MIAMI (CNET) — Facebook is getting users accustomed to ads slowly and incrementally. One small change, then another — that way, users get used to seeing them.
CBS-owned CNET reports the social network began testing one more way to bring in ads this week: dropping them into people’s news feeds even though the user or their friends aren’t necessarily fans of the brand or product.
According to TechCrunch, these tests are part of a hard-hitting Web and mobile news feed ad unit geared toward impressing investors. The way it would work is advertisers could pay to display their Pages in users’ news feeds without having to grow a fan base first. Currently, these Pages are only displayed in Facebook’s sidebar or Sponsored Stories.
“We think this will make it easier for businesses to reach more people,” a Facebook spokesperson told TechCrunch.
The social network also said that it was approaching this new ad idea cautiously. “We want to be thoughtful about how we introduce ads in news feed, so we have limits in place to ensure that people’s news feeds are not filled with advertising,” the spokesperson said.
According to TechCrunch, this new ad unit is part of a small test and it’s not yet clear when it will roll out to more users and advertisers.
Facebook launched news feed advertising in January, dropping in unsolicited ads from users’ fan pages and labeling them “featured.” Since then the social network has been developing other types of ad testing — particularly in mobile since it’s increasingly more important for earning revenue. In June, Facebook began working on a mobile ad product that uses real-time data based on users’ locations.
CNET contacted Facebook for comment. We’ll update the story when we get more information.