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  • Arooj Ashraf

The Algorithm Hates You: Media Buying Mistakes

There are many ways to generate traffic to your sales pages and website. The long-term SEO game and never ending quest to rank high takes years. Unless, you are in a highly specified niche.


The organic method of engaging through direct relationships and messaging. Posting and leading with “value” based content and driving traffic to platforms is time consuming. It also requires continuous effort.

You stop posting.

The leads dry up.


Then there is the “fast-track” method of buying media, aka, ads. This can be in magazines, podcasts, blogs. Or social platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. Search engines like Google.


I want to address the most commonly exploited and villainized: Facebook ads.


The algorithm Hates You. This is the most common frustration among amateur media buyers, but it just isn’t true.


The algorithm is more intelligent than the combined knowledge of human geniuses. It has been designed to gather data on every micro action of billions of people around the world. It does it with eerie accuracy. However, it is still a data driven algorithm.


Not an emotional, or logical sentient being.


The problem with merging human psychology triggers with media buying is that clash of competing purposes.


The success of working with the algorithm without becoming bankrupt with increasing costs lies in three things.


Patience

Realistic Expectations

Resilience



Patience:


If you are not comfortable with being told that your hypothesis is wrong, the Facebook algorithm will test your nerves.

Data does not lie.

If your ad is not performing as expected there are many considerations that need to be looked at.

Audience

Copy

Art

Placement

Offer


Get comfortable with creating, tweaking, recycling, testing, re-testing.

Do not expect immediate results, especially when testing a new pixel. (A Pixel is the tracking code that identifies your target audience based on their engagement, activity, demographics etc.)


2. Realistic Expectations. As outlined above in patience, having realistic expectations is also important. The more information the pixel has on your customers the better it is able to find identical prospects that behave and interact virtually like your customers. Without that existing data to mirror, the trial and error phase is longer than the magical results most media experts are showing in their testimonials. Understanding where you are starting from is important. Over time as the Pixel matures, the performance metrics become more predictable. And results become systematic.


3. Resilience. The algorithm is a constantly evolving data machine that is being monitored by a platform highly motivated by retaining its dominance on keeping billions of active users. Facebook’s allegiance and profitability depends on retaining users.


Without users, advertising is pointless. Eyeballs and sticky fingers, are literally what you are paying for when running ads.

Because user experience is a high priority for Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook empire (Instagram, WatsApp, GIF) the way ads work are constantly being changed.


The platform closely monitors consumer dissatisfaction, and limits or outright bans accounts that agitate its users.

This can happen when users don’t engage with your ad. Report the ad. Complain about their experience after BUYING from the ad.

Facebook, also recognizes when you are a media buyer not interested in creating that pleasant experience for their users. It charges you more for getting that attention, until you can not afford to play.


Buying ads on Facebook is like having a fine tuned machine that is constantly giving you feedback. If you are willing to listen, learn and change you will win the game. If not, you are most likely going to be convinced that the algorithm hates you. Forever.


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