Starting in the year 2012 and in the month of January, Facebook will be starting the flood of ads in their main news feed with a trickle: one sponsored ad in your main feed per day at the start, with these ads appearing as normal posts save for the small “Sponsored” tag in the comment line. Users wont be able to opt out of seeing sponsored ads in their main news feed, and mobile news feed stories MAY be in the works for 2012 as well. It appears that a few sites from all walks of life such as Inside Facebook and TechCrunch have received confirmation from Facebook that these changes will appear, again, at the start of 2012.
There’s almost certainly no way this action, in whatever set of forms it ends up showing up in, will receive heavy backlash from Facebook users and defectors alike. Facebook will be pushing this project as a value-added adventure where advertisers show off their awesome wares through your friends activities, much better than traditional banner ads, for example. On the other hand, Sponsored Ads showing up too often in the main feed, no matter how relevant they are to our daily lives, will result in masses of users exiting the platform.
This isn’t the first step in Facebook’s efforts to turn your activities into advertisements, as you may have seen “Sponsored Stories” showing up on your right-hand sidebar for many months now (starting at the beginning of 2011.) This newest project is essentially the opposite of that, where instead of turning friends activities into ads up on the sidebar, sidebar ads will be showing up in your news feed. The difference between this and straight up dropping banners down in front of you is that these ads will be affected by your activity and perceived interests. Clicking ice cream sandwich pages will result in ice cream sandwiches.
You can see a few use-cases in the gallery here, courtesy of Facebook and TechCrunch. Feel free to let loose on what you think of this situation in the comments below. Time to find a new place to roam, or are ads the way of the future?