A couple of weeks ago Facebook faced a user uprising when it added a new “News Feed” feature which broadcasted the actions of all your friends on your main Facebook page. After improving the privacy and control, the user uprising seems to have died down.
Not one to remain content though, Mediaweek is reporting that Facebook will be adding ads to the news alerts about your friends. Apparently the ads will be the third item in the feed, and may be a text link or video clip. The Mediaweek article reports that if a user interacts with the ad, all their friends will be alerted of that and offered the opportunity to interact as well. But the Techcrunch article seems to have updated information saying the Mediaweek article was incorrect in that regard.
Either way, like the Techmeme twist on syndicated advertising spots, I like seeing publishers getting innovative with what kind of advertising they offer up.
I do think Facebook will see some hurdles here though. First, you need advertisers willing to pay and go through the work of creating these custom ads. It’s much easier to work with an ad network or another party to get a wide range of advertising in standard ad sizes.
Second, Facebook’s audience is still very broad, so they may not be able to sell as much high quality advertising as they’re hoping for.
Third, advertisers will also have to put in some additional special work to create ads for Facebook that may be different than all the ads they’re creating for other sites.
And lastly, users may hate the ads being integrated with the news alerts.
Those reasons lead me to think this isn’t a slam dunk for Facebook, but it’s good to see they’re making an effort to innovate with advertising.