Posted March 1, 2012 8:10 am by with 4 comments

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Facebook is preparing for its IPO and that will create more pressure to generate more revenue from their primary source of income: ads.

Facebook has made known its plan to have mobile ads in addition to logout page ads. There is a fair amount of coverage around these new ads. In a nutshell, this is a significant increase in advertising and it makes business sense, however, the question remains whether it will interfere with user experience enough to make people upset. Well, that’s a silly question. ANYTHING that Facebook changes upsets many people. Of course, they are mostly those who wait for these chances so they can make a fuss. As for creating an action that would negatively impact Facebook that’s another story.

This all coincides with the new Premium Ads being offered by the social media giant. In essence, Facebook will be looking to monetize every inch of the user experience. Once again, this is likely to be the right business decision and one they can make from a real position of power. That position is derived from the minimal risk of someone up and actually acting on their threat of “I am leaving Facebook because of all of these ads!”. People may feel like they want to up and leave but if they want to stay in touch with their network on Facebook there isn’t another social media outlet that everyone uses to the extent of Facebook. In a way, Facebook has many people trapped for the foreseeable future.

Many would like to say that Google+ is that option. If most of your contacts are tech types then you may have an argument. But when you include the other friends then family element of your sphere of influence there are few who can claim that their entire span of contacts are active users of Google+.

Is there another option currently for social media users to jump to? We can say maybe if you cobble together a bunch of different services but the real answer is no. Facebook has become to social what Google is to search. In fact, it can be argued that it is even more dominant in this critical online space than Google is in search, relatively speaking. Are there any direct Facebook competitors that could get an aggregate of over 30% of market share like that which happens in search between Yahoo and Bing? Not that I am aware of.

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We should resign ourselves to the fact that ads on Facebook are going to increase. Heck, if Facebook’s internal tests are true the ads perform quite well. This is the marketer’s dream and their favorite kind of playground. The trouble may come if people get worn down by the ads on Facebook. That is where Google has the edge. Their search ads are rather unobtrusive and even their efforts to integrate Google+ in search are not interfering with the average person’s experience on the engine. As for other ads that generate income for Google, they occur on other products owned by Google. The search experience can stay as it is and still be effective as an advertising medium without ticking off too many people outside of the tech community.

Facebook is indeed different in that the experience sits mostly inside the service so there is more of a claustrophobic feeling when it comes to ads. When they are in every aspect of the service all the way through log out one wonders where the point is that users could truly tire of being pitched.

What’s your take on the new rush to cover Facebook with ads from the news feed to the right hand column to mobile to log out? If there is an ad at the log in page would that be too much? Let’s hear your take.

(Image credit Ali Manazano via TechCrunch)

  • What was initially attractive on Facebook was that it was free of ads. Obviously this has changed over time, but so has the user base. As you mentioned, there really is no other network that compares right now when it comes to the number of connections that people have. Users may complain about the new ads, but it’s doubtful that many will leave Facebook because of them.

  • Facebook users will probably not be thrilled with the addition of ads to the site’s mobile offerings, but it does open a floodgate of revenue options for the social network. As long as the ads don’t disrupt the user experience too much, this will be a good way for Facebook to increase its ad revenue.

    Mosaic Technology

  • Cynthia Boris

    People won’t leave because of ads. They’ll get used to them and ignore them like they do on every other website. LOL

  • YousAHypocrit

    Ironic, there are so many ads on this page that I gave up and just stopped reading. The ad that shows up in the middle of the article really breaks your train of thought.