Like it or not Facebook has started displaying advertisements in users’ News Feeds.
Earlier this week Facebook starting quietly rolling out a new targeted advertisement system — Featured Stories. Featured Stories are ads displayed in the Facebook News Feed, intermingled with regular friend updates and based on Pages you’ve Liked and actions performed by you or your friends. While you may not be seeing them yet, rest assured they’re in the mail; as with most Facebook updates Featured Stories will be put into effect gradually across the board.
What exactly these ads are promoting depends largely on a user’s actions on the Facebook site and those of his or her friends. In order for a Featured Story to appear in a user’s News Feed one of their friends or they themselves must have Liked or interacted with a Page and the owner of that Page must have enrolled in an advertising campaign involving Featured Stories.
What’s unclear is why Facebook has decided to label these advertisements as ‘Featured’ rather than their usual convention of labeling paid content as ‘Sponsored’ — a difference sure to account for more than a few misclicks down the road.
The more time a user spends perusing their News Feed, the more Featured Stories they can look forward to as Facebook has said the frequency of ads depends on whether or not “you visit your News Feed a lot”. It probably won’t be long before a Firefox Add-on offers the ability to block these stories but in the meantime the only way to avoid them is to unsubscribe, unfriend or unlike the offending Page or the friend who interacted with the Page — a daunting task.
It’s easy to get annoyed at the prospect of additional advertising but let’s face it, the News Feed has been bloated with app updates, malware and questionable friend content almost since its inception, is another ad or two going to make that much of a difference? Remember, Facebook’s not the product, you’re the product — and you just got sold again. More information regarding Featured Stories can be found in the Facebook Help Center.
How much is too much? Will these new advertisements change how you use Facebook?
[Source: Inside Facebook]