Today, January 25 Faceboook announced the launch Sponsored Stories—new ad format, which represents an organic part of the social network. So, instead of displaying classic online ads, the network will now show users actions of their friends in the right column of the page— such as checkins or actions within Facebook apps—involving the advertisers.
One of the Facebook representatives said to Mashable that the new ad format is “a way for marketers to sponsor activities that happen throughout the News Feed”. The most interesting and innovative point about the Sponsored Stories, according to the representative is that “the advertiser is not controlling the message; it’s about actions”.
Four types of user actions can be turned into featured stories—likes, checkins, actions using custom applications and Page posts. Companies who have their own custom apps (for instance, Starbucks Card) may promote the actions users take within them. So, once a user checks in to a claimed place, likes a page, or uses the application that has paid for Sponsored Stories, the mentioned activities will be displayed as ads to their friends. “Sponsored Stories has a lot of similarities to Twitter Promoted Tweets. Both are trying to use content from within their networks and turn them into advertising dollars”, Mashable.com reports.
In the beginning, sponsor stories will feature such Facebook’s partners as Coke, Levi’s, Anheuser Busch, Playfish, and Starbucks as well as a number of non-for-profit organizations like Donors Choose, Girl Up!, Malaria No More, Amnesty International, Women for Women, UNICEF, etc.
The advertisers will be able to bid for the placement in the Sponsored Stories column on the basis of pay-per-click or pay-per-view advertising.
According to www.insidefacebook.com, “Facebook has been testing the ad unit for a few months and says it has resulted in brand lift and increased engagement, ad recall, and likeliness to be recommended to friends for the organizations that tried it”.