Facebook announced an update to one of their advertising options today Sponsored Stories will appear as regular posts in news feeds, beginning in the New Year. The Sponsored Stories will function much like Twitter’s Promoted Tweets. Sponsored Stories can currently be found on the lower right hand column of Facebook user’s news feeds. Starting in January 2012 these ads will be found in news feeds accompanied by a small “sponsored” tag next to the date line. The change will not immediately affect mobile users. However SEO, Inc. predicts after this move, sponsored mobile news feed content cannot be far behind.
Sponsored Stories are user-generated organic content created from interacting with businesses. Stories are created when Facebook friends “like”, check-in and generally interact with brands on the platform. Interested advertisers can pay to feature that content as Sponsored Stories, located currently in a side column, and soon on Facebook user’s news feeds. The new real estate for advertisers give brands and businesses the ability to have their content appear more prominently in the rapidly-changing real-time shuffle that is Facebook news feed. The change is certainly an intriguing development for social media marketing, but how will users react to the melange of social interactions and advertisements?
Facebook attempted a similar scheme for advertising in news feeds back in 2007 and since this fall, Sponsored Stories have also appeared in the Ticker area adjacent. This time around, the integration into user’s news feeds is designed to deliver organic content relevant to users through their personal interests and social network. Facebook has also chosen to limit Sponsored Stories appearing in individual news feeds to one per day.
A study from Spring 2011 found Sponsored Stories had a 46% higher click through rate than standard, non-social ads. Understandably, this type of advertising is more attractive to both brands attempting to create social buzz and Facebook’s own IPO. It will be interesting to see how significant this revenue stream becomes, because it certainly has a ton of potential.
What do you think about the news of sponsored advertisements coming to Facebook News Feed? Can your brand leverage this new opportunity?