Are You There Facebook? It’s Me, Rachel

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Earlier last week, and with much anticipation (from me anyway), Facebook launched their new ad manager. I was lucky enough to get access to the beta, but I have to admit that I’m very disappointed with the new interface. Which is way worse than being angry, right?

According to Facebook, the new ad manager includes “in-line editing capabilities, improved navigation and search abilities”. I’ll admit that the in-line editing capabilities are a big step up from the previous interface, but adding a search box and the ability to edit multiple ads simultaneously just isn’t quite what I had in mind from this juggernaut.

I would love to see Facebook step it up and really take advantage of their potential, but at a minimum, the new interface leaves me wishing for more. For example:

  • How about a simple “view status” filter? The interface is still messy and it would be nice to clean it up by being able to view active ads only.
  • How about custom or trended stats without having to run a report? Or at least a “last month” and “month to date” option?
  • How about an option to view CPC and cost in the campaign performance graph?
  • I’m still waiting for conversion tracking.

I really don’t want to be a hater, as I wrote about Facebook’s ad manager being weak sauce back in May. But let’s be serious, the new ad manager is lamer than Facebook Lite and the changes made are so minimal that it’s not even worth having a beta.

This flimsy launch is just the latest in a string of issues that I feel will contribute to the inevitable downward spiral so typical in the world of social media. Last month, the NY Times came out with a thought provoking article surrounding Facebook’s shelf life. Apparently there are a small but growing number of users jumping ship for a variety of reasons but namely, privacy concerns. The article examines how the novelty has worn off now that everyone has “been found”, and that users are increasingly concerned about privacy, (which they are regularly reminded about by ads that are getting eerily more and more personal). Like the recent Gmail one that dynamically inserted my first name in the headline and plastered it to the sidebar of my FB profile page.


MySpace followed the same trend:  got creepy and spammy and users started to feel violated. And so they moved on to Facebook, a space that – at the time – was much more private.

And so between the lame new ad manager, growing privacy concerns and historical trends the way I see it, Facebook is heading towards a much less engaged audience within the next year. Unless they hurry up and bring it, Zuckerberg will be forced to reactively deal with the repercussions.

Rachel Andersen works for the Portland based SEM agency Anvil Media, Inc. She has expertise in all aspects of search engine marketing and specializes in SEO for large sites. Andersen has been responsible for the development and execution of dozens of search and social marketing campaigns over her time spent with Anvil.

Rachel Freeman

Rachel Freeman

Rachel Freeman works for the Jive Software, the pioneer and leading provider of social business solutions. She has expertise in all aspects of search engine marketing and specializes in SEO and paid search for the B2B sector. Freeman has been responsible for the development and execution of countless search and social marketing campaigns over her years in the search marketing industry.
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  • Justin Davy

    I totally agree. The fact that you can’t even see your actions from the main screen and that you have to click into each individual ad drives me nuts.

  • David Mihm

    I recently started my very first Facebook ad campaign for a client and was SHOCKED to see that they raised my client’s daily spend limit without my permission!

    How long has THAT been going on?

    Great article.


  • Rachel Andersen

    David – Yikes.

    Just wait until you have another client to run ads for. Last time I checked, you can’t have multiple ad accounts. So you would have to run it under an entirely separate FB account….

  • Justin Davy

    Also when doing an ad buy, other admins of a fan page, for example, can’t see how the ad buy is going since its account specific. Only the account the ads are being run on can see whats going on.

  • Rachel Andersen

    Justin – thanks for mentioning that. This is such a pain to deal with, and in my opinion one of the bigger issues for FB advertisers w/multiple pages to promote.

  • Lisa Williams

    Great post Rachel. I’ve asked Facebook for positive ROI case studies, but have yet to get feedback, do you have any good resources?

  • Oscar Del Santo

    Let us hope that the Facebook takes heed and that this post results in tangible improvements in the short term!

  • http://@davidbackes David Backes

    Interesting post, and I’m glad you linked that NYT article. Facebook was opened up to my school in the beginning of my freshman year, and I’ve been pretty interested in its evolution since. If the internet’s taught me anything, it’s that no matter what you do online, you’re not the only one doing it. So I figured my declining Facebook use was probably part of a larger trend.

    I agree that FBs audience will continue to be less and less engaged in the coming year, and will stay tuned to see how it all plays out.

  • Jen

    IMHO there is no conversion tracking because many less-savvy marketers would drop FB ads as nonproductive.
    In my experience FB ads definitely have good CTR, but terrible conversions.
    Sorry if this is a rant.