Back in February, I posted about what’s behind the dismal click-through rates for Facebook ads. Here’s the gist of what I said:
Yesterday, a Mashable story entitled “Facebook Ads Perform Half as Well as Regular Banner Ads” reinforced my belief that advertising on Facebook is, for the most part, a waste of money.
The main problem is that there’s just too much compelling content on Facebook to allow our attention to focus on ads, even those that are well conceived or well targeted.
Well, now Facebook is planning to introduce a new tactic designed to make ads more prominent. On Tuesday, as The Atlantic reported:
The new homepage tweak, if made public (and it probably will be), would keep the placement of advertisements and the menu navigation window static. As the user scrolls down the page, scanning their News Feed and checking in on friends, these elements would follow them. The navigation bar at the top of the screen and even the site’s footer would also remain static.
I think the main result of this is going to be a lot of unhappy Facebook users (if for no other reason than it represents a redesign, and Facebook users hate redesigns). But I hope there’s another consequence: this, combined with “innovations” like paying users to view certain ads, might begin to expose some of the challenges that come with advertising on Facebook. As always, advertisers should look at the motivation behind these changes. After all, if Facebook is trying to make ads more conspicuous, they’re likely not getting as much attention as advertisers would like. And if you agree that making ads harder to avoid isn’t the answer, then Facebook ads probably deserve even less of your attention as a advertiser than they tend to get from you as a member.