Facebook hit a billion users recently, and in turn released its first brand ad.
A lot of chatter has come up about the number of users, which is undoubtedly impressive (again, that’s 1 then 9 zeros), but I have been more interested in the branding of the ad.
It reads like an intro to a feature film. Without a doubt its purpose is to sell Facebook as your break from your day, a chance to reconnect and live a more satisfying life. The line that stands out the most to me is that Facebook is there to remind you that you are not alone. More key concepts: Sharing. Connecting. Living.
At the end of the spot I felt inspired, but not to update my Facebook page. I feel a bit conflicted, because I am social media savvy and use my Facebook to share bits and pieces of my life with my family, who live several hours away. It’s a great way to share, but as I see Facebook continue to monetize, its product becomes more and more watered down. The company is constantly reworking its edgerank algorithm, which decides what you see in your newsfeed. A recent adjustment reduced brand pages’ exposure, which in my opinion was likely to encourage the use of Facebook advertising.
The ad is everything you want Facebook to be all rolled into 90 seconds, but I’m not sure its consistent with years of its actions. I realize it’s a business, and I have always been OK with the sidebar ads and even the sponsored posts. But more and more I feel that Facebook makes efforts to limit user-generated content to pave a way for paid content, which is not good for the user experience.
Is Facebook a great marketing tool? Of course. Return to line one – one billion users. It would be foolish for a business to ignore access to that kind of audience. It’s 1/7th of the planet’s population. But as Facebook continues to grow, and most importantly, monetize its product, it must find a way to keep the user experience as genuine as their what their beautiful ad pitches.