Now, this is a story that has got my fingers typing straight away! According to a highly reliable source, Facebook are planning to launch a brand new video advertising service later this year. I know what you’re thinking, why would Facebook – the social media GIANTS- turn to featuring 15 second video clips on their users’ newsfeeds? Since becoming the mother of innovative social networking channels in 2006, I assumed that Facebook would keep their strong social offering with their users as oppose to becoming a commercialised platform for “targeted” marketing. But then again, maybe growth into digital marketing and video advertising is not such a crazy idea.
The carousel of three ads (give or take) will be displayed on users’ newsfeeds, giving Facebookers the option to select and watch desired videos. Bizarrely, at first the sound will be disabled but if the user is interested in the content of the ad, then they can restart the video with sound. Which, I guess, is a clever technique to strengthen brand awareness (as it’s being viewed twice) but could detract from the main reason you went on Facebook- to snoop on exes’ profiles, check out that embarrassing photo uploaded the night before and be…well, social.
This is a clear move towards Facebook joining the ranks of other big rollers in the digital and social media circuit. With internet being readily available anywhere and everywhere, social networks have been shifting towards making money through advertising. I guess it was a matter of time before Facebook logged in to the digital hub of video advertising and digital marketing. It’s just one more digital network taking away more advertising spend on traditional TV, which seems to have been a trend in advertising in recent years. The cost of the video advertising is yet to be confirmed; however, with a global reach of over 1 billion users on “The Book” (excuse the pun), my bet is that it will be quite pricey.
The real question here is will this advertising do more damage than good? Facebook is in a sticky situation, if you ask me, as this invasive advertising is likely to drive users away. After all, it is the users that make Facebook what it is and it will be the users that the advertisers will be interested in. It’s interesting to know that Facebookers already feel overhauled with Facebook ads as it is-so how will they feel with more ads being thrown at them?! From Standard Ads sitting on the right hand side to Page Post Ads situated within the newsfeed, not forgetting ads dedicated to mobile apps (oh, that’s right- it’s going to be featured on smartphones aswel!).
There’s no escape!
Facebook has tried to keep the ads “user friendly” (*sigh*) by creating sponsored stories which are created by Facebook users instead of advertisers. For example, when a Facebook user interacts with something on a brand’s Facebook page (by liking the page, commenting on a post, accepting an event) a story will be created among the friends of the person who generated the story. But if you ask me- this is far from user friendly and hardly enjoyment compatible (I just can’t compute it!).
Overall, I think it’s safe to say that the digital age is among us- and it’s expanding! With digital becoming a more important part of everyday life, advertisers will need to take advantage of this to remain at the top of their game. Facebook is a business at the end of the day and a successful one at that with a strong consumer profile. However, they need to remember what people use Facebook for… to stay in touch and share personal experiences with their friends and family. Mixing this alongside an overhaul of advertisements is likely to deter Facebook users from using the social networking site who may favour other social channels. It could also make users resilient or even hostile to the brands harassing them when users are looking to switch off from the world. I think that Facebook is abusing its position with its users’ personal data and information. Surely, this is likely to deter users and, in the long run, put off advertisers from using Facebook; affecting its global brand and equally, their profits/shares? After all, what is Facebook without its loyal faces?
Get involved in the discussion; let us know whether you think Facebook video adverts will be a fresh and innovative break from digital socialising, or an intrusion of your quiet time.
(Post by Sarah Taylor-Rozyk and Leanne Grant)