I use Facebook (almost everyday) to post pictures of my son’s whereabouts here in Hawaii so that my family in the Philippines can see him growing up even from million miles away, and that we can easily “talk” and laugh about these pictures. Yes! I can really say “thank you Facebook for the gift of convenient and free social networking”.
For regular Facebook users like me though, ads on the website are something that I really don’t care about. I see ads all the time of course, that little area on the right side of my screen never runs out of advertising campaigns that are actually somewhat related to my “activities” in the website – like the places I go, the products I “like” or rave about, and even the games I play.
Surely Facebook uses some kind of algorithm to match its ads to its users’ preference and I don’t really mind. Unlike other people who complain about these ads on their screen, I don’t. Facebook is free; I don’t pay the company a single cent to improve my social life so the least I can do is not criticize Facebook’s money-making ways.
But when Facebook started talking about putting these ads on their website’s mobile version as well, I can’t help but react. Obviously, my phone’s screen (yes, I don’t have an iPhone) is small enough to accommodate every Facebook goodie that I can use on my PC and the social networking giant wanted to put ads on it? Wait! There must be some kind of a good explanation for this, right?
Barriers to Mobile Advertising
True advertising demand is high, mobility is in the peak of success, and consumers spend a lot of money to stay connected through their mobile devices. It is but the best time for mobile advertising. But with barriers such as small space/screen, minimal advertising-conducive mobile websites, and mobile users resisting “space invasion” of their mobile gadgets, mobile advertising could still be out of reach.
It’s also obvious that most people see ads as a cause of their irritation when browsing a website. Ads can actually slow down their browsing experience and the word “slow” is something that mobile users don’t want to use in the same sentence with their mobile phone. Good for desktops, there are system tools like PC Speed Up that can do network and startup tweaks and so the whole computing experience can be enhanced. These tweaks are not available on mobile phones (yet) so users will be stuck with a slow mobile browsing experience. I reckon these system tool companies would start developing mobile tools as well.
Facebook could however see the silver lining with regards to these barriers because its mobile advertising scheme will look more like a friendly product recommendation than a money-making advertising. Thus, Facebook will capitalize on the personal capability of its social network to break the barriers of mobile advertising.
Exploitation of Consumer Loyalty
It’s no secret that Facebook has millions of loyal users and followers worldwide. It’s but a no-brainer for the company to go for mobile ads as well, especially with the fact that Facebook was initially intended for mobile gadgets and not for desktops. With the continuous success of mobility on businesses, surely Facebook would like to cash in as well.
The problem is, there certainly are logical and valid reasons why mobile advertising hasn’t been completely successful and these reasons are still present. Last week however, Facebook announced they are launching a mobile advertising scheme that is so originally Facebook which will make mobile advertising for its business subscribers not only possible but also successful. How? Facebook will put up advertising messages on its members’ news feeds which may prompt a “like” or a “follow” from the members’ social networks.
Facebook is putting its consumer loyalty to good use and though some critics say this is some kind of a privacy violation because of the spreading rumors that Facebook is going to give its advertisers its users’ contact information for the success of this mobile advertising campaign. This is a privacy issue which is also a problem for Facebook desktop users but can be solved through several privacy protection applications. Facebook mobile users however can’t do much but either remove imported contact information from their Facebook mobile app or remove the Facebook application from their phone.
I personally think Facebook has done a great deal of thinking and analyzing to come up with something creative in order to be successful in the area of mobile advertising. But well surely if Facebook would ask its users for our opinion, Facebook would know that we prefer no ads on our mobile phones.
I am a Computer Engineer by virtue of education and has been employed as a Software Engineer, a Business Analyst, a College Instructor, a Technical Trainer, and a Freelance Writer in different industries including the Academe, IT, SEO and Product Distribution. I am currently teaching Microsoft Office 2010 in a college here in Hawaii.