I am starting to lose my patience with Facebook.
I’ve already written about how small businesses and independent artists are getting the short end of the stick increasingly as paid advertising continues to annihilate the value of organic engagement, and about their unaddressed major security flaws for business owners, and lately I’ve been having a struggle with fake Facebook pages leeching value from my clients’ paid advertisements (which I plan to blog about in the near future), but Facebook’s newest “feature” that I just saw pop up on my newsfeed for the first time tonight really has my blood boiling.
What you’re looking at here is a new ad position. What enrages me is that it’s pushing paid content that relates directly to your page RIGHT UNDERNEATH YOUR OWN CONTENT. In other words, Facebook is hoping to play us all against one another. If one of my fans shares something I’ve posted, they’ll see an ad for four of my competitors right underneath it as soon as I click “like.” Note that there’s not even an option to “like” the original page the content came from. Just the four sponsored pitches below.
So from now on, any time you post something on Facebook that’s good enough to spread around organically, your content is essentially only going to serve as programming for your direct competition to piggyback with its own advertising.
I’m calling these little devils “parasite ads,” because that’s precisely what they are. To me, it’s obvious what Facebook is hoping for. They’re betting that by ramping up direct competition, more people will spend more money on more ads to defend their content from these parasite ads, and to attack their enemies directly with parasite ads of their own.
I am going to take the next few days to take stock of exactly how this will affect my social marketing strategy moving forward, but right now I am inclined to pull all paid advertising immediately and perhaps even go dark entirely on Facebook until I have a better understanding of how this is all going to come to play. The last thing I want is to promote my clients’ COMPETITORS with OUR valuable content.
Stay tuned. Dagnabbit.
Update: I’ve had a few people tell me that they’re not seeing the parasite ads, yet, so this may be an experiment Facebook is testing with a limited number of users, or it may be an incremental rollout that will be phased in over the next few days or weeks. I’m not finding any info about this on Google or in the marketing blogs, so let me know if you see or hear anything!