Facebook’s Sponsored Stories Turns News Feed Posts Into Home Page Ads

Today, Facebook launches a new ad unit called “Sponsored Stories” that turns Page updates, as well as Places checkins, Likes, and application activity by users into advertisements. Sponsored Stories will allow advertisers to augment viral buzz by giving greater distribution and visibility to posts that endorse their organization or business.

Sponsored Stories will initially be available through Facebook’s managed brand advertising services for display on the home page and profile, and in the coming weeks it will become part of the self-serve performance advertising tool for display across the site. Launch partners for the ad unit include Starbucks, Coca-Cola, Levi’s, and Anheuser-Busch, as well as social good organizations (RED) and UNICEF.

Facebook has been testing the ad unit for a few months and says it has resulted in brand lift and increased engagement, ad recall, and likeliness to be recommended to friends for the organizations that tried it.

When a user checks in to claimed Place, Likes a Page, or shares content to the news feed from an application that has paid for Sponsored Stories, that activity may appear as an advertisement to their friends. The ad is shown in special right sidebar module, and displays the user’s name and photo, any additional context or friends they’ve tagged, a picture of and link to the advertised Facebook Page or app, and the Likes and comments from the original post.

Similar to social context ads and Ads for Applications that Facebook launched this year, Sponsored Stories increases the relevance of advertisements to users by displaying a recommendation from one of their friends. Seeing that a friend has checked in at Starbucks is a much more compelling reason to visit than a standard advertisement telling a user to go get a coffee.

Jim Squires of Facebook Product Marketing says “all privacy settings are honored”, so the ads will only be visible to those who can see the original post they draw from. This means users will only see Sponsored Stories by their friends who haven’t restricted them from viewing their shared content. Advertisers can overlay any of Facebook’s standard demographic targeting parameters to further refine who sees a Sponsored Story.

Facebook plans to educate users about how Sponsored Stories respects their privacy through a blog post and explanation in the Help Center. However, there won’t be any link to this information within the ad unit. Some users may not want their content turned into ads, and since there’s no way to opt-out or turn off Sponsored Stories, some protest should be expected.

Page post Sponsored Stories are more straightforward. Pages can buy greater distribution for their latest news feed update, ensuring an audience for a particularly important link or announcement. Users who Like the Page will see the post in Sponsored Stories without having to Like it or take any other action.

Sponsored Stories co-opt a user’s actions, voice, and identity to create ads that resonate with their friends. While Twitter has diluted its content stream with promoted tweets in order to make money, Facebook may have found a significant new revenue stream without selling out the beloved news feed.

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37 Responses to “Facebook’s Sponsored Stories Turns News Feed Posts Into Home Page Ads”

  1. Facebook decides word of mouth should come at a price | Form Digital Consulting, London says:

    [...] is calling these update/ad hybrids ‘sponsored stories’. Inside Facebook describes their value to advertisers as allowing them to ‘augment viral [...]

  2. Facebook se paye nos têtes says:

    [...] Facebook’s Sponsored Stories Turns News Feed Posts Into Home Page Ads (insidefacebook.com) [...]

  3. Your Facebook network and sponsored stories « Becca Caddy says:

    [...] Facebook stepped the sponsored ads column up a notch with the introduction of Sponsored Stories, which means that instead of random ads appearing in the right hand column forcing you into [...]

  4. Facebook Now Turns Your Friends News Feed Into Ads | Skuggen.com says:

    [...] is introducing a new ad format, called Sponsored Stories. It is based on information collected from your friends status updates, combined with information [...]

  5. George says:

    This is a great concept. My organization will definitely attempt to implement this new and innovative feature.

  6. Facebook: Neues Werbeformat “Sponsored Stories” | Blog zu Social Media und Facebook Marketing says:

    [...] der Berichterstattung von insidefacebook.com gehören Starbucks, Coca-Cola, Levi’s, Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser), sowie die Hilfswerke (RED) [...]

  7. Facebook will use your content in its ads (no, you don’t get paid) | ThomasArts says:

    [...] Image courtesy of InsideFacebook.com. [...]

  8. Sponsored Stories: An Advertisers Perspective on Facebook’s New Ad Format « Social Media Strategy says:

    [...] January 24, 2011 Inside Facebook was one of the first to announce that Facebook was rolling out a new ad format called Sponsored [...]

  9. JohnFen says:

    “Some users may not want their content turned into ads, and since there’s no way to opt-out or turn off Sponsored Stories, some protest should be expected.”

    I’m certainly one of these users. This looks like the death of the “like” button for me. I’m certainly not going to click it if there’s a chance that I might be advertising for a product — and particularly not if it’s likely that my friends will see me advertise for a product.

  10. Ya está aquí, ya llegó…. evolución de la publicidad en Facebook | Raquel comenta … says:

    [...]  nuevo formato publicitario, o más bien, patrocinio lo han denominado como Sponsored Stories y, en un principio, estará disponible a través del administrador de publicidad [...]

  11. “Historias patrocinadas”, la nueva publicidad en Facebook, más intrusiva que nunca | TreceBits says:

    [...] en: Inside Facebook AKPC_IDS += "5747,";Además te puede interesar…MySpace también ha hecho públicos datos [...]

  12. Facebook » Sponsored Story Ads – Facebook macht User zu Werbefiguren says:

    [...] Weitere Links zu Sponsored Story Ads: Introducing Sponsored Stories by Facebook Marekting Solutions Sponsored Story Facebook Gefällt mir Klicks anzeigen bei Facebookbiz.de Facebook macht aus den Aktivitäten der Freunde ein neues Werbeformat auf Facebookmarketing.de Facebook’s Sponsored Stories Turns News Feed Posts Into Home Page Ads on insidefacebook.com [...]

  13. Is Facebook 'Sponsored Stories' turning its users into spammers? | ZDNet says:

    [...] [image cred] [...]

  14. Quora says:

    What is the future of SEO and Facebook?…

    I think that’s an interesting perspective but I’d respectfully disagree. The Open Graph is an attempt by Facebook to create a competing view of the Internet. The mechanism they use to do so is Likes. The number of Likes is also what Facebook uses to …

  15. » Facebook will use your content in its ads (no, you don’t get paid) The Other Drummer says:

    [...] Image courtesy of InsideFacebook.com. [...]

  16. Facebook, Sponsored Stories, Turns Your Life Into Money | NewsTaco says:

    [...] make money off of you, and me, and its other 600 million-ish users for that matter. Check this out, Facebook’s new “sponsored stories” takes things you do on your Facebook profile — from checking in with Places to Liking a page or sharing a story — [...]

  17. The latest in the social-media-sphere – 27/1/11 | The Social Skinny - All you need to know about Social Media says:

    [...] more: http://www.insidefacebook.com/2011/01/24/sponsored-stories-feed-ads/ Twitter and Facebook blocked in Egypt due to [...]

  18. Facebook verzahnt Statusupdates und Werbung mit Sponsored Stories, plant Groupon-Klon | Basic Thinking says:

    [...] Aber der Weg zu realen Gütern ist dabei nur noch ein Katzensprung. Facebook Stories soll in den kommenden Wochen nach und nach ausgerollt werden und dann allen Nutzern zur Verfügung stehen. Wann die [...]

  19. Your stories and recommendations = $$$$ for FaceBook | Wired Latinos says:

    [...] money off of you, and me, and its other 600 million-ish users for that matter. Check this out, Facebook’s new “sponsored stories” takes things you do on your Facebook profile — from checking in with Places to Liking a page or sharing a story — [...]

  20. This Week’s Headlines on Inside Facebook says:

    [...] Facebook’s Sponsored Stories Turns News Feed Posts Into Home Page Ads [...]

  21. Kritik mot Facebooks Sponsrade nyheter « Newsdesk PR 2.0 says:

    [...] nya sociala annonsprogram “Sponsrade nyheter” funkar som så att när dina vänner “gillar”, checkar in på, eller delar med sig av annan [...]

  22. Thud. FB Deals Just Landed in Canada « Clip Mobile Blog says:

    [...] being used by FB, our newsfeeds could very quickly begin to look like scrolling billboards especially if the integration with “Sponsored Stories” proceeds as planned.  Read on and you will see how this is almost surely going to lead to more privacy concerns for [...]

  23. ewardo menendez says:

    Como estan amigos de facebook lo siento por loke esta pasando en eggito pues todos somos seres umanos y seke es triste pero. Ke DIOS les ayude al pueblo ejipsio

  24. Promueva su marca con los Sponsores Stories en Facebook. | Alterno Media says:

    [...] InsideFacebook.com [...]

  25. You Can't Retweet a Coaster says:

    [...] big announcement last week was Sponsored Stories, a new ad format that allows brands to highlight organic News Feed items, such as Likes and [...]

  26. Communication a huge and confusing melting pot « Newsdesk PR 2.0 says:

    [...] Stories”, which today may seem a little funny when that is the exact same name Facebook uses for its new advertising program, where a company pays for people in its network to share information about that company with their [...]

  27. Misconceptions about own, bought and earned media | //saara says:

    [...] Sponsored stories on Facebook is another interesting dimension. Not your traditional media buy activity is it, when you add the earned media aspect to it. [...]

  28. SXSWrapup (Part 5): The Value of a Facebook Fan is Exactly… | The Awesome Blog (.net) says:

    [...] and encourage their involvement (or, turn their contributions into advertising assets via Facebook’s Sponsored Stories). Then again, this might not be as easy as it seems. In an interesting retort to the Klout-like [...]

  29. Facebook Ad Sales Chief: There Are 50 Million Likes Per Day For Brands « TechCrunch Disrupt says:

    [...] has to be as compelling as sharing a status update or sharing a photo. The social network recently launched sponsored stories, which turns status updates, Likes, checkins and application activity on Facebook [...]

  30. Disrupt:Facebookの広告営業責任者―Fbページへの「いいね!」は毎日5000万 says:

    [...] Eversonによれば、ファウンダー、CEOのMark Zuckerbergは、「Facebookの広告はステータス・アップデートや写真など、一般のコンテンツと同じくらい説得力があり興味を引くものでなければならない」と考えているという。Facebookは「スポンサード・ストーリー」という新しい広告をスタートさせた。これはユーザーの「いいね!」やチェックインなどのニュースフィードをブランドが改めて有償広告として表示するというものだ。Eversonは「先進的なブランドほどこの新しい広告方式を導入する傾向にある。しかし、現在はまだ従来のディスプレイ広告が圧倒的なシェアを占めている。私たちはまだ広告の可能性のやっと1%を試したにすぎない」と言った。 [...]

  31. Is Facebook about to Lose it’s Cool? | nickourey says:

    [...] going on behind the scenes at the big f. The article discusses how brands are taking advantage of sponsored stories which basically turn you and your friends interactions (likes, comments, check-ins, etc.) with a [...]

  32. Historias patrocinadas: nuevo formato publicitario en Facebook | Monky says:

    [...] en una época donde se habla mucho acerca del valor de la compañía, esta decidió lanzar un nuevo formato publicitario para obtener más ingresos: las historias [...]

  33. Internet Retailing » GUEST COMMENT Techniques for retailers to improve the performance of their online ad campaigns says:

    [...] that Facebook is now a viable sales or consumer reward channel; and new services such as Facebook Sponsored Stories and Deals mean it’s increasing in strategic importance as part of the marketing and sales mix. [...]

  34. Facebook’s Sponsored Stories Ads Appear in the New App Ticker | Andy Knott | Digital Business Advisor & Consultant says:

    [...] released Sponsored Stories in January as a new way for advertisers to serve highly relevant ads promoting their Facebook [...]

  35. Facebook’s Sponsored Stories Ads Appear in the New App Ticker | Digital Fan Marketing says:

    [...] released Sponsored Stories in January as a new way for advertisers to serve highly relevant ads promoting their Facebook [...]

  36. Facebook Sponsored Story Ads To Appear In The Web News Feed In 2012 : WallCel says:

    [...] ads were cramped to a tiny sidebar on a right side of a interface. In Jan 2011, though, Facebook launched Sponsored Stories. They concede advertisers to compensate to spin a news feed stories generated by interactions [...]

  37. Posts in the Press Kit Category at TBG Digital says:

    [...] American Express, and Vodafone, making it one of the largest ad buyers on the platform. When Sponsored Stories launched in January, it moved quickly to be able to provide purchases of the ad unit at scale to its clients, and has [...]

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