Facebook Ads Invading Videos

As the school year at the University of San Diego inches toward its close, some students’ motivation also takes a dive. For many students, daydreaming about summer comes with procrastination, often spent scrolling through social media.

After checking Instagram, your friends’ Snapchat stories, and Twitter, you move on to Facebook. One of the best distractions from schoolwork can be Facebook’s seemingly bottomless pit of videos, some funny, other educational or emotional, but all equally successful at wasting time.

For those that frequently scroll through these types of videos, you may have noticed something different the last time you logged on: advertisements placed in the middle of your video.

Facebook announced the new advertising strategy at the end of February, but is testing it in waves, so not everyone has experienced the ads yet. For many who have had their videos interrupted, it can be a frustrating experience. Given that most videos on the site are under five minutes, having your video interrupted on several occasions in such a short time frame can be annoying.

Unlike YouTube or similar video-heavy sites that play their ads at the beginning of the video, Facebook interrupts your viewing experience at random with these ads. These interruptions can come at  awkward times, as there does not appear to be any rhyme or reason to the breaking points. As a result, these ads can ruin the video, and may deter some from watching the video in the first place.

Senior Kathlyn Avery noted that the addition of ads has detracted from her Facebook video browsing.

“I don’t go on Facebook very often, but when I do I like to check out the new Buzzfeed videos,” Avery said. “The last time I logged on, the videos started playing with ads, and I was really thrown off. It made me not want to watch at all.”

Senior Bethany Mok noted that sometimes the advertisements are too long when compared to the videos themselves, and this length isn’t justified.

“I think that Facebook ads interrupting videos are completely unnecessary,” Mok said. “All I want to watch is my 30-second long Tasty video, and the ads are longer than the video themselves. It’s ridiculous.”

While these ads seem to make financial sense for Facebook, it could also hurt the brand by driving users away. This could be especially detrimental to the platform, as it is already becoming less popular among younger users. These ads are in the beginning stages, and Facebook is sure to work out the kinks before finalizing the new ad model. For now though, they seem to be an unwelcome change for many.

By Dani DeVries, Opinion Editor