Facebook Walks a Fine Line Between Users and Advertisers

In an effort to balance it's two-sided business model, Facebook wants advertisers to post content that looks more native to the news feed.


Facebook has become so large that now it delivers a multitude of experienced for different use cases. Some are using it as a communication platform, others a messaging service, others are using it as a marketing tool. However, a new attempt from Facebook to make in-stream ads more organic might not help the site’s advertisers.

The official statement reads:

According to people we surveyed, there are some consistent traits that make organic posts feel too promotional:

  1. Posts that solely push people to buy a product or install an app
  2. Posts that push people to enter promotions and sweepstakes with no real context
  3. Posts that reuse the exact same content from ads

Starting in 2015, posts like these will see less traction in the news feed, according to a Facebook statement. The problem, Facebook says, is not that users hate all ads, but that the pages trying to market organically do so too aggressively. This leads to lower quality content in the news feed.

As we’ve seen in the past, organic reach isn’t as useful a metric as people think when it comes to Facebook. Facebook has also given users tools to tailor the kind of ad content they see and the ability to see less from certain friends or pages.

Facebook’s data is clear: Users don’t like content that don’t look natural in the news feed. But Facebook still has to accommodate the needs of advertisers, since its two-sided business model is heavily dependent on pushing advertisements and promoted posts into the news feeds of users.

Trying to deliver the experience users want, in addition to the kind of reach advertisers want is proving somewhat difficult for Facebook. In order to both retain it’s sizable user base and keep advertisers happy, Facebook will have to walk a very fine line. If the service hopes to retain its power in the market, then this is the struggle it will have to focus on.