More Facebook Ads are Bad for Users and Marketers

Over the past few months Facebook has announced a plethora of changes. We’ve stalked our friends with graph search, overanalyzed potential Timeline changes and lamented the lack of targeted advertisements on the News Feed. What? You don’t agree with that last one? Well too bad. Facebook has recently come to the conclusion that users need less social engagement and more ads.

The social network announced the new ad format in a blog post last week. Now users will find advertisements moving from the right-hand side of their page to their News Feed.

We also believe that ads delivered through FBX will create more relevant ads for people. Introducing Facebook Exchange in Desktop News Feed will not change the number of ads people see in their News Feeds.

Let’s take a look at this news from two different standpoints: that of the average user and that of the Internet marketer.

scopescreenshotThe Marketer

The main selling point for Facebook Exchange is that marketers can get their message out on the number one social network. There are very few industries that can’t connect with their audience on Facebook. The question isn’t whether businesses should use the product, it’s how they can get the best ROI for their budgets.

Their first option is the use of purely organic content: post a Facebook status on your page and hope it gets displayed in the algorithm. This is the roulette wheel of Facebook marketing tactics as the probability that your fans actually see your post is shrinking.

The second option is paid advertisements. Brands bid to get placed in front of whichever demographic they want. They can choose to be in the side column or smack-dab in the News Feed. Facebook claims users won’t be subjected to an increase in ads so brands will have to rely on strategic demographic targeting to get in front of the right people.

Paid or otherwise, marketers on Facebook walk a fine line between strategy and luck to get eyeballs. Facebook’s algorithms determine how many sponsored posts there are and which posts get onto the page. Plus companies have to compete with organic posts and other sponsored posts to get noticed. There’s too much noise.

dislikebutton4.1The User

Let’s be real, no matter how many petitions you sign, Facebook isn’t going to backtrack on any changes. And frankly, we’re much better off with Timeline than we were using the app laden interface circa 2007. Users don’t have much of a choice when dealing with Facebook changes.

The only card Facebook users have in their hand is the ability to leave. According to a Pew research survey, 61% of users took an extended leave from Facebook at some point since they signed up. 10% of the group that left said they left due to the “absence of compelling content.” And another 10% had a lack of Interest in the social network. Unless you’re going to leave, you’re stuck filtering through whatever ads Facebook throws at you.

Both the user and the marketer face the same problem: there’s too much noise. Marketers have to blindly post content unless they want to pay and users are gradually growing annoyed by the stories and posts from friends and advertisers alike.

So why do we all keep flocking to Facebook? It’s still the biggest social network out there, and – like it or not – we’re going to keep using it until it falls to a different monster.

About the author

Amanda Dodge