The Grass is Greener.

June 1, 2016
Brett Buerck

It’s often said, “The grass is always greener on the other side.” For mobile advertisers trapped in Facebook’s “walled garden,” wiser words have never been said.

Let’s rewind a bit.

From your grandma to your college roommate, it seems everyone is on Facebook these days. Channelling all of your digital advertising efforts into the social network is a no-brainer, right?

Not quite.

There’s nothing wrong with working Facebook into your digital advertising strategy – but it shouldn’t be your whole strategy.

A closed platform like Facebook builds restrictive boundaries around your campaign, putting your message behind what mobile ad experts call the “walled garden.”

Green thumb click or not, that’s not the only place you want your mobile advertising to be.

Facebook might serve your ads, but overall, its first priority is serving itself. Facebook’s “walled garden” locks 3rd party ad tech companies out, keeping them from operating on Facebook’s network.

Because ad campaigns only gain access to Facebook’s inventory, you’ll miss out on a whole world of mobile inventory outside the walls – and you’ll miss countless chances to connect with voters and grow support.

Let’s step outside the garden for a moment, scale the wall and evaluate the advertising ecosystem as a whole. Things tend to look different from the outside looking in…

How effective is Facebook at reaching your audience?

While 58% of American adults have Facebook accounts, users skew toward younger ages and lower incomes. The most avid users tend to be low-income, young adult women. You may need these votes and want to talk specifically to those voters, but you’ll be stuck inside that “walled garden,” capturing just part of an audience, part of the time.

How often are users on Facebook?

People are actually spending less time on the social network than you might imagine. The 34 minutes dedicated to social media on a mobile phone per day are just a fraction of the average 3 hours and 18 minutes in total spent on mobile phones each day.

Remember, too, that most Facebook users are scrolling through a few posts and seeing who liked what before logging off. That’s hardly an ideal moment to receive and engage in a mobile ad.

Not to mention recent suspicions regarding Facebook’s objectivity.

Allegations have been raised claiming Facebook deliberately downplays conservative-leaning news. While Facebook claims the “trending news” sidebar relies on an unbiased algorithm to determine the most important topics of the day, a former editor alleges that popular conservative news would often purposefully be kept off.

“Facebook accused of censoring conservatives, report says”
Curators of the social media company’s ‘trending news’ sidebar purposely leave out stories from rightwing sites, a former employee has alleged

– The Guardian, 5/9/16

Recently Facebook announced that it is shutting down its ad exchange and focusing on its ad network, but with the questions raised about its true objectives, its algorithms and even how it handles displaying conservative-leaning news stories, does an expansion of its network equate to an expansion in your trust?

While Facebook said the goal of the expansion is to create better user experiences for consumers and advertisers, it also consolidates more market power behind what observers increasingly describe as Facebook’s “walled garden,” making it an even more important gatekeeper of the ads people see, or now, the ones they don’t.
– MediaPost, 5/27/16

It doesn’t for me.

“People interpreted this as a massive move into programmatic,” [Antonio Garcia-Martinez, a former Facebook product manager] added. “But they hated any idea of outside bidders having access and control [of Facebook ads]. Facebook always want to have everything owned and operated.”
– Wall Street Journal
, 5/25/16

I get it. We all know the name “Facebook,” even if we’re not users. We all know the name “Google.” These are giants in today’s online world.

But between the questions of Facebook’s treatment of conservative news to revelations that over half of the ads that Google serves are never seen, there’s a reality that advertising solely through these “giants” may be a giant mistake.

Targeted mobile advertising done right is bigger than Facebook or Google.

Our reach extends far beyond the Facebook audience, targeting mobile users as they visit apps and websites.

We aren’t limited by “walls.” We aren’t bound by algorithms or swayed by personal objectives. Our goal is simply to get your message seen, and in our case, we are able to do so advertising on 180,000 of the top apps and websites.

That means greater reach, and more importantly, reaching your voters where they are choosing to spend their time. Did you know that 90% of time on mobile is spent in apps?

Add onto that our commitment to viewability and ensuring your ads are seen by humans the way they were intended.

You have to like that.

There’s More to Learn About Targeted Mobile Advertising:

Mobile Moves Voters: A case study

The Eyes Have It: Mobile is where eyes are.

GIF: How to pronounce "GIF" and more on targeted mobile advertising.