Facebook Advertising = Targeted Traffic?

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Just a few days before Facebook's IPO, the Wall St. Journal raised an issue that's been around for quiet a while about the efficiency of the Facebook advertising campaigns and the fact that advertisers has little or no way at all to measure the bottom line results.

The question is whether the Facebook advertising is actually a targeted traffic source or is it just a way to get fans to "Like" your brand?

Before we get to dealing with this issue, Facebook is gradually unavailing its new advertising system which is improved and more sophisticated in a way that it directs you to the result you as an advertiser are interested in = Likes or Sales.

This system also integrated the use of in depth data taken from the Open Graph which Facebook introduced a while back and is being used by app developers as well as webmasters to integrate data with Facebook. The bottom line of the Open Graph is that Facebook now knows a lot more about its users and you don't need that a user publicly declared of having an interest in something, now that user is "marked" as having an interest in something in case he or she were watching a certain video clip, read an article about a certain topic or even have friends that are interested in something and they have participated in a conversation about it.

Back to the new Facebook ads system which enables better segmentation as well as use of mobile data that was not available in the previous system (users that use the Facebook app with Iphone, Blackberry and so on).

One thing is for sure, when it comes to targeted traffic, Facebook will never be Google. That is unless they will roll out an in app search engine that if users will actually use it will be the beginning of the end for Google. We will not compare user searching for keywords having ads displayed based on their exact keyword string, but instead ads are displayed based on the interest of the user. This means that if the user is engaged there's a chance he will be interested in a wedding ring, then again, there's a chance the wedding ring has already been bought and then the ad is not targeted.

While it's not targeted it's a cheap way of branding, there's no argue that big brands are using Facebook and friends of friends to expose their brand to as many potential customers as possible. This means that as long as there's a need for branding, Facebook ad system will always be relevant.

As Facebook constantly evolve we will probably see advertisements based on keywords in user's posts. For example: A user will post that he has an exploding head ache and will be displayed an ad for Advil. This is truly targeted and the future of advertising on Facebook but there's still a long way to go.

Botton line: If you are looking for targeted traffic, unlike free traffic, stick with the old school keyword based or media buy as the results will be much better.