Facebook testing seven ads per webpage

Facebook seems to have increased the maximum number of ads it shows per webpage from six to seven. Just two months ago, the number was increased from five to six. Where does it end?
Written by Emil Protalinski, Contributor

Facebook has started showing some users up to seven ads on one webpage. Previously, the social networking giant wouldn't show more than six. In fact, the Facebook Help Center still says six is the maximum:

Where will my Facebook Ad show up? Marketplace Ads display in the right-hand column of Facebook pages. Up to six Marketplace ads may show at one time on any given page. Advertisers do not currently have the option to choose on which pages their ads appear. Ads are eligible to appear beside apps, photos, groups, Pages, profiles (timelines), etc.

As you can see in the screenshot above though, courtesy of Inside Facebook, some users are now seeing seven ads. The increase from six to seven has been very quick: Facebook began displaying six ads at once in November 2011. Two months later, and the company is already pushing towards seven as the new maximum.

Facebook is of course trying to increase its revenue in advance of its upcoming IPO. While adding more ads per webpage will likely achieve this goal, it could also reduce clickthrough rates because users typically don't click on more than one ad per page, there is more competition between ads, and fewer ads are visible without scrolling. In short, adding more ads will likely annoy advertisers, as well as users.

Until Facebook figures out another solid form of revenue though, the social networking giant doesn't really have a choice but to play around with ads: adding more, changing their orientation, placing them in different areas of the site, and so on. As the company tried to explain to its users last month: ads are what allow the social network to operate as a free service.

See also:

Editorial standards