Facebook Ads and Sponsored Stories

Facebook has rolled out Sponsored Stories.

This is a new ad format that turns your friends’ actions into paid ads in the right sidebar.

At the moment, this service is only available to a select group of advertisers that have been hand picked to participate by Facebook.

While this information doesn’t affect the majority of advertisers just yet, it is important to understand what Sponsored Stories are and how they work. I expect Facebook will test the success of this new format, and then start to roll it out for smaller advertisers as well.

How it works:

When you “check in” using Facebook Places, advertisers can use that information as a sponsored story advertisement. These will appear in the right hand side of Facebook pages, alongside other PPC ads.

Advertisers can select Page Likes, App Interactions, Place check-ins, and Page posts to promote via this new format.

When your friends interact with businesses and organizations on Facebook, their activity is currently published in your news feed. If that business has opted to purchase a Sponsored Story advertisement, you may also see that action in the sidebar as an ad.

The idea is that businesses can choose to highlight social interactions with their brand on Facebook.

When will I see a Sponsored Story?

Whether you see a Sponsored Story depends on the actions of your friends. If they have connected with a business that has chosen to promote stories, you may see an ad from that business promoting your friends’ actions with their business.

Is this the same as a Facebook Ad?

No. Advertisers have full control of the messages they send in a Facebook Ad. Sponsored Stories, on the other hand, pull user generated content and publish it on behalf of the advertiser. All messages, posts, checkins, comments can be displayed regardless of the nature of the content.

This is a paid advertising option, and the prices of sponsored stories will vary.

Keep your eye on the sidebar – chances are you’ll be seeing a few sponsored stories there soon!

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