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AskMe advertisement video
July 5, 2012 5:06 PM   Subscribe

AskMe advertisement video?

Just noticed there's a video advertisement for AskMe when viewing the page as a non-member, what's up with that? Who are the two guys? Is it part of a series advertising MetaFilter? I don't recall ever seeing ads for MeFi itself before, but I guess I hardly ever log out.
posted by odinsdream to MetaFilter-Related at 5:06 PM (42 comments total)

You mean this?
posted by laconic skeuomorph at 5:13 PM on July 5, 2012


Yeah, it was noted a couple months ago soon after it went up. I felt like since I underwrite Jesse's shows people showing up to the front page could use a little helper text explaining the site and I remembered that video they made for the first episode of Put This On which I kickstartered (to get the ad produced). So I asked them and they said they were fine with me putting it up there so I did.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:14 PM on July 5, 2012


You should have multiple videos for multiple " average questions " that are randomly rotated. Or something.
posted by The Whelk at 5:15 PM on July 5, 2012


Rotate by category? Select video by IP, one for people from North America, one for Europe, one for proxies (video done by people with paper bags over their heads).
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:31 PM on July 5, 2012


Does metafilter ever do any actual advertising? I know a lot of times it's word of mouth and media coverage, but wondering if you ever do any paid advertising? I would count the underwriting, but I already know about that. Just curious.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:32 PM on July 5, 2012


Ask Metafilter underwrites Jesse Torne shows with a little radio ad but that's it as far as I know.
posted by The Whelk at 5:34 PM on July 5, 2012


Yeah, I sponsor a couple podcasts, a couple bike teams, etc, but that's about it.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 5:36 PM on July 5, 2012


How much would you pay me to tattoo the mefi logo/URL on my face?
posted by desjardins at 5:42 PM on July 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


How much would you pay me to tattoo the mefi logo/URL on my faceass?
posted by deezil at 5:48 PM on July 5, 2012


How much would you pay me to tattoo the mefi logo/URL on my deezil's face ass?
posted by pompomtom at 5:51 PM on July 5, 2012


Links to MetaFilter ( actual www.metafilter.com links, not links to the same material) show up on reddit occasionally. That's like advertising, right?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:07 PM on July 5, 2012


I like to think of myself as a living, breathing testament to Metafilter's powers.

Maybe that's why everyone avoids me in crowds....
posted by The Whelk at 6:09 PM on July 5, 2012


That's like advertising, right?

No, that's not like advertising.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:01 PM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


How much would you pay me to tattoo the mefi logo/URL on my face?

$20. SAIT.

I've been trying some advertising stuff for my site to increase readership. I took out print ads, I took out google ads, I did a Facebook ad. Some $500 on I didn't see jack in a bump. So it made me wonder if you'd actually seen a return.

Thanks for answering, Matt.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:07 PM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's like advertising, right?

No, that's not like advertising.


Isn't like-based advertising that thing they do on Facebook all the time?
posted by hippybear at 7:19 PM on July 5, 2012


I've been trying some advertising stuff for my site to increase readership. I took out print ads, I took out google ads, I did a Facebook ad. Some $500 on I didn't see jack in a bump.

That's interesting. Especially about the Facebook ads, because I've wondered how effective those are. I read that you can target them somewhat, to control what types of users see your ad. Personally, my eye learns where ads are placed in webpages and mostly I don't ever (consciously) see them. I figure that's probably typical.

What sort of paid advertising does work, if any?
posted by cribcage at 7:35 PM on July 5, 2012


Facebook ads have been pretty terrible in my experience, but they're also really cheap and easy to use, so they tend to fall under the "why not" category.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 7:42 PM on July 5, 2012


Isn't like-based advertising that thing they do on Facebook all the time?

People have more and less cynical views of what's "advertising" and what's just people talking to other people about things they like that may include things that are available to buy. Advertisers would like the line between those things to be as blurry as possible. I think it's pretty important that it be clear whether someone tells you they like a thing because it actually serves a purpose in their life or because they're part of a "street team" for that particular thing.

I have no idea what they do on facebook. However if someone goes over to reddit and links to something on MetaFilter, I can assure you that it's not because anyone from MetaFilter Inc. paid anyone, ever, anyplace, in money or other actual thing you can use as currency [no, favorites don't count] to do that. That's a promise.

We're really transparent about how the money stuff works here with the exception of listing actual dollar amounts. mathowie underwrites some things that he cares a lot about which puts the MeFi name on them, but we don't do any "Hey you should know about MetaFilter" advertising that isn't linked to those things. However we do get a lot of incidental traffic from Google and word of mouth and links elsewhere. These sometimes encourage people to pay $5 for a membership. That's not how MetaFilter makes the bulk of its income. We don't have a product to sell that isn't just having an interesting well-run site for of worthwhile people where folks like to spend time and share interesting content and answer questions. It makes it a little difficult to categorize.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:49 PM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


How much would you pay me to tattoo the mefi logo/URL on my faceass?

heh...faceass.
posted by phunniemee at 9:04 PM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


This seems like a good a place as any (and I fully that "nowhere" might be the best place of all):

I was getting coffee a few months back while wearing my MetaFilter shirt, and the dude behind the counter fucking LIT UP when he saw my shirt. Just got so excited. I was like third in line, and he was just dying for me to get to the front so he could say something. When I finally did:

Coffee Dude: Wow, you must be a huge Jesse Thorn fan!
Me: What now?
Coffee Dude: Your shirt! MetaFilter! That's that Jesse Thorn thing, right?
Me: Which... oh, you mean like how they advertise on his show?
Coffee Dude: Right! Isn't Bullseye great?
Me: I've never heard anything Jesse Thorn has done.
Coffee Dude: ...
Me: ...
Coffee Dude: ...
Me: ...large black.

It was just such a funny thing of him having a certain expectation of what someone wearing a MetaFilter shirt meant in the world... like because he'd only ever heard it in the context of Thorn's podcasts, it didn't exist separate of that. And I'm just the asshole who likes the website independent of any touchpoint he has and ruined everything.

I felt bad and overtipped.
posted by SpiffyRob at 6:49 AM on July 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


I was at a bar sometime maybe a year or so ago, hanging around waiting for a friend's show to start, and some guy from a couple tables over saw my Metafilter shirt and informed me that "it's the best website, man. The best." Just out of the blue and I didn't know this guy and it was like him and three brodawgs and I wasn't quite up to random conversations with strangers so I didn't inquire or explain, but it was an odd interesting moment.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:39 AM on July 6, 2012


brodawgs? brodawgs!
posted by lazaruslong at 7:51 AM on July 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


A bropack.
posted by The Whelk at 8:02 AM on July 6, 2012


Whenever I wear my Metafilter shirt I'm half excited, half scared that someone might say something, but so far it hasn't happened. But I know there are MeFites in Brighton! Where are you people!?

(this non-story probably didn't deserve a comment)
posted by ClarissaWAM at 8:19 AM on July 6, 2012


MetaFilter: It's the best website, man. The best.
posted by SpiffyRob at 8:57 AM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Am I missing anything by not having my own pack of brodawgs? Beyond more fur being she'd on the couch.
posted by arcticseal at 9:04 AM on July 6, 2012


brodawgs? brodawgs!

A bropack.


A gaggle of geese.
A herd of cattle.
A murder of crows.
A pride of lions.
A keg of brodawgs.
posted by phunniemee at 9:20 AM on July 6, 2012


A linking of Mefites.
posted by The Whelk at 9:23 AM on July 6, 2012


MetaFilter t-shirts?

SOLD OUT!

Oh. Too bad.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:28 AM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm confident that the t-shirts will eventually be for sale again, limited to 20 a day starting at noon pacific.
posted by ceribus peribus at 11:30 AM on July 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yeah put me in the camp that was sad to see that shop.metafilter.com taunted me with a "SOLD OUT!" notice.
posted by mmascolino at 11:41 AM on July 6, 2012


Wrong Brighton for me, Clarissa.
posted by maryr at 1:55 PM on July 6, 2012


That's interesting. Especially about the Facebook ads, because I've wondered how effectivethose are. I read that you can target them somewhat, to control what types of users see your ad.


There is a two nights a week, slightly underground pizza place a block over from us. They are planning to go full time in the fall with the help of a kickstarter, and are starting to try to figure out advertising. They have been doing some targeted facebook advertising and then polling every week to try to figure out if it is actually working, there was a story on it on planet money, or maybe it was I thing really put together by planet money in the first place.

Just rereading the PM synopsis, it sounds like it did not do so good, but i think as the kept polling they where getting some viability, and the kickstarted did great.

Also i thought I had a piece of left over pizza, (with peppadew and arugula) but it tuns out I do not, the world is a pretty sad place, andI am a pretty angry man.
posted by St. Sorryass at 12:04 AM on July 7, 2012


A Douche of Bros.
posted by nathancaswell at 6:21 AM on July 7, 2012


I read that you can target them somewhat, to control what types of users see your ad.

I place Facebook ads on behalf of my workplace and looking at the ad console has been sort of fascinating to me as an end user in explaining why I see some of the ads I do and how I can stop some of the more obnoxious ones from appearing.

Okay, so basically these are the targeting options you're given when you place a Facebook ad...

The simplest targeting you're offered is by things like age, gender and location.

You can set upper and lower bands on the age of your target viewers. The minimum is 13 (because under 13s aren't supposed to be on FB according to the TOS) and the maximum is 64. You can always just leave the upper limit empty, but if you want to target only octagenarians, for example, you're outta luck.

The gender options are men, women or both. I don't think Facebook gives users the option to leave their gender blank or to declare themselves intersex or anything more nuanced like that. Probably because of how much advertisers want to be able to target for gender in a binary way. (If you get a chance, I highly recommend swapping your Facebook gender for a day and seeing how dramatically the ads change.)

Location gives me the options of targeting by country, county, town and postcode. The United States comes pre-filled as the default location, which annoys me because it wastes a quarter second every time I place an ad. C'mon Facebook, you know I'm in the UK and advertising on behalf of a UK company! Seriously, you can change zip code to say postcode but not alter the pre-fill? Get it together.

Next there's a box called Precise Interests which allows you to type in pretty much anything and target the people who're into it. The box uses an autocomplete because it pulls the data from the pages people have 'liked' on Facebook. If nobody on Facebook is declaring on their profile that they like 'taters' then it won't let you use this as a target for the ad.

My main bugbear for this box is that you can't combine multiple interests. If you type in theatre and video games, your ad will be shown to anybody who's declared an interest in theatre or video games, which is super-annoying if you're advertising a play about video games and want to target people who like both. It's a total pain for small companies with niche target markets, but Facebook doesn't really have any incentive to fix it because they're making their money on clients who spray advertise to large numbers of people.

There are also Category Interests, which is one of the more creepy and baffling sections of the ad console. Creepy because it targets you based on things that Facebook knows about you, but which you don't necessarily declare on your profile. Baffling because the inclusions and omissions from the list of categories frequently make no fucking sense. For the record, here's the complete list:

Activities lets you target people Facebook thinks are interested in cooking, dancing, crafts, event planning, food, console gaming, social gaming, gardening, reading, fitness, photography, photo uploading and travel.

I think some of these are based on the same 'User liked this' behaviour as the Precise Interests. They're basically just given here in tickybox format as a convenience to the advertiser. I am also absolutely sure that the division between photography and photo uploading means that Facebook will show you different ads based on how frequently you add pictures to your Facebook albums.

Business/Tech lets you target people Facebook thinks are interested in programming, personal finance, real estate, science, small business owners and early adopters. Again, I think some of these are based on 'like' behaviour and some are based on Facebook's own data about whether you were in the first million people to start playing Farmville or whatever.

Ethnic is one of the categories that baffles me, because literally the only option for ethnic targeting is "Hispanic (US)". I'm sort of assuming that they're getting the data for this from people who log into Facebook from US IP addresses but have the default language set to Spanish. I can't see any other reason they would have this option, but no others. It makes me feel kind of uncomfortable.

Events lets you target people when they move house or are about to have a birthday. It wasn't your imagination, you genuinely were seeing different ads to normal on the week before your birthday!

Family status lets you target people based on things like the age of their kids, length of marriage, length of engagement, pregnancy, generation, (Although the only generation that you can specifically target by name is Baby Boomers. Draw your own conclusions there) and people who are living in a different city to their hometown or their family.

Most of this stuff is based off user submitted data (if you don't tell Facebook how old your kids are, they can't serve you ads based on it) but some of it is stuff you wouldn't expect to be used that way. It brought me up short when I realised Facebook could use my submitted location and the submitted locations of my family members to target me as somebody who was isolated from my loved ones. I never saw any ads for the Scientologists or anything, just innocuous stuff, but it still creeped me out a little.

Interests lets you target people Facebook thinks are interested in cars, booze, charities, teaching, TV, the environment, health, home and garden, news, pop culture and politics. There are subdivisions for politics, but they both refer specifically to the US political spectrum, being labelled Conservative (US) and Liberal (US). I'm pretty sure these just map to whether you describe yourself as Republican or Democrat on your profile. There's also a tickybox for Active (US). I'm not sure where it pulls the data for how active you are politically, but I do find it interesting that you can just target people who really care about this stuff regardless of what their actual views are. There are also subdivisions in the pets category for dog lovers and cat lovers.

Mobile lets you target cellphone users, smartphone users or users of specific devices. This list has iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone and the mysterious Other. (A category I'm pretty sure I'm now included in, since I once uploaded pics to Facebook from a Nintendo DS. I think this is why I get so many ads trying to persuade me to get the latest iPhone or something. "We'll never get the Android fans, the lines are too entrenched. Quick, target the Other lovers!")

Movies lets you target movie fans in general or fans of these specific genres: action, animation, bollywood, classic, comedy, drama, family, horror, indie, musical, romance, SFF, sports and suspense.

Music lets you target music fans in general or fans of these specific genres: alternative, children's, Christian, classic rock, classical, comedy, country, dance, hip hop, jazz, metal, pop, r&b, reggae and rock.

Retail lets you target fans of beauty products, consumer electronics, fashion and luxury goods. I don't know how it's polling for this info, but it's getting it wrong since I get a ton of ads for beauty products, despite never having expressed an interest in them anywhere on Facebook. It can't just be because I'm listed as female, can it? Hey Facebook! Stop showing me hair straighteners and sparkly shoes when you could be using that part of the screen to show me local theatre productions and soon-to-be-published fantasy novels. You are wasting everybody's time here!

Sports lets you target fans of baseball, basketball, cricket, extreme sports, fantasy sports (I assume this means people who play fantasy football and not, y'know, quidditch), golf, ice hockey, NASCAR, tennis and what it adorably differentiates as Football (US) and Soccer/European Football. Proving, if proof were needed, that the Facebook ad console was totally designed by Americans, albeit possibly Americans with an irrational fondness for cricket. They may get around to adding Rugby and stuff, but I'm not holding my breath.

Anyway, that's Category Targeting. The next bit is Connection Targeting, which is also slightly Dark Arts compared to the way most people think of advertising, but is bloody useful from my perspective as the placer of ads for a small company with tiny budgets.

So, supposing you work for a theatre we'll call Hypothetical Playhouse. Connection targeting means you can post ads for your newest production that target only people who 'like' Hypothetical Playhouse on Facebook. They're already predisposed to like your company, so you should see a good return on the ads. Alternatively, you may see this as preaching to the choir and choose to specifically exclude people who've 'liked' Hypothetical Playhouse on the grounds. They'll hear about the show in their newsfeed when you next post about it and it won't cost you a dime. Hell, they're probably on your mailing list anyway.

Okay, but you can also target friends of people who have 'liked' Hypothetical Playhouse, but who haven't 'liked' it themselves. This means that when Sue-who-doesn't-go-to-the-theatre-much-but-who-loves-comedies sees your ad for a new theatrical comedy at Hypothetical Playhouse (because you did Interest Targeting on comedy fans) she will also see a little line underneath about her friend Vicky-who-sometimes-goes-to-Hypothetical-Playhouse, which says "Vicky likes this!"

Now that's valuable for two reasons, firstly because even if Sue doesn't normally click on ads, she's more likely to do it given an endorsement from Vicky whom she trusts. She may even see the little sentence as being Vicky endorsing that specific play. (It isn't, it just means Vicky has 'liked' the advertiser - in this case Hypothetical Playhouse - at some point, but most users don't realise that.) There's also an extra bonus for you as a theatre company because some people don't like to go to the theatre alone. Even if Sue had thought the comedy sounded great she might not have bothered to attend, thinking she wouldn't have anybody to go with. Now she's more likely to call Vicky and suggest they see it together. You get two ticket sales for the price of a single ad!

This is also why as a user you should be careful which companies you 'like' on Facebook. If you 'like' somebody who happens to run skeezy adverts, it means every time your friends see the skeezy ad, they'll see a line underneath it saying "Your Mefite Buddy likes this!" and you won't know anything about it. I've changed my approach to companies on Facebook since realising this.

Next is Advanced Connection Targeting, which lets you search by sexual orientation, sort of. You can search by people interested in men or people interested in women, but there's no way to target bisexuals. Similarly you can target people who list themselves as single, in a relationship, married or engaged, but they don't allow you to advertise to the people whose relationship status is 'It's complicated', who I'm sure would be a prime demographic if AskMe ever did start running Facebook ads. :-)

You can also use Advanced Connection Targeting to find people by languages spoken, level of education achieved (although not the specific school attended) and current workplace, which I'm sure is a boon to headhunters.

The last part of the console is about payment options, so you can choose to pay based off how many people your ad gets shown to or how many people actually click. You can choose to pay a daily rate or to set an upper limit for the whole campaign and risk blowing through it in 24 hours. Finally you can set a bid amount, because there is sort of an auction element to the whole thing. If Hypothetical Playhouse are offering 0.40 to put their ad in front of the eyeballs of a theatre lover and the Big Broadway Theatre are offering 1.20 for the same eyeballs, Facebook is going to show the BBT ads first and only bother with the Playhouse ads after BBT hit their daily limit. (That's over-simplified, but there's basically an element of gambling to the whole thing.)

Finally, there's a little meter built into the side of the ad console that tells you how many potential viewers you have and updates itself in realtime as you adjust the parameters of your advert. I fucking love this meter. Sometimes I start to set up fake ads just so I can see how many other people in my town also love Obscure Movie or how many local people are so into Unusual Sexual Practice that they'll admit to it on Facebook.

If your target pool of people is small (I think the cut-off might be 50ppl) they won't let you run the ad, presumably on the grounds that if you could target ads right down to an individual level then assholes would use it to gaslight people. (Or more realistically because the low returns mean it wouldn't be worth FB's time to put the effort into approving the ad.)

Once you've run your ad, you also get some demographic data on the people who clicked. Standard stuff like age, location and gender, but also stuff about what their favourite movies and musicians are, which might help you in the future if there are big spikes in the data. (If there were a ton of Lady Gaga fans among the people who liked your product enough to click the ad, you might want to hand out leaflets outside the next Lady Gaga concert. That kind of thing.) My ads are normally too small-scale to use this kind of data, I just like looking at it because it's interesting and because the fact that it's available to me at all keeps me mindful of the fact that I'm living in the future and that it's a fascinating and occasionally scary place.

If nothing else, becoming a Facebook advertiser has made me a more informed and guarded Facebook advertisee.
posted by the latin mouse at 3:32 AM on July 8, 2012 [99 favorites]


Holy smokes, I'd favorite that a hundred times if only I had the favorites to spare.
posted by nobody at 12:07 PM on July 8, 2012


Thanks for the incredible insight, the latin mouse. I'm off to scrub my Facebook profile now.
posted by Phire at 2:04 PM on July 8, 2012


You may or may not have heard about the (slightly-believable) conspiracy theory going round that the CIA was funding Facebook, a few years back.

I realised that that point, that mattered not at all whether the CIA had anything to do with Facebook, because clearly, if any creepy government intelligence had designed a social app, it would, indeed, look exactly like Facebook.

None of my other friends want to know how, when, and where I met my old facebook-pal, Mr Saddam Hussain, what groups we were involved in together, or... basically any of the myriad questions that Facebook asks me (Boy, people LOVE filling out questionnaires about themselves!).

Ever since then, I just pretend to myself that FB is sekritly the CIA/KGB etc and while I still resignedly use it, I am listed under a pseudonym, and stopped adding or confirming any personal details.
They still have a boat-load of information on me, if only because I'm sure all my friends & family fill out that kind of info, and send requests I don't confirm.
But hey, at least employers can search my name without FB popping up. :P

My RealName is mostly limited to LinkedIn, and a couple of other random posts in largely innocent areas.


(P.S. It is only a matter of time before someone DOES gaslight someone using Facebook ads. Paying to display an ad to 100 people so that your intended target gets it? Probably worth it to some people)
posted by Elysum at 8:27 PM on July 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


By the way, just about everyone has access to the ads creator. Just go here and 'create' an ad. and you can go through the various options.

Just don't create one if you don't want to pay for it.
posted by jourman2 at 9:58 PM on July 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Or create one with a ridiculously low "bid" and have it make zero impressions like I did last week. I was mostly just curious and put a max $30 buy. You can do less, I think. The suggested bid for my ad was around $.99 on the low end so I did $.10.

I may do a real ad this week.
posted by amanda at 7:31 AM on July 9, 2012


Facebook Ads are not useless, they just don't work like traditional marketing works with regards to sales.

I've done quite a few campaigns at this point, using different ads / bids / targeting / et cetera. The great thing about the facebook ads is that if done correctly, you can directly track the cost / benefit of the campaign. I set up all the ads to point to an ad specific landing page that has copy and a call-to-action that relates to the specific ad. Then I set up those landing pages in a conversion funnel in google analytics so I can monitor the clicks, bounces, and conversions. I highly recommend treating the ads this way. If you're just throwing up a generic ad that directs to your index off-site, there's just no way you're gonna know how these ads are working out for you. Also, if you're using specific targeting for ads, the clicker is going to expect the click to result in content that relates to that specific interest. It's frustrating for the user to click on something specific only to be sent to something generic.

What I tended to find was that for very specifically targeted ads, you were more likely to convert immediately, but have less total conversions. For more general ads, the conversions had a much longer tail, but there were more of them.

Either way, I've definitely been able to show that the ads at the very least pay for themselves in conversions within a month, and almost always have shown a profit. Equally important, they also result in more likes for the business's facebook presence, which in turn means future conversions as we're more likely to get our content and culture in front of that person's eyes later on.

My two cents, YMMV.
posted by lazaruslong at 9:26 AM on July 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I find the little meter interesting. If I target the ad at an individual I know in an area, using personal info till I get the target to one, can I keep putting in the Unusual Sexual Practice making it 0 until I get a hit, putting it back up to 1 again?
posted by entee at 2:14 PM on July 12, 2012


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