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Social Media Marketing for Business

Dennis Yu


January 12, 2014

Whoops! McDonald’s Facebook Ad Goes Horribly Wrong

January 12, 2014 | By | No Comments">No Comments

I’ll admit it.

I really like to eat at McDonald’s.

When it comes to their french fries, there are two sorts of people:
those who like them and those who are liars.

This afternoon, I saw this page post ad show up in my newsfeed.

targeted facebook ads

Expand the comments and you’ll see this:

2014-01-13 13_14_09-(1) McDonald's

If you keep scrolling through them, there are over 3,000 similar comments.

What went wrong?

This is what happens when you run Facebook ads in the newsfeed and don’t target.

Companies like Walmart, Comcast, and American Airlines have to be ultra careful in social channels.

It’s like walking through a minefield.

Had McDonald’s or their agency asked us to optimize the ad (the content about the dollar menu isn’t bad), we’d have first targeted people in their email list and their 29.9 million fans, segmented by their life stage and food preferences.


While you can get away with mass-blast ads on TV, that strategy won’t work in social.

But our numbers are way up!

And certainly the social media agency plus the internal team are celebrating the fact that their PTAT and engagement rates have skyrocketed.

Do you think they see what’s actually happening on Facebook, as they get lambasted by haters?And the Facebook ads they keep running over the years continue to pour gasoline on the flames.

Friends don’t let friends run un- targeted Facebook ads

Readers, do you think their advertising efforts are helping or hurting them here?

What has been your experience running newsfeed ads or in boosting posts?



Dennis Yu is the Chief Technology Officer of BlitzMetrics, a digital marketing company which partners with schools to train young adults.

Dennis’s program centers around mentorship, helping students grow their expertise to manage social campaigns for enterprise clients like the Golden State Warriors, Nike, and Rosetta Stone.

He’s an internationally recognized lecturer in Facebook Marketing and has spoken in 17 countries, spanning 5 continents, including keynotes at L2E, Gultaggen, and Marketo Summit.

Dennis has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, LA Times, National Public Radio, TechCrunch, Fox News, CBS Evening News and is co-author of Facebook Nation – a textbook taught in over 700 colleges and universities.

He’s a regular contributor for Adweek’s SocialTimes column and has published in Social Media Examiner, Social Media Club, Tweak Your Biz, B2C, Social Fresh, and Heyo.

He held leadership positions at Yahoo! and American Airlines and studied Finance and Economics at Southern Methodist University as well as London School of Economics. He ran collegiate cross-country at SMU and has competed in over 20 marathons including a 70 mile ultramarathon.

Besides being a Facebook data and ad geek, you can find him eating chicken wings or playing Ultimate Frisbee in a city near you.

You can contact him at, his blog, or on Facebook.