If you’re the sort of person who doesn’t do any kind of ad filtering at all, none of this will make sense to you. But if you are the kind of person who likes to control the ads you see on the web with tools like AdBlock Plus, you may have noticed a dramatic increase recently in the number of “Suggested Posts” in your feed. In Facebook-speak, “Suggested Post” is just whitewash for the word “advertisement”. The Register recently explained what’s going on in the fairly accurately titled piece Adblock Plus blocks Facebook block of Adblock Plus block of Facebook block of AdBlock Plus block of Facebook ads.
You can take whatever side you like in the is “AdBlock Plus evil?” argument, but what Facebook’s action shows us is clear: you the user are – more than ever – simply something to be monetized. The latest numbers suggest that your friends only see about 7% of your posts, and for publishers (meaning a site like the one you’re visiting right now), engagement and reach plunged dramatically in 2015 and in 2016. Unless, of course, the publisher pays to “boost posts”. And any smaller publisher will tell you that the basic profit model falls apart if your main source of traffic is Facebook, and you have to PAY them to get it. Innoculous operates on a relatively archaic model at this point, specifically: Amazon affiliate revenue. We don’t participate in ad networks, don’t use Google Ads, and don’t use annoying fly-in ads or exit popups. We’re doing a very slow build toward a subscriber and shopping model. But never mind our profits….
What About The User?
Here’s an example of what I saw this week in my feed. The specific advertiser here was doubly annoying to me: I find the company itself despicable and unethical, and there is no good reason Facebook’s algorithm should serve up this particular content. But thankfully, there’s the “Hide Ad” option, right?
I jumped on that little interface element lickety split. Phew! No more ads from annoying software company, right? Wrong. This showed up not two hours later:
Look familiar? The main difference you’ll notice is that some people commented on it, and added an “angry face like”. I later found two tools to do away with these annoying “Suggested Posts” (FB Purity and SocialFixer) but this goes back to the concept highlighted in the Register article referenced above: are the benefits of Facebook worth the effort to reap them? Probably not. But Facebook and Social Marketers probably don’t agree….
Know Those Ads You Hate? Let Us Help You Make More!
This lovely piece of subtle recursion showed up just a little later, as if the algorithm had finally figured me out and was just trying to piss me off.
Why Talk To Friends When You Can ADVERTISE To Them?
We figure the endgame for Facebook is a business model something like this…