Despite previous debates relating to privacy issues following 87 million Facebook users’ data allegedly being accessed without their direct consent, the Silicon Valley Master of the Universe has chosen to further increase the platforms on which it displays ads to its users.
Bloomberg reports that Facebook has taken further steps to invade the online experience of its users by expanding the number of platforms on which it displays advertisements. The company recently began testing different types of ads in its buy-and-sell section, Marketplace, Facebook Stories has expanded its advertising capabilities, and the company is reportedly beginning to experiment with video advertisements that display directly within the Messenger chat app. One of the key reasons for Facebook-owned chat app WhatsApp’s CEO departing the company was reportedly due to a disagreement over advertisements on the platform, so it would not be surprising if Facebook began expanding their advertising platforms to also include WhatsApp.
Facebook’s sudden focus on ads could be a result of the decline of teenagers using the app. According to a report from the Pew Research Center, Americans aged between 13 and 17 were more likely to use Snapchat, YouTube, and Instagram ahead of Facebook. Placing more ads on the platform gives Facebook a higher chance of generating revenue from the users still on the platform.
There isn’t a definitive answer behind Facebook’s sudden decision to expand their advertising platform, but part of the issue could be the company’s decision to rank posts from users friends and family above posts from publishers, content creators and advertisers. Facebook issued a statement at the time of the algorithm change saying: “We know even a small update to News Feed can be disruptive to you and your talent’s businesses, and this change will take some time to figure out. As we take this journey together and focus on content that our community can connect around, we’ll work on providing you and your clients with best practices, insights, and tools to help them understand and create content that promotes these meaningful interactions on Facebook.”
Bloomberg notes the importance of advertising for Facebook, saying:
Facebook is proficient at keeping its perpetual revenue motion machine going no matter what. That means Facebook needs to continue to prove that its ads are worth buying for the millions of businesses that want them. Otherwise the engine will stall. And that means there is business logic to Facebook capitalizing on the popularity of its other hangouts to ring up higher ad sales.