Education

Why the New Facebook Ad Methods Mean Bad News for Universities

facebook dislike

facebook dislike

Everybody at the moment is talking about the ‘ooohs’ and ‘aaahs’ of social media and how universities, recruiters, companies, Presidents, Prime Ministers and every other thing on this planet should be on social media.

That’s all well and good, but what happens when these social media platforms try different things, only because they need to make money? Traditional advertising (which can go wrong as well) is shifting and adapting to social media advertising, but a certain Facebook’s attempt with a new advertising model could be bad for universities.

Facebook Suggested Stories or Sponsored Stories

Recently I came across two posts on Facebook, I had subscribed to neither of the page. Both posts were either ‘suggested’ or ‘sponsored’. In one case, it was by OnlineDegrees.com, except they were speaking about University of Liverpool. And people who saw that post were not posting very nice comments about it. More importantly, users didn’t want to see that post on their news  feeds in the first place, and instantly users expressed their frustration in the comments below the post!

Here’s an image of the post I am talking about:

fb ad bad for unis

What Else Can Go Wrong In Facebook Ads?

The Facebook ad above is perfectly fair. An online website about online degrees advertising one of the universities that offer online degrees in the UK to someone on Facebook in the UK. The trouble? A lot of people on Facebook use it for personal reasons. And Facebook is randomly adding these ‘sponsored’ or ‘suggested’ stories in users’ news feeds. Which a lot of people think = spam.

In the above post, a lot of people commenting were having a go at the University of Liverpool, even though it had no part to play in it. What can that university do about this?

My fear is that the same will start happening to more universities. As the number of review and third-party university comparison sites like ‘Compare The Uni‘ and the new ‘Real Uni Guide‘ grows, universities can’t manage how their names are used in social media.

For example, any of the above-mentioned comparison sites can advertise on Facebook through ‘sponsored’ or ‘suggested’ stories and use any university’s name and their logo! And then all the negative comments below that post will be directed at the university.

I can’t figure out a solution for now. Maybe Facebook users will eventually start ignoring these ads, but for now, the users are having a proper go at these posts.

Good luck to universities managing their online reputation!

photo credit: iluvcocacola via photopin cc