May 6, 2011 weblog
Facebook pays users to view ads
(PhysOrg.com) -- The general consensus is that end users hate ads. That is why companies either try to make them as unobtrusive as possible, such as the small ads you would find in the sidebar of a blog, or make them unavoidable, such as the full page splash screen ads that occur on page loads. Neither of these theories really gives the viewer a reason to engage in the ad, so success levels in online advertising campaigns can vary widely.
Facebook is trying to give users a reason to care about the ads, with a technique as old as civilization, bribery. Facebook is going to pay users in Facebook Credits if they choose to watch display ads on the site. Users will obviously not get rich off of watching ads, since each ad garners a user only 10 cents per view.
The ads will initially be tied to games. A group of Facebook's most popular game makers, including Zynga, CrowdStar, and Digital Chocolate, have chosen to participate in the ad campaign. This means very popular games, such as Farmville and Mafia Wars have the chance to draw a large pool of users into the paid-advertisement game. Once the initial ad is done, users are alerted that the earned a credit, and then have a choice to view more ads or go onto their game. Sadly, each ad requires a click, so you cannot simply open a new browser tab and let the ad roll while you work.
How users will respond to this small incentive is yet to be seen. At estimates coming out to between $2 and $3 for each hour of ad viewing, this reporter thinks it is unlikely that many users will watch more than one ad.
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