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Advertisers versus Facebook and Google: why money goes down the drain

Photo: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay

Photo: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay

You have spent a huge budget on an advertising campaign on Facebook and/or Google—and the "bang for the buck" has turned out to be several times lower than expected? It seems that the targeting was made, and a lot of money was spent, but the result is still almost zero? In addition, it is impossible to contact live company representatives in order to find out the reason for the failure—soulless sites are marching users around and around the same pages with instructions? We have come all this way ourselves and talked to experts to tell you how not to fall into such a trap.

No time to explain—pay more!

While the Australian authorities have decided to force Google and Facebook to pay local media for links to their content, it is difficult to imagine in Ukraine not only a lawyer demanding one of the tech giants to disclose their algorithms in order to pay journalists.

Anyone who demanded from Google or Facebook to at least answer the question—"Why the money spent on advertising on your platforms did not bring the promised coverage"—would also be surprising. Taking advantage of their power and almost complete duopoly, both giants simply ignore the outrage, complain many Ukrainian advertisers.

Eldar Nagorniy
Eldar Nagorniy
CEO at Foxminded Software, CEO at SMS Marketing School

Facebook ad accounts support service is poor and poorly organized. At one time, their manager told me that they do not support small advertisers. To my question: "What do you mean under the term''small"?", he replied that it was about the advertisers with a monthly budget of less than $20,000. And this is the vast majority of small and medium-sized businesses.

Add to this the lack of an official Facebook representation in Ukraine, and things get really bad. Another question, to be honest, in most cases, the ineffectiveness of advertising on Facebook and Instagram is due to the extremely low level of targetologists who work with our advertising accounts. They just don't know how to optimize ads and don't know how to analyze their results.

What Google and Facebook answer

In order to find out the position of Google and Facebook on this issue, we sent information requests to representatives of both tech giants. The representative of Google in Ukraine, Iryna Komisaruk, told The Page the answer from the company's press service, confirming that Google has no great desire to personally argue with disgruntled advertisers.

Quote"Google does not have an official procedure for challenging the results or metrics of advertising campaigns. There is a procedure for refining figures if the data does not match in different Google services (for example, Analytics and Ads). It is described here, the user takes all the steps in it independently without the participation of Google specialists," the message said.

It turned out to be not so simple with Facebook. Attempts to contact the company's press service turned out to be no easier than attempts by advertisers to contact support. In the process of searching for contacts, we stumbled upon an amazing legend that once someone managed to contact a living representative of Facebook, and then only because he had an old email of a company employee from the time when it communicated with people.

As a result, we had to go the same way and get the email of the representative of Facebook in Ukraine Kateryna Kruk, who redirected us to the company's support service. We had to wait for the response from Zuckerberg's people a little longer. We received the answer, although, in fact, the same as from Google, but a little more detailed.

Michal Grzegorczyk from Facebook CEE Communications Team in Central and Eastern Europe explained to The Page that there should be no mismatch between expectations and reality. All statistics for each ad are shown in Ads Manager and can be monitored. However, not all figures in it are accurate.

Quote"Potential cover is not an estimate of how many people will actually see your ad and can change over time. The number of people your campaign will actually reach depends on your budget and content performance. You can find out more about troubleshooting some content performance issues, for example, here," wrote Mr Grzegorczyk.

In addition, he sent us to read all the same Talmuds of instructions that you come across when trying to reach a living company’s representative.

"There are tons of useful articles on the business support page, I also highly recommend you take a look at the Facebook Blueprint treqaining courses," Grzegorczyk added.

He also spoke about free online marketing courses from Facebook in Ukraine.

Speaking of education, a few weeks ago we launched Boost with Facebook, a free interactive online learning center for small and medium businesses (in Ukrainian). The website will feature webinars on web presence, creative content making, and examples of effective use of digital tools by Ukrainian companies to help them resume work after blocking.

Michal Grzegorczyk

Michal Grzegorczyk

CEE Communications Team in Facebook

Is it possible at all?

Thus, advertisers who have not received the expected result from the purchased service are left alone with their problems. However, legal experts take the side of the tech giants in this dispute.

Formally, both companies are doing the right thing, Oleh Prostybozhenko, Head of the National Bar Association's Civil Law and Procedure Committee, told The Page.

In this situation, from a legal point of view, Google and Facebook are right. In fact, two subjects enter into an advertising agreement, one side is dissatisfied with something and asks to disclose the code that is secret. Therefore, the non-disclosure of this information is legitimate. It would be surprising if the government made it a law. In this case, you have to go to court and prove that the targeting was wrong or dishonest. The court must force the defendant to disclose the algorithms and determine whether the service was provided properly.

Oleh Prostybozhenko

Oleh Prostybozhenko

Head of the Civil Law and Process Committee of the Ukrainian National Bar Association

Knowledge is power

However, as we understand, in the Ukrainian reality, such attempts are doomed to failure. The conclusion from this whole situation is obvious: contacting representatives of Google and Facebook, as our personal experience has shown, is a thankless task. To sue is useless.

It is much easier and more productive to solve the problem by approaching it from the other side. Namely—start with yourself and, no matter how difficult and boring it may be,—delve deeper into the study of targeting and Internet marketing in general in order to more effectively spend your advertising budgets.

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