6 Reasons The Facebook Ad Platform Is Really Just A Terminator

If I said that the Facebook ad platform is the most powerful ad network in the world, it might sound a little crazy. It also happens to be true. Do you know why?

It’s because the Facebook ad platform is actually an experimental software-only version of Skynet’s artificially intelligent autonomous war machines, also known as Terminators. Here are the six pieces of evidence that prove it :).

Facebook Ads Can Adapt To Any Situation

The Facebook ad platform could be hiding an ad right behind you.
Turn around… there’s a Facebook ad right behind you.

When I first heard the term “machine learning”, I immediately though of the Terminator. Turns out, it’s a practice Facebook employs as well.

Unlike most forms of traditional advertising, Facebook ads have the uncanny ability to identify and respond to new circumstances. Thanks to the power of its advanced ad delivery algorithms, it constantly makes informed guesses on what it thinks will be effective, measures the results, and adapts accordingly. Facebook will not only optimize for demographics, device, placement, and time of day. It will also show successful ads more frequently than unsuccessful ones. Scary.

Just like a Terminator, once you activate a Facebook campaign, it will quickly do everything in its power to terminate your enemies generate ad results.

Facebook Ads Are Nearly Impossible To Get Rid Of

Facebook views setbacks to its ability to serve ads with curious disdain.
Facebook views setbacks to its ability to serve ads with curious disdain.

Think that running AdBlock Plus on your laptop is going to make Facebook ads go away? It’s not – 80% of Facebook’s ad revenue comes from mobile, where ad blockers have little to no effect. Furthermore, Facebook has 1.65 billion users who each spend 50 minutes per day on the social network. They’re using that time to serve about 2.8 trillion ad impressions per day.

You might eliminate one or two Facebook ads, but the reality is that you’re way outnumbered. Just like Skynet and its Terminators, your only real option to eliminate Facebook ads entirely is to destroy Facebook itself. Good luck, John Conner.

The Facebook Ad Platform Knows Everything About You

Just like Skynet, the Facebook ad platform knows everything about you.
Your knowledge about yourself pales in comparison to what Facebook knows.

Facebook Ads obtains a tremendous amount of information about who you are. It uses that information to show you an ad it thinks you’ll click. Just like Skynet (except without the whole “wanting to kill you” objective). Just take a look Facebook’s Data Use Policy to see what’s being tracked:

First, every Page you Like, post you click, photo you share, and every other action is tracked by Facebook. Did you just take 37 seconds to stare at that photo of your ex-girlfriend on vacation in Panama City? Facebook knows.

We collect… the location of a photo… the types of content you view or engage with or the frequency and duration of your activities.

Secondly, Facebook collects data from you devices, learning where your are, what type of phone you use, and EVEN IF YOUR PHONE IS LOW ON BATTERIES.

We collect information from… [the] devices where you… access our Services… [such as] operating system, hardware version, device settings, file and software names and types, battery and signal strength, and device identifiers… Device locations… the name of your mobile operator or ISP, browser type, language and time zone, mobile phone number and IP address.

Any site that uses Facebook’s Like, Share, or login platform also provides data back to Facebook:

We collect information [from] third-party websites and apps… about the websites and apps you visit… as well as information the developer or publisher of the app or website provides to you or us.

Finally, Facebook enlists the help of other Terminators 3rd party data providers:

We receive information about you and your activities… such as information from a partner when we jointly offer services or from an advertiser about your experiences or interactions with them.

Facebook Is Constantly Testing New Prototypes

The Facebook ad platform is constantly evolving.
It started off as a simple ad product, but Facebook now offers more than a dozen campaign objectives. Fortunately, none of them have red eyes or a mimetic polyalloy frame.

When Facebook’s ad product first rolled out, it was a “basic model” that only delivered ad placements on the right hand side of the desktop News Feed. Almost like the “rudimentary” T-100. But fast forward a few years, and things have gotten way more sophisticated. Placements now extend to both Desktop and Mobile News Feeds, within Instant Articles, across Facebook’s Audience Network, and even to Instagram.

Not only that, but the types of ad units has proliferated as well, with images, videos, carousels, canvas ads, and plenty of other variations. Evolutio indeed.

Facebook Ads Are Occasionally Prone To Glitches

Terminators and the Facebook ad platform are error prone.
Neither the most advanced Terminators nor Facebook ad products are error-free.

Even the most sophisticated machines are prone to glitches. Like the time my team tried to set up Facebook’s new “Reach & Frequency” delivery tool and and were told that we needed to come up with a budget that was both greater than $761.77 and less than $761.77. Oh, and Facebook’s support team told us that it would take “about 2 months” to fix the issue.

Just like that time Power Editor didn’t work. Or like that other time Power Editor didn’t work. Which was exactly like that day when Power Editor wouldn’t work at all.

Facebook Fails When It’s Submerged In Molten Steel

Terminator melting
We were completely surprised to learn that Facebook’s ad servers were also non-functional after being submerged in molten steel.

This one surprised us, too. But sure enough, when we placed one of Facebook’s ad servers in a vat of 1600° C steel, it was unable to maintain delivery of our Facebook adcampaigns. I guess no ad platform is without its shortcomings. We plan on conducting repeated tests to see if this is issue persists.

Scared? Don’t Be

No doubt that the Facebook ad platform might seem a little frightening. Who wouldn’t be a little intimated by a system that uses machine learning to target 1.65 billion people it has a ton of information on?

Cigar put out on Terminator.
Facebook is not amused by your attempts to destroy it

The good news is that the Facebook ad platform is really just a tool. As a marketer, it’s up to you to determine how to use it. Advertise responsibly. And if you get frustrated, try putting out your cigar on your monitor.

This post was originally published on Flag and Frontier, my marketing consulting business for B2B technology companies.

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