It’s Time We Told Facebook ‘No’ When It Comes to Interrupting Videos to Play Ads
So there you are, killing a little time by watching a video in your Facebook feed. (For myself, I'm a complete sucker for any video showing lava flowing. I have been known to cut off a conversation mid-sentence because a lava flow video scrolled across my screen.)
Ahem. So there you are, watching lava flowing, when you suddenly see a little warning in the corner of the video. An ad is about to play. But wait, there's still two minutes left in this video. How is there going to be an ad playing in five seconds? They couldn't possibly...
If I let this happen, if I just say it's okay for Facebook to ruin whatever experience I'm having because some anti-social algorithm decided it was time to milk me like a money cow, they will keep doing it.
Yep. They did. They just interrupted a video cold in the middle to try to get me to snap into a Slim Jim. They didn't even pick a good spot to interrupt. They just stone-cold STOPPED the video dead in in its tracks to try and sell me a used Kia.
Remember when I said I've been known to cut off a conversation mid-sentence for lava? Do you know what happens when I do that? The person I'm talking to gets offended. Because it's frickin' rude, dude. It shows a complete disregard for the person you're trying to reach. It's 100% equivalent to walking up to a stranger's table and spitting in their food. YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO ACT LIKE THAT IN PUBLIC, FACEBOOK. When you act like that, people stop talking to you, because it's painfully clear you don't like them.
I get that Facebook is a business and they gotta make the doughnuts every day. They gotta chase that paper. I know all about that -- I run websites, too, and my salary is 100% dependent on advertising dollars. I get it, Facebook. I seriously do. But if you think that interrupting a piece of content to play an ad is an acceptable way to make money, then you are just a rampaging herd of donkey-holes.
And guess what -- I'm going to take out my frustration on your advertiser. It's not personal, Zuck. But I am, in no way, going to support anyone who thinks this is a good business model.
And neither should anyone reading this.
So this is what I do. Every time, no matter what. I would hope you do it, too:
- Watch Facebook videos.
- Enjoy Facebook videos.
- Immediately close Facebook entirely the moment I see that an ad is playing in five seconds. Even if I was really liking the video.
- Walk away.
But if you think that interrupting a piece of content to play an ad is an acceptable way to make money, then you are just a rampaging herd of donkey-holes.
That sounds extreme, I know. Aren't I kind of screwing myself over? Yes, I am. (I really wanted to find out if that lava was going to eat the GoPro camera.) But if I let this happen, if I just say it's okay for Facebook to ruin whatever experience I'm having because some anti-social algorithm decided it was time to milk me like a money cow, they will keep doing it. And that just lets other companies think, "Mmm, if a giant like Facebook can get away with it..."
No. No! BAD Facebook. (rubs nose in it) BAD FACEBOOK.
- "But, but -- Facebook is a business, and they let you use their product for free, blubber blubber blubber mouth-fart."
You know what, shove that ignorant garbage where the sun don't shine, Bubba. Facebook mines my posts for data and uses that to make fat stacks of filthy blood money. Let's not act like children, pretending that Facebook is just some innocent squirrel trying to get a nut. There is no gun to their head in this matter. They're just being turd lords, plain and simple.
- "But, but -- YouTube does the same thing sometimes, why aren't you yelling at YouTube gurgle gurgle uncontrollable drool?"
It's not okay when YouTube does it to me, either. However, the rate at which YouTube interrupts videos is WAY lower, and when they do, it's typically on longer videos, not a 2:00 video. As a massive YouTube watcher, I would say the most that ever happens to me is once or twice a month -- and when it does, there's a little yellow strip in the video's timeline to tell me when an ad is coming up. Facebook does it on about 40% of the videos I watch, just by my estimation. That's not comparable. YouTube also gives me the option to skip most ads. Facebook basically forces their ads on me.
Facebook is not life. I don't need Facebook to live. It's a luxury, and a distraction. I know Facebook thinks of itself as irreplaceable and unavoidable -- YOU CAN'T NOT HAVE A FACEBOOK, HAHAHA -- but that's simply not true. Facebook is something that can be really neat and occasionally wonderful. And I expect Facebook to advertise things to me -- I'm not an idiot.
But if you really want to put this whole thing in perspective, try the following experiment. The next 10 times you're having sex with someone, stop dead in the middle, and for about :15 or so, try to sell your partner something. Doesn't matter what it is. Just disengage entirely right when they're really into it, and go straight-ahead into your sales pitch: "Hey, honey, imma let you finish -- but did you know Red Bull gives you wings?"
Keep track of how that works for you.