So personally, I don’t really use Facebook for the sake of connecting with friends, but rather to stay updated on news or trends by following various pages like 9 News Melbourne, 9GAG or The Lad Bible. They usually post short funny videos that play automatically on my screen during lectures, and I never had a problem with them! In fact, almost up to 70% of my Facebook news feed are full of videos! Thanks to pages like these, I can stay updated with the latest viral sensation or simply just the weather or traffic alerts, without needing to spend excess time or money on receiving such information.
However, as I was browsing on Facebook last week, I was greeted by a very familiar sight… an UN-SKIPPABLE AD in the middle of a video I was playing!
To be honest, I am rather shocked. I am well aware of all of the different adverts sandwiched between my friends’ posts, but in the middle of a viral video?! I certainly did not see that coming.
Apparently, according to Business Insider, these new ad breaks will only appear after the video has played for 20 seconds and it must be two minutes apart, unlike YouTube’s pre-roll ads before the video plays. Publishers will also be allowed to keep 55% of these ad revenues, as part of Facebook’s strategy to “capture lucrative brand ad dollars from the TV industry”.
All of which got me thinking… un-skippable ads are everywhere now! YouTube is doing it, Spotify also does it, and now Facebook? I mean, is it only a matter of time before Instagram or Google freezes your screen and forces you to watch an ad before you can continue scrolling your Instagram feed or simply search something on Google?
As of now, I think the only possible solution is if all these social media platforms switch from a free to a “freemium” internet revenue model.
A freemium model is when a basic product is provided for free, while a premium is charged for extra features or functions. For example, YouTube’s YouTube Red as well as Spotify Premium charges $11.99/month for uninterrupted ad-free features.
I believe if Facebook were to adopt a freemium model, both advertisers and users will be benefited. However, let’s face it, not everyone is willing to pay $11.99/month or really, any money at all for social media platforms alike. Facebook may eventually have to risk losing some of its users or maybe even face new competitors due to heavy monetization of Facebook content. After all, there are still plenty of free websites out there right?
Now, do you think it was necessary for Facebook to further implement un-skippable ads on top of their other general ads? Will it drive you to look for an ad-free social media alternative? Otherwise, will you pay to use a freemium social media platform? I’d love to hear your thoughts!