In June, U.S. Web users spent roughly 4.5 hours writing on Facebook walls, flipping through Facebook photos, and stalking total Facebook strangers, according to new data from Nielsen. That’s more time than they logged on any other site, including Yahoo! (approx. 3.25 hours), Google (approx. 2.5 hours), and eBay (78 minutes).
Now, Mark Zuckerberg and Co. are experimenting with an ad-viewer that will surely test this newfound loyalty. In the past, Facebook’s video ads have been fixed on the upper-right side of the homepage; when you click them, they play in-line. With the new viewer, however, they’ll pop up center-screen, blocking the rest of the page’s content.
It’s a bold move for Facebook, which has famously kept its homepage–and its 200 million profiles–light on advertising. In fact, part of what I love about the site is that it
has stayed away from intrusive models like this, which I try to avoid at all costs.
I can’t fault Facebook for trying, though. Earlier this week, the site was valued at $6.5 billion–nearly $1.5 billion higher than other recent secondary market evaluations. If this new ad-viewer takes off, allowing Facebook to snag a larger share of online advertisers’ budgets, it’ll help further that momentum.
But Zuckerberg should tread carefully. Historically, he hasn’t been great with makeovers.