Would you pay for an adless Facebook?

A few weeks back there was an article on a patent application that Mark Zuckerberg had placed. The patent showed mock-ups to create an ad-less version of Facebook for users wishing to pay to remove the ads. There were a few blogs on the topic ranging from slamming the company to questioning and polling their readers to see if they would be willing to pay for an adless version of the social network.

When I first saw this, I pondered what Facebook would look like without ads in its current form, but then finding the image (on left), my mind started to wander again. This time was to think of how many people would actually pay to remove ads and if it were a viable revenue stream for the company.

After thinking through the process, I wouldn’t; and don’t think the majority of the billion-plus users of the social network would either.

The main reason is that we all like the saying, “If it’s free, it’s for me.” Paying for a free platform would just seem odd, we’re also lazy and after all we tune out ads pretty effectively even if they are a sponsored story in our Tinelines. Aside from that one small factor, I think there are three main reasons I’d keep the ads in my Facebook stream and right-hand rail.

We’re all marketers (or critics) – as someone who works in marketing, I like to see what other companies are doing. You never know when you are going to find inspiration. It is also interesting to see how well, or how poorly the ads speak to the audience that the company (or agency) has targeted. For the critics out there it is also a great way to laugh or bitch about fails that you see.

Targeted marketing – Facebook has a boatload of data on all of us. Each like, share, click or status update gives marketers another data point for them to target on. When done right, hyper-targeted ads can work like the gum or Chapstick in the supermarket and create an impulse buy. There have been a few that have led me to buying something for me, my wife or son because the ad just hit something I was looking for. These ads also let me see what competitors are doing or how they are targeting my company’s customers. For critics, you can also pull a Nelson from the Simpsons when you get an ad in a different language or are a man targeted by a certain tampon maker, I’ve gotten that one a few times and a few chuckles.

Event or occasions – 1-800-Flowers does a great job getting dudes to remember certain dates through their targeting. Not going to lie, but getting a reminder about Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day can really keep a guy out of hot water. While those types of ads have driven me to a purchase or two, ads for upcoming events or concerts get me thinking as to whether or not I should attend. This happened recently with a Kenny Chesney concert at Foxwoods, despite being out of my price range at the time, it had me look and chat with a friend about it.

I am sure that I am not alone in this thinking of ads in Facebook. They really don’t bother me and if they are irrelevant I look another way or mark them as spam. What do you think? Would you get rid of ads if you could on Facebook?

4 Responses to Would you pay for an adless Facebook?
  1. Tinu
    April 24, 2013 | 11:25 am

    I’d pay to get rid of them if there was an option. But I’d pay more to get rid of various Facebook features.

  2. jeffespo
    April 24, 2013 | 12:14 pm

    Tinu which ones?

  3. Tinu
    April 24, 2013 | 12:22 pm

    jeffespo Too many to list them all.
    Chat. I don’t like the clutter and I never use that feature.
    The emoticons. Ads yeah but I’m pretty much blind to them. Now that I have a proper laptop again it’s not like it slows the load time. But it’s not as big a deal to me as the unnecessary or redundant features Facebook has that I could do with out.

  4. jeffespo
    April 24, 2013 | 12:24 pm

    Tinu I like the chat… but it is mostly because it is how I ping my reps there. Emoticons, I only like the penguin…

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