When we watch television, we’re usually forced to sit through commercials, and we’ve come to accept this. It’s kind of a penalty for being able to watch the program for free (which is why advertisements are particularly infuriating on cable television). You might be lucky enough to live somewhere with government funded stations like the UK’s BBC or Australia’s ABC, where the entire network is advertisement free. Devices like Tivo and web based video on demand services have changed the way in which we watch commercial network television, and advertisers have been scrambling to catch up. YouTube viewers will be familiar with advertising that usually plays before you can watch a clip; whether it’s a very short advertisement, or a longer advertisement that we’re allowed to skip after five seconds. This is a logical transfer of television type advertising to the Internet, but it can still feel strange to have to watch this kind of advertising when just visiting a standard news or entertainment based website. So what happens when that site we all visit makes us sit through advertisements before we can access content? What happens when Facebook introduces full-page advertisements? What To Expect
Picture this: you log into Facebook in order to update your status, or send an email, since so many of us are no relying upon it as our primary email provider. You enter your password and click Log in, but before you’re taken to the homepage (or rather, your “timeline”), you’re forced to watch a 15 second commercial broadly targeted at your age and gender. This advertisement will take up the entire screen, and cannot be skipped.
Will Anyone Care?
The simple fact of the matter is that users will get used to it. Facebook has made a huge number of tweaks to its look and overall service since its inception, and video advertising will simply be another one of those changes. Users might be slightly perplexed at first, but they will rapidly accept it as normal, much as they did when the Facebook Wall was renamed the Facebook Timeline… although many users simply (and logically) still call the darn thing their “Facebook Page.”
It’s Free For Users… But Not For Advertisers
As the Facebook log in page states, “It’s free and always will be.” So while the service is free for users, advertisers are a necessary evil for the level of profits envisaged by Mark Zuckerberg and his shareholders. Targeted Facebook advertisements are nothing new, although these are fairly unobtrusive, and are determined by a user’s location and browsing behaviour. The full-page video advertisements will simply be targeted based upon four factors: male; female; over 30; under 30. Facebook is nothing if not responsive, so expect refinements after implementation that will allow more specific targeting.
While Facebook will probably launch the advertisements using standard video advertisements already seen online, there’s a possibility that advertisers who will have to pay top dollar for the slot (rumored to be upwards of $1 million for a designated broadcast timeframe) will want to create content specifically for their Facebook video advertisements, meaning advertising agencies in New York and an offices for graphic design in Los Angeles will already be examining the potential of the service in order to best create content for clients.