Advertising – a Facebook experiment to try yourself
Posted by shannonclark on July 31, 2007
As I have noted in other places, the major project I am working on this year is launching a new advertising network. This is a large project and over the next weeks and months I will be writing much more about it, but this post is about a simple experiment you can do yourself today. I have been paying a lot of attention to ads across the web (and elsewhere, we’re not just focusing on today’s websites in our plans).
Today I noticed one type of advertising in work. The “global cookie” model of advertising, made famous (and indeed in this specific case implemented) by Doubleclick.
On hearing, via twitter, about the news of the approval of the purchase of the WSJ I went to their website to read their take on the acquisition.
After I read the article, I went next, in a separate tab in Firefox, to Facebook where I updated my status in my Facebook profile.
As I did so, I looked at the ad on that page. It was an ad for the WSJ, the site I had just visited. When I went back to the home page of Facebook, the skyscraper ad on the left (that’s the tall ad banner) was now showing an ad for a stock trading company. In short, I had been globally profiled by the doubleclick cookie used to serve ads on both the WSJ and Facebook websites.
One of the first times I have seen this directly work in action – and one which I think everyone can probably test out for themselves.
In this, limited case, it does both make some sense and results in better ads than usually shown to me (at least) on Facebook.
I think, however, there are many much better ways to achieve higher value commercial messages. Higher value not just to the publishers who show them – but higher value to the commercial entities which pay for them. And most importantly, higher value to the individuals – such as myself – who see and have to interact with them (or as in many cases avoid them via tools such as pop-up blockers).
That’s part of why we’re building a new ad network.
But try the experiment for yourself – go to a site, such as the WSJ, then go to another site using Doubleclick (such as Facebook) and see what happens.