How Facebook Makes it Difficult to Reach your Audience

/Observations/, ,

This is an interesting look at the ingrained problems that advertisers have with reaching their audience on Facebook. Essentially if you pay to promote your page on Facebook, you’re going to end up with a largely diluted audience of disengaged followers. You’ll then need to pay Facebook again to promote your post ┬áin order to reach your real audience.

Here’s the first video on how Facebook filters your newsfeed.


How did this come about?


Sometimes I see ads and I wonder what the pitch meeting looked like. This ad for Volvo is pretty fantastic, but for the life of me I can’t figure out why. It’s such an odd collection of elements, especially when you consider the likely audience for the ad:

  • Gold Volvo Trucks
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme doing the splits
  • Enya
  • An aircraft runway in the desert, at sunset

I’m not sure what the audience for these Volvo trucks is like, but I can only imagine that the client demanded an ad designed to go viral. Still, I enjoy the ad. It’s got a certain grace to it.


I keep seeing QR codes everywhere, but I’ve never ever seen anyone stop to use one. Just think, that marketer could have done something interesting instead of putting a QR code there.


I haven’t kept up with new material that I’ve been sent. When will magazines just send their editions to my Feedly account?


On the Power of Positioning

/Observations/, ,

A nice little story about positioning from Office Depot.


Don’t Waste Your Customer’s Time


Marketers require empathy for their customers. Having some compassion and respect for your customer’s time is a necessary part of building a brand that is taken seriously by its audience.

Here are two easy ways to undo that work:

Website Surveys


Here’s a great explanation of the problem with these site surveys, from Neven Mrgn:

As you’re about to take that first bite of your food, the server puts a comment card between you and the plate: PLEASE RATE OUR RESTAURANT

Pointless Emails

From Zach Holman:


Kill me if I ever work for a company that carpet bombs their customers with shit like this.


Steve Jobs Branding Lecture from 1997


The thing that stuck in my head about his explanation of branding is the notion that the audience has so little room in their memory for your brand, that you had better distill your core values – things that your brand believes and will never stop believing – into a concise message that you apply consistently.

Some of the other rules of advertising he lays out, Apple would go on to break in the next 15 years (or so). The famous “I’m a Mac” campaign was devoted entirely to talking about Apple’s rival, Windows.


Apple’s Advertising Folly

/Observations/, ,

While it’s easy to pick on a company that gets so much right, Fast Company did a great job pointing out the problem with Apple’s ad shown above. The ad opens with the words:

“This is it. This is what matters. The experience of a product.”

The problem is that the ad should open with:

“This is it. This is what matters. The experience of a person.”

Apple should be showing how their products enrich the lives of their users by complimenting their lives. Instead the products are shown as the end, instead of the means.


Maentis: Universal Unbranding


The Maentis art collective has created this series of satirical logos. Some of these are pretty clever.





Designing without research is like getting into a taxi and just saying, “Drive.”
Facebook Research