336. In Short — This is not Advertising. 
Apr 19, 2011 at 01:29PM
jj

I utilized my first ad-blocker via Mozilla Firefox last week. It was about that time that I noticed an unholy amount of disgusting new banner ads while using Facebook. It's not that I have a problem with advertising (obviously) or even advertising on Facebook—farmville and adwords are ads—but I have a problem with advertising that ruins the platform it was created to support. This new rash of banners made using the social site almost impossible. I'm not sure if this was due to a new push to monetize the site or what, but after complaining for a day about it, I downloaded adblock plus.

To give you an idea of this experience (in case you have already had the ad block software installed pre-banneradapalooza or don't use facebook-gasp!), I've grabbed a few screens. (The screens are edited for my privacy, of course.) Basically, the new ads take up a good third of the screen. Check 'em out:

The Dog-Human Hybrid?

 

This Hurts My Eyeballs:

Clearly, we're not talking about the height of creative advertising - as is often the case with banners. But I have a bigger problem with the setup. Surely, there is a more creative way to push ad content to Facebook members that isn't as ugly, distracting, disjointed and annoying as these now traditional flash banners. (For instance, the ad platform that non-subscribers see when using Pandora is just as visually compelling, but it's less distructive to the experience.) I submit that there must be a better way to give a brand's story on this social network, something I don't know... more socially engaging. Instead of shouting with the most obnoxious swirling goo of pixels, maybe there's a way to entertain or in Sally Hogshead's words, fascinate the users. Otherwise, more and more people will be going out of their way to tune them out, and rightfully so.

Think Sausage or Think Taxes?

It's funny - well, not clown funny - how the internet has become a petri dish of what works in display advertising. And by works I mean, it generates a click on it — no matter how cheap that click may be. This might be fine if you are trying to sell some shady mortgage loans but not so much if you are an otherwise reputable company trying to use social media to further extend your brand. There is no easy fix, but Facebook should be working with advertisers and agencies to better utilize all those eyeballs in a way that doesn't send people running and screaming away from those messages. There is a lot of work to be done.

Article originally appeared on Graphicology (http://www.graphicology.com/).
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