">
  <param name="allowScriptAccess" value="sameDomain" />
  <param name="allowFullScreen" value="false" />
  <param name="movie" value="sek.swf" />

  <param name="bgcolor" value="#ffffff" />
  <embed src="sek.swf" scale="exactfit" bgcolor="#ffffff" width="100%" height="100%" name="sek" align="middle" allowscriptaccess="sameDomain" allowfullscreen="false" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" />
</object>
</noscript>

I rest my case.

Anyhoo, I’m glad that Gefilus is somehow better;)

Budget Sport viral marketing

I spotted some viral marketing for Budget Sport, a finnish sports dealer,  at Suomi24.fi (perhaps the biggest Finnish web discussion board).
(See the screen capture below)

Budget Sport background image

Budget Sport background image at Suomi24.fi

Hmm, well, interesting.

Image only shows at sports -related discussions. I didn’t know this was possible at Suomi24, obviously is.
Just makes one wonder how finely targeted such campaigns one could do... (And what does it cost!)