GCAI “likes” Sponsored Stories already. We’ve employed them for both client branding purposes and to help with the charitable causes we support. According to Facebook, Sponsored Stories are regular News Feed stories that have been promoted to the right column of Facebook, where you may be more likely to discover new things that your friends are interested in.
And they are effective. According to TechCrunch:
“Studies have shown sidebar Sponsored Stories have a 46% higher click through rate than traditional ads, and you can expect the CTR of news feed Sponsored Stories to be even higher.”
Can you improve on that? Facebook thinks so and plans to add Sponsored Stories into the News Feeds early next year. Here’s how it will work. If one of your Facebook friends “@ tags” Burger King in a Facebook post, Burger King can use their tagged post as an advertisement for their company ( See image).
According to a Mahsable article, the appearance of these ads will depend on their popularity; therefore ads with more clicks will remain on a user’s News Feed for a longer period of time. A Facebook representative emphasized that this placement will be used sparingly, with most users seeing about one ad per day in their News Feed.
What does this mean for your branding efforts on Facebook? Sponsored Stories will open the door to a new audience, consisting of the Facebook friends of the person who tagged the company. They can be used to drive more traffic to a business Facebook page with the hope, of course, that they will “Like” the page.
Pundits and online advertising experts are beginning to “like” this new advertising development – although some note a downside too. The above reference TechCrunch article outlines the advantage of Sponsored Stories appearing in consumers’ News Feeds:
“By mixing them in with social content on the site’s home page they’ll be much more noticeable and therefore more valuable to advertisers.”
The same article also notes a potential downside:
“Some users will likely be outraged by the presence of ads in the news feed, as well as by having their content so directly used to make Facebook money.”
Our best advice? We’re going to keep using them – and will report what we find. But, stay tuned – because if the noise level gets too high, we would expect Facebook might make changes to keep users happy.