2020 Israeli Elections & the Facebook Ads
Israeli elections number three here we come. Hopefully, the 23rd Knesset will be a charm. But again, we are all getting ambushed with ads from different parties. I got an ad on Facebook from a party that I really don’t like. (I won’t give names because let’s not make this political.) My immediate reaction was to react to the ad with an angry face. But as a digital marketer, I knew better since I know how Facebook ads work. Angry face = engagement.
Secret 1: With Facebook, any type of reaction is positive.
Facebook doesn’t really care that the post makes me angry or sad. Happy, laughing, angry or sad, it’s all the same. The ad got me to react in some way and that’s all Facebook cares about. Facebook got the signal that it’s worth showing this ad since its obviously getting my attention.
Commenting angrily would be no better. It’s all the same. They delivered me a message and it got me engaged enough that I expressed my feelings by having “reaction”. Considering I am one of the thousands that are seeing this ad and feel strongly in one way or the other, they will keep sharing this message and enjoy all the money they are making off of the third round of heavy election advertising.
Secret 2: Watching a video ad even without clicking is positive in Facebook’s opinion.
Once, I made a mistake that I will try not to repeat. I watched an election video ad made by a party that I don’t see eye-to-eye with. Curiosity got the best of me. Even without a single click, Facebook saw that I watched every single second of that one-minute movie. Bad move. I was engaged. Even if I wanted to smash the screen (I didn’t really. I am bored of being passionate considering this is the third time doing this in less than a year), watching is engagement. Oh no.
I know that if Facebook decides an ad is worth showing then it will show it more and at an even lower cost. So, expressing my dislike and anger would actually help a party that I didn’t agree with show their ads to more people at a lower cost. Yikes! Was there anything I could do besides scrolling past the ad? That passive move is definitely better than watching, but I could be doing better.
Secret 3: With Facebook, not wanting to see an ad is the worst legitimate response you can have.
Here is another secret. Facebook is all about the user’s experience. It’s OK with them if I am furious, but it’s not OK with them if I am not interested in the ad at all. Giving them a clear signal that the ad annoys me and bothers me and I don’t want it in my feed ever again is what they take seriously. I don’t mean reporting an ad that is not objectively offensive. That’s just low. I mean clicking the dropdown on the top right corner of the ad and selecting, “Hide ad”. If enough people who don’t want to see an ad whether it’s because it’s repetitive, not relevant or upsetting, it causes Facebook to give the ad a lower score and thus raises how much budget the ad will use.
Moral of the story: digital marketers are dangerous. Don’t mess with us. I joke. More like, be careful when you watch or react to a post. You may actually be helping someone with an agenda that you don’t agree with at all. And now, let this please be the last round of Israeli elections for awhile.