As the website vs. Adblock war rages on, Facebook announced its new approach to tackling the issue at hand. Facebook is giving more control to the user, regarding which types of ads will appear on their newsfeed. Additionally, Facebook will be circumvent-blocking services by creating web ads that are indistinguishable from actual content.
Along with the company’s announcement, Facebook released a survey which showed that “The main reasons cited for using ad blockers include avoiding disruptive ads (69%), ads that slow down their browsing experience (58%) and security / malware risks (56%). In general, younger consumers are more open to online advertising and data collection. But across the board, if consumers are going to see ads, they prefer them to be personalized and relevant.”
As many bloggers and reporters covering this topic have stated the truth that we all know to be true: “There is no such thing as a free lunch”. If users want to continue to use a free service, they will ultimately have to comply with the services demands, in this case, advertisements.
While Facebook claims to have wanting ads to be more relevant and to give users more control over which ads they see and which they do not, Adblock Plus released a statement that its service will continue to play the “cat-and-mouse” games with Facebook and that users shouldn’t be too concerned. I wonder whose algorithm will be smarter.
Many advertisers are quite excited about this news and view Facebook’s announcement in a very positive light. “Facebook should be applauded for its leadership on preserving a vibrant value exchange with its users,” Randall Rothenberg, president and chief executive of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, said in a statement in the New York Times. “For hundreds of years, advertising and marketing have been central to the delivery of entertainment and services that are otherwise free to consumers.”
IAB President and CEO Randall Rothenberg praised the move as “spot-on.” He said the approach to “respect advertising as an essential ingredient in connecting users worldwide” should be adopted by others across the Internet.
What do users think?
Although Facebook claims that its advertisements will not affect the user experience, I wanted to see what some of my Facebook friends had to say. These were some of the responses I received:
“As a consumer we don’t want ads, and the onslaught of ads on the internet can be overwhelming, especially popup ads. But in general I haven’t found Facebook ads intrusive. So this news doesn’t really bother me.”
“Personally it doesn’t bother me so much, in general the ads have been relevant. YouTube ads are much more annoying since I have to watch the advertisement before being able to watch my content. Facebook is giving me a service that I don’t want to a pay for, so i’m happy the advertisers are paying for it instead”.
“I don’t use pop-up blocker for Facebook, I do it for Youtube, I don’t really mind Facebook ads to begin with, sometimes Facebook ads can be annoying, but if Facebook has a better algorithm for more relevant content I wouldn’t even view it as a bad thing, possibly even a positive and beneficial thing”.
Well, maybe my Facebook friends aren’t as concerned with ads as some of the other Facebook users out there. That being said, it seems to me that Facebook ads haven’t been too intrusive up until this point. I imagine that the company’s efforts to give the user more control over which ads they see will only benefit them.