Video ads are coming to your news feed.
That’s right, boys and girls. Every time you open Facebook, you’ll see this:
Yes, according to TechCrunch, Wired and other reputable (and some not so reputable) news sources, Facebook has decided to add video advertisements for every user’s news feed, to be watched or clicked through before you can scroll through your day’s quota of obnoxious baby pictures, games you’ll never play and Instagram selfies of people who should be locked in a small, dark room.
So now an app that takes about 90 seconds (which, on a smartphone, is roughly fifteen years) to load its main page will be adding a potentially non-skippable video ad for crap I don’t even buy?
Facebook says the ads will be limited to 15 seconds, though. Great! Do you have any idea how many times you click back to your news feed during a typical online session? HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS (OK, not really, but I’m trying to illustrate a point here.) Even if the ad pops up only 10% of the time (The talk is Facebook admires how YouTube handles its ads, with the TrueView function. Users can skip the ad after an introductory forced viewing time of five to ten seconds), you’re still gonna see five or so ads per session, and even more if you’re on Facebook most of the time you’re online, which averages out to about six and a half hours per user per month. An amazing infographic about time spent online can be found here, courtesy of our friends at Mashable.
The best part, in my opinion? The ads will appear on Facebook’s mobile site and mobile apps!
Tell me again how this is going to improve Facebook?
Oh, right! It’s not going to improve anything. This is just another way the company is trying to recoup its money after the IPO tanked last year. Remember when they decided to start charging people to promote their posts? Or how any page’s (or even personal profile’s) posts don’t reach 100% of their intended audiences without this “Promote” function? This ad business is another grasp at revenue that should make Facebook’s investors happy, but is relatively assured to piss off every single user. It’s only a matter of time before users start migrating away en masse, and I for one have been using Twitter more and more for my social news fix, primarily because it loads faster on my phone and I don’t have to worry about some crap wasting my time.
Here’s what Facebook’s Vice President of Business and Marketing Relationships, David Fischer, said about the new program during his Stanford University Future Of Media Conference keynote address on Feb. 13:
I believe there are ways we could do it. There are ways that could be destructive and distracting to the user experience. But there are ways that could potentially balance user experience with advertiser experience. We haven’t put a product out yet because we haven’t had one we’re comfortable with. But if we could, then we would do it.
Except, Mr. Fischer, the plan is to go live with this sometime in April.
So, what do you think? Are the ads too much? Have you been pushed over the edge? Will you tell Facebook you’re mad as hell, and not gonna take it anymore?