For me, Facebook is a way of stalking my new friends and liking their interests, in the hopes that they’ll like me more. I pride myself on my stalking abilities, but even I am starting to get a little freaked out by Facebook’s relentless bombardment of targeted ads.
The clothes that I viewed once on Asos, now show up repeatedly on my newsfeed, acting more as a daily reminder of my inability to save rather than an advertisement.
It seems this is a growing sentiment among Facebook users, with Sashittal noting that personally targeted ads are perceived as creepy and intrusive, rather than informative.
So at a time when the availability of demographic and psychographic information is at an all time high, how should it be used if not through advertising?
Instead of appealing to the specific interests of each consumer, marketers should focus on the behaviour of consumers online and their motivation for using social media. By focussing on this, marketers can capitalise on the power of the users, to engage their Facebook audience and generate a strong eWOM. Every Facebook user is different, and thus, each requires a different course of action in order to successfully appeal to them. Ferguson suggests that it is not through demographics that we can recommend a strategic course of action. Rather, The Facebook Segmentation Matrix (attention seekers, devotees, connection seekers and entertainment chasers) provides a sound basis for marketers to successfully engage each of the four categories in a way that is relevant to their behavioural characteristics.
Each segment portrays different behavioural patterns, and thus has a specific role in building the brand community. By understanding this knowledge, marketers can successfully use Attention seekers’ social capital to build and engage a Facebook brand community. They can harness devotees’ high-creation, high-consumption behaviour to spread brand-related content, which carries a lot more credibility than if it were coming from the brand itself. Connection seekers and entertainment chasers should be served and nurtured, for example by appealing to connection seekers through groups and events and to entertainment chasers through high ease of entry contests and interesting posts.
Maybe if more brands focussed on the diverse online behaviour patterns of their consumers, rather than using personal information to create targeted ads, we could all feel less creeped out by Facebook’s stalking, and get back to our own.