How does Oscar Mayer know I like hotdogs?

Adventures in Uncovering the Mysteries of Facebook Demographic Targeting

If you are at all in tune with the world of social media, you probably heard about all the changes Facebook has been making the past couple weeks.  One of the big changes is that Facebook   is going to start aggregating the data from all the websites you “like” on the web and is going to make that data available to marketers.

Now, wearing my small business consultant and marketer hat, I’m absolutely drooling at the possibilities of being able to talk to exactly who I want as a customer.  But wearing my advocate of privacy and “no one needs to know that I sometimes visit certain celebrity blogs” hat, I’m leery.

But Facebook already has an awesome database available for marketers.  And my clients and I are proof.  I was working with a client on Friday who showed me the ad she had put out on Facebook last week.  She is selling a customized Sham-moo Shammy package (very similar to the as-seen-on-TV ShamWow) as a promotional give-away for companies like car dealers, marinas, motor home manufacturers, and car enthusiasts.  She had very wisely targeted men in certain age categories, in certain professions, and with certain hobbies.  In about 2 days, she had garnered 161 clicks through to her website but no sales.  But she is only spending $.32 per click, so it wasn’t outrageously expensive.    I suggested some changes to her ad and to her conversion page, and showed her how to get a code for $50 in free Facebook ad credits, and she’ll be running it again this week.

But as we were working on her Facebook page, an ad popped up for a set of exercise CDs.  We commented on how eye-catching the ad was and I said I had never seen it before.  She said she sees it every day and then said, “I think I get it because my husband and I go dancing.”  Wow.  A consumer who knows why they are being targeted.   A few minutes later, it was for a fat-burning muffin.  A little bit later, we noticed an ad for a nutritional supplement.  So on a whim, we pulled up her profile.  Sure enough, among her interests are dancing and health.

Later that evening, I got on Facebook.  And on my home page, I have an ad, no, not for an exercise CD, not for a nutritional supplement, nothing nearly so healthy.  My ad is for Oscar Mayer hotdogs.  Oscar Mayer?    The next ad that pops up is for Taylor-made golf clubs.  That makes sense, I like to golf.  Then an ad for a bouquet of flowers appears.  Ok, I have a mom and it is Mother’s Day next week.  The next ad is for real estate funding.  Great targeting because I dabble in real estate investing and am connected to lots of real estate folks. 

And then another Oscar Mayer ad, this one touting a contest to get a ride in the Wienermobile.  Oh No!  How did they know?   Is it possible that Oscar Mayer somehow has a record of everyone who has ever ridden in the Wienermobile  (which I did in 2001 – see!). 

Never thought anyone would ever find out

 Did they somehow share that information with Facebook?  Believe me, there is nothing in my profile that screams hotdog lover.  Or is there?

Let’s see, I don’t have k ids, so that’s not it.  I’m female. Females tend to do the household shopping. So they may just be targeting females of a certain age.  I love golf, reading, and … Cleveland Indians baseball.  Ah, could it be the baseball?  Nothing else really makes sense.  It has to be that they are either targeting females, people who like baseball, or maybe even females who like baseball.  Or they might just be excluding people with healthy activities and lifestyles.  Whew, at least I think my secret fascination with the Wienermobile hasn’t been leaked, yet.

But the moral of the story:  if you are getting ads that don’t seem to be targeted to you, you may want to look at your profile and figure out why.  Then think about your product or service and try to come up with characteristics that would be shared by the majority of your target audience.   How could you get an ad in front of them?  There is going to be so much data available, it’ll be your own fault if you are talking to the wrong people.

As always, if you need help defining your ideal customer or other marketing needs, just let me know by dropping an email to SuccessPointConsulting@hotmail.com.

Here’s to your success,


P.S.  Heather Tapia’s Abundance Marketing Pro series continues tonight (Monday, May 3) at 6:30 p.m. at Raisin Rack in Westerville. Tonight’s topic:  Creating a Plan of Action.  Should be great.  Check it out.

P.S.S.  Most of you have heard, but just in case you haven’t — I’m now the Columbus Business Events Examiner for Examiner.com.  Send me your press releases and event announcements and I’ll do what I can to get your events promoted and reviewed.  Also looking for event-support types of news, like venues, caterers, DJs, event planners.  It’s gonna be fun!

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