FaceBook Algorithms & Targeting

Much has been written about the constant changing and tweaking of the FB algo. This year I feel like it’s gone from bad to worse, and post the GDPR (or General Data Protection Regulation) a few months ago, it’s utterly sh!t. (Excuse my french, but is there any other way to describe it?)

Ever since Facebook arrived (on the South African scene) circa 2007, it managed to get us all locked in and by 2012 used to using it as a primary way of advertising. When they started it was phenomenal – being able to target your actual target audience! How novel. Then for the last ~7 years we’ve become so entrenched in it – the question has become, what do we use when this no longer works?

Millennials have been leaving/left the platform in drones since 2017. (Three interesting takes on that: Over SharingYoung millennials ditch Facebook for Snapchat and InstagramFacebook is fast losing young users )

Large advertising agencies, corporations and SMBs are also moving a lot of their budgets from FB to something that is still at least delivering, like Adwords, and dare I say that even Display (GDN or premium buys) now performs better than FB Ads!

So what went wrong?

The bottom line IMO is that they veered so far from where they began, and their initial intent of being a social network – a place where you connect with people you know – to what’s become a disaster of an advertising platform.

There is no way of correcting that now.

The major culprit was that they added advertising (ironic) to such a degree that it started to feel invasive. Manipulated users feeds to show more advertising (which meant more money to FB), but in so doing alienated even more users. Then started trying to correct this, but in so doing alienated both advertisers & users, and now it’s just a big mess.

Targeting no longer works. 

Try as I might, and I’ve tried almost every combination of targeting. Narrow, broad it’s pointless. It’s as if the network is doing the opposite of what I input. Not even close to what I instructed. I’m spending the same money, but hitting the completely wrong audience – with hardly any conversions. This is not feasible in the long run at all. The worst has been in the last two weeks, where my ROI is tanking.

I’m usually pretty tenacious with technology, and have a pretty good head for unpacking algorithms. But I’m not sure how long even I will advise it as an Ad platform moving forward.

Sadly, I’m not even seeing it perform as a leading channel for assisted conversions.

So why stay?

Always the eternal optimist I’m hoping they pull finger fast and find the error in their ways. But if I don’t see corrections in the next few weeks, I can’t afford wasting money on a non-converting channel. (end sales or assisted)

What’s the next big thing?


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