Opinion

Facebook pivots towards baby-boomers – and it’s about time

As teenagers increasingly think of themselves as being too cool for Facebook, the social media network may be better off targeting us oldies instead, writes Bob Hoffman

Say what you want about Facebook, they have proven to be amazing salespeople.

When they started out they convinced gullible marketers that advertising was dying and that social media, in the form of conversations, was the future. Mark Zuckerberg said… “For the last 100 years media has been pushed out to people, but now marketers are going to be a part of the conversation.

That is, until he discovered he could make billions pushing out advertising to people all over his platform and then Facebook quickly morphed into another channel for delivering traditional paid advertising.

Doing a complete 180, a Facebook spokesperson had this to say “… if businesses want to make sure that people see their content, the best strategy is, and always has been, paid advertising.” Oh.
For several years they sold imbeciles in the marketing industry the fairytale that “likes” were worth something.

When every discount dentist was advertising on Facebook, they convinced marketers that the key to advertising success was getting clicks through “precision targeting.”

But when big advertisers balked, they changed their tune and decided advertising was all about that tired old thing, reach and frequency.

The point is, if there’s anyone who knows how to blind the marketing industry with horse shit, it’s Facebook. But now, they may actually be in a position to do the marketing world some good despite the industry’s unwillingness to help itself.

According to Bloomberg, Facebook will lose over three per cent of its teen audience next year – the first year in its history it has lost any part of any audience. A few more years of this and Facebook may be forced to do the unthinkable – start selling its clients on the value of an older target.

People over 50 are the most valuable consumer group in the history of marketing. But the television and radio industries, who have plenty of over-50’s, have been totally incompetent at explaining to advertisers the incredible amount of money they are losing by ignoring this group.

The one and only media entity with the brains and skill to sell advertisers on the value of advertising to a mature target may very well be Facebook.

If so, it would be the second time Facebook stole billions of dollars in ad revenue from the asleep-at-the-wheel broadcast industry.

Bob Hoffman has been the CEO of two independent agencies and is the author of the Ad Contrarian blog

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