The Future of Facebook Ads (and how Adblock Plus will deal with them) · 2013-05-07 15:16 by MonztA
Advertising on Facebook started in 2006 with a simple banner ad syndication deal with Microsoft and a one-year marketing experiment by Chase credit card. Fast-forward to 2013 and Facebook now offers Facebook Ads, Sponsored Stories, Sponsored Stories within the News Feed, Promoted Posts, Sponsored Apps and Event Sponsorship. Next, it is rumored that Facebook will begin selling $1 million-dollar-per-day video ads that auto-play and cover both the left- and right-hand rails of users’ screens.
We here at Adblock Plus are thinking of buying one of those $1 million video ad slots to run a campaign telling people that the future of Facebook ads doesn’t need to be so… well, noisy.
Adblock Plus’s position is not to pass judgment on whether advertising is good or bad, but rather to give users the tools to decide for themselves what type and what level of online advertising they will accept. So below, we’ve outlined how we’re going to help you deal with the expanding Facebook advertising presence.
Blocking Sponsored Posts
Highlighted in the screenshots here are examples of the multiple types of Facebook advertising.
The most important ones are:
- Sponsored ads in the right sidebar,
- Sponsored “Pages you may like”,
- Logout ads,
- Sponsored results,
- Sponsored pages your friends like,
- Sponsored related posts of pages your friends like,
- Sponsored suggested posts not even your friends or you liked
The good news: as long as it is tagged as “sponsored”, it can be blocked by Adblock Plus. When running Adblock Plus set to our default filter settings, your Facebook experience will look something like this:
Blocking Facebook “Recommendations”
Of course, not all Facebook advertising is explicitly labeled as such. There are other “advertising-like” components of Facebook — for example “People you may know”, “Games you may like”, “Games your friends are playing” and “Recommended pages”. In response to the many requests from our users, the filter list community at Adblock Plus has been manually identifying and tagging these promotions. However, because these promotions are technically speaking not ads, we currently do not remove them by default.
Continuing on, for people who do not play online games on Facebook (like me), “Games you may like” and “Games your friends are playing” are rather annoying and irrelevant. Facebook does not provide an opt-out for users like me and they keep showing these suggestions even though it is totally useless for many users. Fortunately, Adblock Plus can help you here. Due to a large amount of requests, we decided to post short instructions on our Facebook page on how to remove these suggestions. If you have Adblock Plus already installed, it is actually pretty easy:
On Firefox: click the “ABP” logo (most likely in the left corner on the bottom), then “Filter preferences…”, then “Custom filters” on the top, “Add a filter group” and type anything you like, right-click it and choose “Show/hide filters, go to “Add filter” on the right and paste this filter:
On Chrome and Opera: right-click the “ABP” logo in the address bar (on Opera it is on the right at the search bar) on the right and choose “Options”, click “Add your own filters”, paste this filter
facebook.com##.ego_column.egoOrganicColumnin the text field and click on “Add filter”.
But there is more: if you want to remove “Trending videos”, “Most Shared”, “Upcoming Concerts” or “Games Your Friends Are Playing” from your news feed, add this filter:
Update: Looks like “Games Your Friends Are Playing” needs this filter now:
To remove “Recently Released Albums” from your news feed, add this one:
“Page X is posting about Page Y” can be removed by adding
facebook.com##.storyContent > .storyUnconnectedPost
The Future of Facebook Ads
Facebook will keep ‘innovating’ on new ad formats, for sure. But once a new ad format is discovered, our community is usually pretty quick to add it to the filter.
For example, once Facebook’s new news feed is up and running, we’ll make it our top priority to enable our users to block all ads in the new format, if they so choose, as well as provide easy filters to block other annoyances.
For mobile advertising, the story is a bit different. Mobile usage – both in terms of the Facebook App and the Facebook mobile site – is growing, and in many countries makes up even the majority of usage. Unfortunately, using Adblock Plus for Android to block these ads on mobile is not possible, since it cannot analyze HTTPS traffic. However, we are keeping an eye out for other possibilities.
So, whatever the future of Facebook adverting is, you can be sure that the Adblock Plus community will continue to find ways to enable you, the user, to choose to either enjoy it or block it. The decision belongs to you.
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