Facebook is trying to give users a reason to care about the ads, with a technique as old as civilization, bribery. Facebook is going to pay users in Facebook Credits if they choose to watch display ads on the site. Users will obviously not get rich off of watching ads, since each ad garners a user only 10 cents per view.
The ads will initially be tied to games. A group of Facebook’s most popular game makers, including Zynga, CrowdStar, and Digital Chocolate, have chosen to participate in the ad campaign. This means very popular games, such as Farmville and Mafia Wars have the chance to draw a large pool of users into the paid-advertisement game. Once the initial ad is done, users are alerted that the earned a credit, and then have a choice to view more ads or go onto their game. Sadly, each ad requires a click, so you cannot simply open a new browser tab and let the ad roll while you work.
How users will respond to this small incentive is yet to be seen. At estimates coming out to between $2 and $3 for each hour of ad viewing, this reporter thinks it is unlikely that many users will watch more than one ad.
Incentivizing consumers to watch ads is one solution for Facebook’s low banner click-through rates. The move comes after Facebook expanded its Credits program last week to let consumers use the Credits to buy real-world goods advertised in Deals. Previously, the credits, which were awarded for consumers who signed up for various programs (like magazine subscriptions) or bought outright could only buy virtual goods.