Facebook Launches User Study Regarding Advertisements

For the first time ever, Facebook is taking surveys that will gage how the user's feelings evolve over time.

Dubbed the "Facebook Feedback Panel," this new research-oriented initiative launched last Friday in direct response to those who are getting sick of using Facebook due to its abundance of advertisements. The first 10,000 people that choose to do the panel will receive surveys monthly for the next six months. These surveys will determine if people's feelings toward Facebook fluctuate due to the placement of the site's advertisements.

Darrel Etherington, a staff writer at TechCrunch.com, recently wrote an article about his experiences with being a Facebook Feedback Panelist. In the article, Etherington said that the questions that he answered prove that the company knows that its advertising platform has problems that need to be addressed.

"To be fair, I'm never going to tell anyone that I find any ads 'Interesting' or 'Helpful' – the entire concept of advertising is at odds with those descriptors in my book," he said. "But it's still true that in general, I find Facebook's ads particularly uninteresting, and not at all relevant, let alone helpful."

However, despite any of the data collected during this survey, Facebook does not show any signs of slowing down its ad placement.

Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, regularly talks about how happy he is with Facebook's advertising and how he thinks that Facebook users warmly receive them. He said that he plans on pushing advertisement even more at a quarterly earning call during May this year.

"We assumed sentiment and satisfaction might drop some amount and we continue to watch it really carefully because there's no guarantee it won't in the future," he said. "But so far, what we see has made us confident there's more we can do with advertising over time and we can ramp that up."

The fact that Facebook will not slow down advertisements is further supported by their major overhaul to both Ads Manager and Power Editor last Tuesday, which are Facebook's ad-buying platforms. Both of these ad-buying platforms are now heavily simplified, making ad purchases easier than ever. A more streamlined user interface for both ad-buying platforms will only attract more advertisers in the long run.

In the end, what Facebook is planning on doing is optimizing advertisement placement by finding out what works and what annoys the user. Fidji Simo, Facebook's product marketing manager, told the Huffington Post that it's important to satisfy both the consumer and the advertisers' needs.

"We really want to understand, in-depth, how users feel about ads, so that as we grow our business, we maintain the right balance between our advertisers' needs and the users' experience," she said.

Because the panel is limited to only 10,000 people, the majority of Facebook users will not be able to participate in the panel. Even worse, the Huffington Post reports that the company does not plan on showing the results of the panel either. So, unfortunately, we'll never be able to see what the panelists genuinely think about Facebook's advertisements and if it is linked to dissatisfied users.