Looking at the ads on the side of your newsfeed could represent a funny glimpse into how Facebook perceived you and what you may be interested in. Sometimes, this would be very suitable whereas other times it could be wrong or just downright depressing (ads beginning with ‘Still single…’). The question is, how many people have actually acted on these ads? In June Reuters answered that with a poll on Facebook ads that said 80% of users had never clicked. This is just one bit of bad press for the social network this summer, with claims that a large section of their users are fake profiles, and a disastrous floatation that has seen their shares plummet 48% from their initial offering price.
In order to fix this and increase their income from advertising, Facebook are test-running ads for pages that users have not subscribed to. How intrusive this will be is yet to be see. They will look like normal posts as if you’re subscribed to the page, but will be marked as “sponsored” like a print advertisement.
If you watch The Social Network, no doubt you will chuckle at the scene where Mark Zuckerberg drinks Scott Parker’s kool-aid about Facebook being the cool party that everyone wants to be at; and that monetising the site through advertising would put people off and dilute perception of it as a “hip” product. Oh, how times have changed.
We get it though. Facebook is no longer the brainchild of some undergrad in his dorm, upset because he can’t get into a fraternity. Now, it’s an investment for many, and a way of life for many more. Like a fictional work released to the public, it no longer belongs to the creator.
Facebook constantly updates its look or features and most of these changes are met with instant dislike. Maybe some people have used Facebook less and less since the updates, but few make the big step and actually deactivate their account. I can say from personal experience that the place Facebook has in my life has changed exponentially from what is was 2 years ago. However, that happens with most things, as circumstances change; the fact that I’m no longer at University is probably the reason I don’t have a thriving social life to manage on Facebook, in the form of society events and procrastinating from studying. It’s the same with a majority of my friends; we just don’t have the same time or needs to use Facebook in the same way. The question is: when we do decide to check in, will we have time to stare at sponsored ads?
Depending on the frequency of the ads, I don’t think it will be all that bad. I have many friends who post things I don’t care about or at which I shake my head; all I do is simply scroll down and ignore it. I guess it’ll be the same with the ads.
If these ads are somewhat tailored to our interests then that would be better. As long as my feed isn’t plagued with stories from pages I have no interest in, then I can live with this next change. Facebook needs to do something to counter what has felt like a very turbulent month for them. The move seems to say more about the big picture of where Facebook came from and where they are now, as is the case with many businesses and the problems that come with expansion.
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