Brace yourself Facebook users… come January, Facebook’s Sponsored Stories will migrate from only being in the Ticker and sidebar to also appearing in the News Feed. At first, this may seem daunting to the average user, but in reality, Facebook is being strategic about how these ads appear and how often. In addition, even though you will not be able to opt out of seeing the Stories, you will be able to delete the post from your News Feed if you wish.
A user will see no more than one Sponsored Story in their News Feed per day and the ad will appear from only Brands that they have already Liked. No ad can appear from a Brand Page you have not previously Liked. Ben and Jerry’s will be the first brand sharing their advertisements in users’ News Feeds- see below. At first glance, Sponsored Stories look very similar to organic News Feed stories from friends. The only giveaway is in the bottom right hand corner, the last place the eyes would look, displays “Sponsored.” If you hover over it, a message appears letting you know that, “This was already shared with you. A sponsor paid to feature it here.” At this point, the user has most likely already processed and internalized the ad’s message.
Even though Facebook has been experimenting with ads and the placement of ads for years, Sponsored Stories are relatively new, as they premiered in 2011. When someone interacts with a Brand Page such as liking it, the brand can pay to feature that story more prominently to reach more Facebook users.
With Sponsored Stories appearing in the main News Feed, they will be noticed more by users than ever before making these stories incredibly valuable to advertisers. User’s main viewing attention is constantly on the News Feed checking out status updates from friends and the latest pictures posted from the weekend. Sponsored Stories located in the sidebar have a 46% higher click through rate than traditional ads and this number will be much higher once Sponsored Stories settle in on the News Feed. As we move into the New Year, everyone, especially advertisers, are asking themselves how they can grow with social media for their personal and professional brand. How do you feel about Sponsored Stories coming to the News Feed?