Facebook’s primary focus today was its effort to convince advertisers that Facebook ads aren’t a waste of money. That’s been a big problem for the company (naturally, given that 90% of its revenue comes from advertising), and mobile has been a particularly sticky wicket. Its main source of revenue came from ads—poorly performing ads, but ads—that were on the right hand side of the page. But you can’t do that on a 4-inch screen.
The saving grace is Sponsored Stories. People click them, because they’re in the news feed, and they look like something one of their friends might have posted. And on a mobile screen, they’re basically a full-page ad. They’re by far the most successful type of ad that Facebook has.
Thankfully, Facebook says it’s being really damn careful about screwing with the newsfeed. COO Sheryl Sandberg said, “We’ve been fairly cautious about only rolling out a certain amount [of sponsored stories] and we intend to continue to be cautious.”
So that’s good. But any increase to ads in the newsfeed, no matter now gradual, is more junk for you to chew through. Maybe it’s inevitable, but it’s still a shame.