Facebook: Our users can take more ads, truckloads more

If you’re thinking advertising volumes on Facebook must be close to its threshold, you’d be flat out wrong.

Facebook’s global head of measurement and insights Brad Smallwood told AdNews there are in fact oodles of opportunities for Facebook users to take on more ads in their news feeds and to the right of the screen simply because Facebook tailors the volume of ads it serves to individuals based on their use of the platform. Once again, it’s all coming back to the algorithm.

During a recent visit to Australia, Smallwood said the social media juggernaut monitors individual levels of user engagement daily and had no concerns about annoying its users with advertising overkill.

“It definitely varies by target,” he said. “And the reason it varies by target is that people who consume a lot of impressions  look very different. Their tolerance levels are very different than somebody who only checks Facebook once or twice a day. Somebody who is constantly using it just has a different type of expectation.

"What I’m really trying to do if I’m only on once or twice is get a lot of information from my friends at that point,. They look very different to people who are using it all day long. They’re looking for things to do and engage with. Naturally you’d expect a different level of engagement there.”

But ask Smallwood what the specific ad tolerance levels are in hard numbers for Facebook users and the dynamic changes again – to paraphrase, he says AdNews has a fat chance of getting them. What Smallwood will say about the volume of ads being served on Facebook is that the potential is still sky high.

“We are not at the point where that is a significant constraint factor for us,” he says. “The other thing we constantly monitor is this overall engagement with the news feed and mobile – if that were to start changing, it would be bad. But we do monitor that and we do continue to see that go up and up and up on an individual basis.”

That’s a lot of up but Smallwood says it “again gives us the kind of confidence that the experience is still very powerful for a user.”

There is one more dimension that Smallwood says Facebook tracks to ensure it’s not in the red zone for advertising overkill – the good old click-through, or, in Facebook parlance, interaction rates.

“The last thing we do is we monitor daily the relative interaction rates that we’re seeing for people clicking on ads and how engaged they are with the ads,” he says. “We constantly monitor what click through rates are and interaction rates are as a measure of whether we are burning particular users out. All of those measures are very positive and continue to be very positive.”

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