The Evolution of Facebook Advertising

At the on-set of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg and his team constantly questioned the place of advertisements on Facebook. With Facebook just beginning to gain momentum with college students, they feared that introducing advertisements too early on in the development would be a turn off and ruin Facebook’s “coolness” factor. 9 years later, with Facebook being the most popular social media site and with over one billion users, I think we can all agree that the site does not have to fear the use of advertisements anymore.  In fact, they’ve actually been ramping up delivery of ads over the few past months.  With the announcement of a new layout, Facebook user’s can expect to be hit with new ads as they browse news feeds and connection timelines.

Beginning last year, Facebook rolled out Exchange Ads which allowed marketers to show ads to users based on their online browsing history by using cookies.  Exchange Ads proved to be very effective and performed the strongest out of all the Facebook ad units.  This was successful because marketers were showing Facebook users ads that they were already interested in.   Case in point, cell phone companies such as Samsung or Apple would be able to reach their target audience by showing their ads to Facebook to users who were recently browsing cell phone brands online.

Another new ad option available is look-a-like targeting.  This allows marketers to target users who share the same characteristics as that of their already existing customers. This can be based on interests or demographics such as age or sex.  The new Facebook layout also allows users to filter their newsfeed and ultimately gives advertisers the ability to target these filters.  For example, if a Facebook user filters their newsfeed to only view stories about music, then a record store advertiser could then target the filter of music to target that user and show their ad.

Recently Facebook has allowed FBX ads to be shown in the newsfeeds.  This allowed advertisers to put their ads and brands right in front of users.  Advertisers are in for a real treat.  The ability to be able to place ads directly into stories on user newsfeeds enables a greater audience reach.  While this is great for advertisers, this can be a bit of an annoyance to the user as some will feel these newsfeed ads can diminish their Facebook experience.  Facebook users, for the most part, do not want to be overloaded with ads on their newsfeeds.  Also, some may feel that being tracked via what they do online is an invasion of privacy.  While some users may feel this way, it is likely these ads will not to deter the masses from using Facebook, as it is a commonly used method of keeping in touch with friends and family.

In the humble opinion of this avid Facebook user, I say good for Facebook!  I appreciate the ability to stay in touch with my friends through Facebook and do not mind seeing the occasional ad on my newsfeed.  I tend to be more interested in an ad if it is something relevant to me.  I recently discovered a second-hand online clothing store through an FBX ad in my newsfeed that I may not have discovered on my own.  Showing me an ad of something that I may have just recently searched for online will be more effective in getting me to click on the ad.  At the end of the day, advertisers have a job to do and I for one can appreciate that.

Katelyn Sheehan
Just Media, Inc.

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