While testing out a couple of Facebook applications yesterday, I came upon a few advertising approaches that I found disturbing. While installing the application, there were various ads that included Facebook action icons. Here I am, a typical Facebook user, in the middle of adding an application to my account (most likely something that would warm the hearts of Facebook execs) and I’m being diverted by advertising suggesting action is necessary. After a little research, it appeared as though Facebook is in the midst of testing out an ad network for applications.
Just to check, I clicked to see which of my three friends “think I’m dumb”—and I was taken to a third party trivia site. The key to this experience, however, was not that I never got to the bottom of just who thinks I’m dumb. It was the fact that I never finished installing that application.
At what point does Facebook regulate the types of advertising that occurs on their site? Or should it be left to the application developer? Facebook is undoubtedly searching for consistent revenue, and advertising conversions are a key part of that. But when an advertisement derails user experience, is it worth it? Facebook, like any growing company is most likely testing and adjusting on the fly—so we’ll wait and see what comes out of this “test.”
In social media, the customer has to remain top of mind at all time. Your customer’s willingness to pass along your product or message is not something to be toyed with. There’s a fine line between addressing revenue needs and compromising the integrity of a product. The key is finding something that enhances both. That reminds me — back to that application.