Facebook has launched a new page designed to explain how their advertising works. Given the social and unconventional (dare we say innovative?) nature of their advertisements, it’s clear that they’re trying to steer you away from the rage that people tend to associate with ads.
Facebook recently announced that sponsored stories will officially begin being displayed within the news feed. Sponsored stories already appear in the news ticker.
Websites and revenue are generally broken into 2 categories: If you pay for a product or service, you’re a customer. If you don’t, you’re the product. Given the free nature of Facebook, we are obviously the product. Because Facebook generates revenue through ads, we will continue to see the differentiation between ads and content slip away, and it’s coming to a point where the two will co-exist simultaneously throughout the site. Ads are becoming content. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; the ads are hyper-relevant which makes them less intrusive, but there will always be those opposed.
If you step back and think about Facebook, they’re all about creating a positive user experience. Given that goal, Facebook aims to tailor their ads to a particular user rather than simply delivering a bunch of ads that you hate, or that may be somewhat relevant. You’re even able to opt out of receiving an ad by clicking on the X if you don’t like what is being displayed – Facebook will deliver a new one to you. By eliminating any barrier between ad relevance and user experience, you will remain on the site longer, and really, you probably won’t complain too much.
Facebook is already tracking ads that you’ve viewed and sponsored stories are being displayed within your feed. If you’re curious about the types of ads that may be displayed to you, you can find that information through the Facebook adboard.
Ads exist so that Facebook makes money. Running a site with 750 million free users isn’t cheap. Even given the good reasoning behind it, will you accept the new ad push? Is this type of ad introduction enough to make you want to jump ship and swim over to Google+, or is Facebook ingrained in your online identity?