Give the Finger

Facebook Sponsored Story Haters & Spammers

Friday, March 8th, 2013

Facebook has become a useful tool for content marketers who want to get their message in front of a new audience. Unfortunately, this conflicts with many Facebook spammers who have decided Facebook should be free of any advertising.

I thought I’d share something that you should prepare for if you do decide to use Facebook as a marketing tool with your business.

Facebook Bill

I’m also going to introduce you to a bunch of people just like Bill. Bill is one happy Facebook user; he also enjoys long walks along the beach where he enjoys his retirement.

There isn’t much that Bill isn’t happy about – until he sees your ad of course. When that happens, he’s going to send you a message – something like this;

Bill Doesn't Give A Rats

Now I know at this point, a number of you are feeling intimidated. I mean, take a look at the stare-down Bill is having with the bacon on the end of his fork! Who would want to enter into a staring content with this man? Not me that’s for sure.

But why the hate and specifically, what do rats have to do with it? Well, we found quite a few people just like Death Stare Bill who weren’t happy with our ads, so we thought we best warn you what might happen if you choose to use Facebook in your marketing mix.

We’ll share more of our fan mail later, but for now you need to ask yourself an important question.

Why use Facebook anyway?

One of the great things about Facebook marketing is your ability to target your audience based on a wide range of factors. These are;

Location – right down to the cities you want to target, or you can run campaigns at a state or country level.

Age – Choose who you target according to age.

Gender – Men, Women or both?

Precise Interests

Precise Interests


Broad Categories

Broad Categories

Connections – You can advertise to Anyone, Only people connected to your business, or the opposite, people not connected to your business. But there’s also the ability to use Advanced connection targeting, where you can target people connected to your events, apps or pages.

Relationship status – All, Single, In a Relationship, Married, Engaged, Not Specified

Language – English etc…

Education Level – In High School, In College, College Graduate or Anyone

Workplaces – Target someone based on their previous employment.

So what did Typical Business advertise that upset so many Facebook users?

We have been running small low budget campaigns when we publish a new podcast. This helps us get the word out about our podcast along with reaching out to those interested in business, leadership, digital marketing and how-to-guides.

If you ended up on our targeting, you would have seen a small ad in the right hand side similar to this;


But we also wanted to run some sponsored stories. These are more personal and can be highly effective. Essentially, if one of your Facebook friends likes something, you can find out about it if the business advertises it using these methods.

TB Sponsored Stories

We had a terrific response. Each day, more people LIKED our sponsored post, plus we now have 69 LIKES on our Facebook fan page – up from 12 before we began the campaign 3 weeks ago.

We’ve also had new subscribers to our email newsletter along with new subscribers to the podcast on iTunes.

All good from our end – spending on average $10 a day.

But we did get some Facebook haters.

Haters and Spammers on Facebook

Facebook TommyFacebook Tommy got the ball rolling… Onya Tommy!

Tommy looks like a cool enough guy, and he’s a fireman which means he is out serving the community day by day. Awesome stuff Tommy the tank engine!

By night, he spreads Internet spam and becomes an online menace.

Facebook Tommy Spam

Ok so that’s not very aggressive, just annoying that is gets added to your timeline – especially when other Facebook users have actually LIKED your sponsored post and found it useful.

Brett thought Tommy’s comment wasn’t to the point, so he thought he’d explain the sentiment he felt, by sending us multiple spam centipedes.

Bretts Spam Centipede

Facebook Alan however was much more to the point. Forget spam – he just wanted to share his disdain for anyone who makes Facebook viable as a business by advertising on the platform.

Alan is pissed

It gives you a funny feeling when someone point blank tells you where to go. It actually takes you a bit by surprise that someone who doesn’t even know you treats you this way. So, we took a closer look at Alan’s Facebook page and found out he’s a big fan of the 1980’s game Defender – but unfortunately for Alan he really sucks and only has a high score of 10,000.

Facebook Alan Defender

That’s pretty lame. When I was 9, my highest score was closer to 75,000 Alan. You might want to spend a bit more time playing on your Atari without being distracted by your Facebook feed.

And here is where we meet Facebook Chris.

Facebook Chris

Based on Chris’ profile picture, we can only assume he suffers from Dwarfism. Which probably explains his small man syndrome when he fired up his little belly and wrote this flaming post;

Angry DwarfIt’s a shame he’s a role model to his daughter. I wonder how she’ll feel when she sees her dad posting things like this on Facebook. Oh well. Sadly, while Chris doesn’t like Typical Business, he does like Lego.


Now, we didn’t strategically target Lego lovers, so I’m not sure how Chris managed to see our sponsored posts. Nevertheless, now we know there are a few Lego fans out there that don’t want to hear about business while they’re playing in Lego land, we can add them as a profile of who not to target in our campaigns.

Facebook Christopher returns the favour back to us, even though we didn’t actually spam him, he does spam us;

Facebook Christopher

Sometimes, you get your demographic totally wrong – and when that happens, expect Jim the Bum to appear;

Facebook Bum Jim

There’s something profound when a Bum gives you marketing advice. We’re trying to channel our Chi to find out just what this means, but for now we’re going to have to disagree with Jim’s wise words. After all, there’s a good chance talking about business with a bum is going to get them upset.

No Mates Graham put us in our place – and had us really concerned that his social influence would negatively affect our brand forever – and totally shut down our business;

No Mates Graham

He’s never going to deal with any business that intrudes on his Facebook page (erm… including Facebook?). We’d be more worried about this if he had a significant circle of friends, but since he only has 13 (half the population of Tasmania) we’re not that worried.

Here’s hippie Greg – giving us all the YO PEACE BROTHER sign… He’s a pacifist and loves sipping tea around a bonfire with good friends.

Hippie Greg

So we were as surprised as anyone when Greg cut off his dreadlocks and got in our face with this;

Greg The Motherfucker

Greg’s profile also includes this great Karma picture;

Gregs Karma

My guess is Karma will send him a stranger in the street to abuse him next time he wears a brand name on his T shirt – “Get your fucking advertising out of my face”

We also ran this ad on Facebook recently;

Facebook Ad #2

And it was offensive to some;

Offended MurrayUnfortunately for Murray, we couldn’t see how the ad was offensive, so we just had to assume he was looking at a different offensive ad. He does look quite old, so it’s a safe bet he forgot what ad he was looking at that offended him.

All of the above responses came when we specifically targeted our ads to men that also suited a profile of business owners or showed an interest in leadership or digital marketing. So, in our next lot of sponsored ads, we decided we’d like to target the same demographic, except this time we would only target women.

Would the women be as angry or as aggressive as the men on Facebook?

Well after almost a week of advertising to women only, we can report only 1 complaint coming from Deb.

Deb's Rant

Deb’s a little psycho to say the least. She flies right off the deep end over an ad, on a free platform that she doesn’t pay to use. I wonder if she feels the same way when ads air on free to air television. Or perhaps when she’s driving to work listening to the radio. How about when she drives past a billboard on the side of a street. Does she look like a psycho woman with tourette syndrome every time an ad comes on?

Why do Facebook users feel they have the ‘right’ to bypass advertising? After all, almost every single web site now has some kind of advertising or overtly displays a corporate message.

If you’re considering Facebook advertising, be aware that some people won’t like it. They’ll go out of their way to tell you. I wouldn’t be discouraged, you’ll never please everyone all of the time. For Typical Business, we’ve now connected with some amazing people who appreciate the time we take to create interesting content. We in turn appreciate those people giving us positive feedback.

Whatever the case, share your thoughts below on Facebook advertising – is it good for business or is it damaging?

Kate Luella
Kate Luella

haha - yes I've heard there is the occasional idiot who doesn't realise you've paid to be there, that's probably FB's fault tho... not the suckers paying!  I don't understand why you blotted out their surnames, it's FB, you should share them!   And such lovely people aren't they...   Well Said Typical!  :)


Superb post guys! I too have been accused of spamming when advertising on Facebook, ironically the profile of the hater completely fitted the demographic that I targeted, but I was accused of not targeting my ad lol! - ho hum! Keep up the great posts :-)

Steve Fitzpatrick
Steve Fitzpatrick moderator

 @Kate Luella Thanks Kate! - We did give it some thought on the surnames, but thought better of it in the end.

Steve Fitzpatrick
Steve Fitzpatrick moderator

 @AliBurdenBlake Cheers Ali - glad you like it. We were in the same boat and chose our demographic carefully. I guess not everyone in business wants to hear about new business ideas?

Kate Luella
Kate Luella

 @Steve Fitzpatrick  @AliBurdenBlake  perhaps they should consider paying for an AD free FB then --- -hmmm not so worried about the ads now are they!...


I loved the one who said "My personal space" - LOL