Right or Wrong; Facebook News Feed Ads Exist to Make Money

Ah, Facebook. You’ve again figured out how to increase profits and make people mad, as you’ve probably noticed by reading the comments under your January 2015, Facebook news feed changes article.Facebook Screenshot of Comments about Newsfeed Changes

Settle down, everyone. You watched The Social Network in 2010. Come on. You didn’t have an idea that the cinch could tighten?

Facebook, your continual recording of consumer likes, pages surfed, comments, images, and interactions can seem creepy. But then again, we consumers willingly use Facebook and agree to its terms. Of course, you’ll find ways to profit from the data we provide because you have salaries and shareholders to pay. If that’s too much to reconcile, some will leave, as did Rebecca Thering, a user who shares “Why I Left Facebook and How I’m Thriving Since”.

Recently, someone asked me if I thought the news feed changes Facebook made were ethical. Let’s talk about that.

What Did Facebook Do to the News Feed?

If you’re not a business person, you might be wondering, “What happened. I haven’t noticed.” Well, if you’re like the average Facebook user, you probably liked your brother’s accounting practice page or your friend’s dog rescue fan page to keep peace and support others. What you probably tolerated were spam posts (like ten over two days) about dog shampoo on sale for 50% off.

Mobile devices aren’t always user-friendly when it comes to shutting off these notifications. Facebook conducted its own survey to determine what to do about posts from fan pages.

“What we discovered is that a lot of the content people see as too promotional is posts from Pages they like, rather than ads. This may seem counterintuitive but it actually makes sense: News Feed has controls for the number of ads a person sees and for the quality of those ads (based on engagement, hiding ads, etc.), but those same controls haven’t been as closely monitored for promotional Page posts.”

So, if you liked the dog rescue page, you’ll be seeing fewer of its business page posts in 2015- unless the pooch wants to pay. If it wants to reach you, the rescue will have to follow some ad best practices and pay for Facebook boosts.

Your profile gives Facebook a decent idea of what makes you tick and what you will like, so it chooses sponsored ads that are best suited for you. These posts are paid for by sponsors.

What’s Wrong With That?

Some businesses feel duped. They spent wads of money with Facebook in previous years to acquire likes. Those likes were just devalued and now companies are being asked to pay more to be seen. While some like CopyBlogger or iHomeschool Network comfortably left Facebook (and not necessarily for this issue), others still value the tool as an effective platform to reach customers. But, now they’ll have to pay more.

And that’s it.

Is it ethical?

It’s predictable- especially knowing that Facebook didn’t have issue with diluting the stock of co-founder, Edwardo Saverin years ago. Facebook’s leadership continues to keep the company profitable and moving forward.

It seems to be working. Several major retailers report that they plan to spend more for Facebook ads in 2015. In fact, marketing spends are up in general for digital media. It’s those increasing ad revenues that will keep the social media platform from ever looking back.

It’s just business.

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  1. Sonal Sharma says

    Due to this step by facebook, I believe that marketers, especially startups and small & medium enterprise (with small ad budget) will increasingly use Influencers to promote their product / brands online. This is a very cost effective way to get maximum visibility is using right influencers along with right content.I know many influencers (facebook, twitter, youtube, blogs, pinterest etc.) who are promoting brands in a big way, and facebook’s new policy has give a little extra boost to this segment. It will be interesting to see how influencer marketing will take shape in future.

    Also, finding influencers has become easy with platforms like fromote (search google with exact phrase) an influencer marketing platform which helps brands to find and engage influencers to promote their brands on social media. Brands get targeted reach and influencers make money from their postings!

    1. Danielle Look says

      That’s a really great point, @disqus_kR2uzkw78F:disqus – that the big brands who can afford to “pay to play” will do exactly that, while those without the budget are forced to do more with less. If there’s a silver lining, I think it’s the innovation and creative marketing that will come out of those smaller organizations. The big guys will continue to do the same old thing (simply because it works and they can afford it) while the smaller players are in their labs dreaming up new ways to personalize their efforts and revolutionize the way they communicate marketing messages. I don’t think Goliath has won this battle just yet.

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