Challenge or Opportunity: How Should ICOs View the Recent Facebook Ad Ban?
Moments after Facebook announced a review of its advertisement policy, the cryptocurrency prices surged with the value of Bitcoin dropping by 11% this past Thursday. In the new policy, Facebook placed a ban on adverts that promote ICOs and cryptocurrency sites deceptive adverts that fuel scams. According to Dr. John Mathews, ACA, Chief Finance Officer at Bitnation, this policy will make it more challenging for new ICOs to gain visibility in the cryptocurrency space.
"This decision will make it more difficult to advertise directly to people with no prior exposure to ICOs or cryptocurrencies, and reduce the flow of new money coming into the crypto ecosystem," Mathews notes.
But with a reduction of online spaces that ICOs can run marketing campaigns on, the question of whether ICO successes can be attributed to Facebook alone came to the forefront with Vincent Jacques, CEO of Chaintrade, arguing that it is product viability that matters most.
"While having one less place to advertise your ICO could affect the bottomline, I really don't think any project in the entire crypto space has Facebook to thank for its success. If you want to truly succeed in this space, all you have to do is create a viable product that will better society, your investors, or further technology. Do this correctly and your followers will reach more than any Facebook ad ever could," Jacques says.
Despite this, there is a feeling among some cryptocurrency players that ICOs could still advertise on Facebook by tweaking their marketing language to comply with the new policy.
"Yes, the policy will affect ICOs promotion techniques through Facebook. Ads would be without mention of ICO keywords, but synonyms could still be used. We think Facebook's ads channel still works," notes WealthMan CEO, Andrei Huseu.
While Facebook's move to ban adverts relating to cryptocurrencies and ICOs may be in good faith, there are players who feel other underlying reasons could be behind the ban, other than rising scams and schemes.
"Facebook's decision has some merit of truth but I feel the real reason they banned cryptocurrencies is because they didn't want to spend the time researching and verifying the integrity of each project. It is likely that what happened is a lack of investigation that caused them to let a few shady coins through and now the outrage from the public is causing them to try to save face by simply banning all cryptocurrencies," Jacques notes.
But as Facebook rolls out its new advertisement policy, a bigger challenge could be looming. "There's a much worse problem. Facebook can't control who is registering properly. Last year marked the dawn of bots that are able to register, communicate, become your friend. This way a bot makes its content shown on your personal page," says Huseu.
It will be interesting to see how Facebook navigates this new challenge in future.
Disclaimer: David Drake is on the advisory board for most of the firms mentioned or quoted in this article.