About a month into its Pre-IPO rush to make money off of us, Facebook has announced a bunch of new features that will simultaneously please advertisers and annoy users. It started this morning with releasing Timeline for brand pages and closed out the afternoon with a bunch of new ad placement opportunities for brands. When the social network first debuted Timeline, users feared a more invasive advertising experience -- something Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg once said he never wanted. But, with the IPO coming up, we're about to get that very fun, ad-filled experience.
First, we get the more obvious ways Facebook has prioritized advertising. Basically, Facebook's reserving more space for ads than before. Here is the gist of the offerings from Reuters' Anthony De Rosa, who conveniently cataloged the new features after Facebook's live-stream announcement:
Larger ads on the side of the Facebook home page that users see when they first log in
Ads that run inside the Facebook Newsfeed
Ads on mobile devices
Ads that appear when a user logs out of Facebook
The ability to run video ads on all these placements
As you can see, Facebook's both providing more places -- like its once ad-less mobile app -- for brands to advertise, as well as making those ads more prominent. Meaning: bigger ads, showing up in more places, more often. Yay. You can see the bigger ads part of it in the screen grab below via De Rosa's Twitter feed. But that's not all, stories will show up more often thanks to a new product called "Reach Generator," where Facebook claims it can raise fans who see sponsored stories from 16% to 50%.
But the new Timeline for brands also gives companies new opportunities to sell to users. The Timeline doesn't cost money. But, Facebook hopes to lure businesses that use brand pages to start advertising. And think of how much potential a pretty Timeline, with its format has to win over customers -- that's the idea at least.
While advertisers will maybe delight in the newest offerings, more ads can only compromise user experience. And services like "Reach Generator" will only enable Facebook to target us better. Cue: privacy debate. But, like any valuable service (or service trying to prove its value), Facebook's not entirely free.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.