Lesbians in Asia outshine straight women by a factor of 8: When Facebook Ads Targeting Fails

During our time in the JFDI Global Accelerator Network, we come across some amazing things.

This one is quite interesting as Facebook believes that there are more Lesbian Women in SouthEast Asia than Straight women. I’m not an anthropologist but common sense dictates that these results may be false.



Facebook has some very powerful targeting tools to target ads by age, gender, likes, dislikes, friends, associations, interestests, etc. Basically using Facebook Ads, I can target an advertisement so damn specific to you, that the one “like” that you had for that Rick Aistly video will be forever in their system. That’s why you keep getting Aistly’s “All Time Hits” album as a Facebook Ad.  

Recently we have been doing some tests to target Women in Singapore. During our testing we saw that Women interested in Women within Singapore has a 2x greater share on Facebook than Women interested in Men. Hmmm, common sense says this is False.

Test groups

America: common sense works here; the straight variety out numbers the gay variety by 10x, something expected.

Closer to Singapore, Malaysia: Voila, Lesbian women outshine Straight women by a factor of 8.  


Well, it seems that there is definitively a cultural divide. The current language that Facebook uses to ask your sexual preference is misconstrued and not taken in its proper intended context within Asia.  


Well, can you depend on Facebook’s targeting specifics, created for a North American audience, to market properly in Asia? Something as nominal as a question regarding someone’s sexual preference should be rather simple to ask, so how do we know our marketing dollars are going to the right audience?  For all I know, when I target 30-50 year old travellers, I could be marketing to 16-24 year old Rick Aistly subscribers. And before you ask, Indonesia is the 2nd largest Facebook population, so yes, this is relevant! Let’s get some REAL localization here Facebook!

Happy advertising!


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