All Articles Marketing Are you clueless when it comes to Facebook advertising?

Are you clueless when it comes to Facebook advertising?

3 min read


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social media practices and issues.

I’ve called out this audience before, going so far as to use the word “clueless.” I’ve vacillated since on whether that was appropriate. After all, we are a community, and our promise is to help one another learn and grow. That said, I find myself in another one of those moments as I reflect on results of this week’s poll. I almost feel the urge to rant, but that wouldn’t be productive, would it? Let me explain.

For this week’s question, I was inspired by a Los Angeles Times article that attributes many of Facebook’s woes to the sheer complexity of the platform. Specifically this passage:

Among Facebook’s big problems, analysts say, is that its advertising technology, although powerful, is far too complicated for most marketers to figure out.

Facebook gives marketers the ability to slice their target audience into hundreds or thousands of tiny slivers based on age, location, hobbies and preferences — and to alter campaigns on the fly based on which groups are the most responsive.

The technical skill necessary to run such a campaign, or to choose among the more than 30 kinds of ad products Facebook offers, can be overwhelming to marketers used to the simpler requirements of print and television advertising.

At first thought, I said to myself, “Who are these analysts anyway, and what do they mean ‘far too complicated?'” And secondly, has this complexity suddenly become greater because the company is publicly traded? It didn’t sit right with me.

So, to test the waters on this passage, we turned to you and asked: Does the complexity of Facebook’s ad-buying tools make you more reluctant to buy ads through the network? The results:

  • Yes: 52.81%
  • No: 25.84%
  • Not applicable: 21.35%

“Huh?” I thought. More than half of respondents think Facebook advertising is too hard, too complex? So when something is hard, that means we don’t do it?

Social media marketing is not a set-it-and-forget-it proposition. You know that, right? Frankly, no marketing is. It’s not a “simpler requirements” world of designing your ad, running it in a magazine and collecting bingo cards (remember them?) as leads. Those days are gone forever. Marketing requires analysis, learning skills, adapting, building connections and bringing creative marketing ideas to life — all things that, from what I can remember, marketers are supposed to excel at.

Don’t shy away from something because it might (or is) hard at first. To me, if you do, then maybe you are one of those old dogs who can’t learn new tricks. (Is that better than clueless?)

As an aside, Facebook provides numerous tools to learn its platform. A few:

This poll analysis was written by SmartBlogs contributor Jeremy Victor. He is the president of business-to-business content-marketing agency Make Good Media and editor-in-chief of For more of his writing, visit and follow him on Twitter and Google+.