Monday, February 14th, 2011
In late January Facebook launched Sponsored Stories. Here’s our initial POV…
What are Sponsored Stories? A great name for ads created from brand relevant content that is produced by Facebook user actions. Important: These ads are only seen within a users friend network.
The included actions: Likes, check-ins, actions within custom applications and Page posts. User postings on brand walls can also be used.
Best case description: Brands are highlighting relevant content that a user may have missed in the steady stream of their Walls.
Worst case description: User actions are unwittingly being turned into brand endorsements without any kick back.
This is not unlike what Gmail does by selling ads based on keywords within emails, although these Facebook ads are more overt with the identification of the user and their action. Twitter Promoted Tweets are also similar – although Twitter’s solution is more closely aligned with search ranking or a Digg model. It is also based on aggregated, anonymous data.
Why are Sponsored Stories important:
- They are a new ad format for Facebook. They dip a toe in the old Beacon pool but don’t dive in fully. I think this is the major reason why they’re launching with lots of non-profit partners – which is smart. Users are going to be a lot more amenable to, and potentially lenient towards, non-profits than to for-profit brands.