We have had some great conversations lately with clients and friends about sponsored stories on Facebook. Most people have noticed that sponsored stories have started popping up in their newsfeeds and there is some confusion about what they are and why there are there.
Sponsored stories are sort of like ads because they are focused on a business and that business has paid to put the story in your newsfeed. However they are slightly different than true ads because they are put in your newsfeed based on your friends’ interaction with the company. (This means that if you have a friend who likes a business page or interacts with that business in some other way on Facebook, chances are that you are going to see a sponsored story about that business in either your newsfeed or the side bar.) On the flip side, if you were to interact with a business, you could be indirectly pushing sponsored stories into your friends’ newsfeed.
It is up to each business to decide if they want to have sponsored stories appear in people’s newsfeeds and when those stories should appear. If you are interested in having sponsored ads for your business, it is a simple process of just creating the copy and setting it up in Facebook. A lot of businesses prefer to pay for sponsored stories versus true ads. This is because if a business considers you to be in their target market, chances are that your friends will be in their target market as well. It really just comes down to getting more bang for your buck and businesses seem to like what sponsored stories have the potential to do.
Something to keep in mind is that not everyone will see sponsored stories – especially those people who are concerned about privacy issues on their account. Everyone has the ability to “block” sponsored stories from their newsfeed. It will certainly be interesting to see how Facebook ads and sponsored stories continue to evolve as Facebook works harder and harder to make money.