Sponsored Stories – Facebook Using Your Content for Ads

Emily MacNair - March 18, 2011

Facebook has been a great marketing tool for quite some time through their Company Pages as well as through their advertising. Now, there is a new advertising opportunity called Sponsored Stories.  A Sponsored Story is essentially an action taken by a Facebook user that a company has promoted or sponsored.  These types of actions can include Page likes, interaction with apps, check-ins, posts to pages, etc. These stories will show up on the right hand side when logged into Facebook.  An example of a Sponsored Story is below.

One importing thing to note is that the Sponsored Stories will follow your privacy settings. This means that you will only see Sponsored Stories containing content that would normally show up in your News Feed; content posted by your friends.  In addition, a Sponsored Story that features your content will never be shown to someone who’s not a friend. The idea behind this is that when your connections are interacting with a page, checking in to a location or using an app, it’s likely that you may want to do the same or will discover new actions that your friends are taking. Another point that is important to note is that you can’t avoid being sponsored in a story. You also can’t opt out of seeing Sponsored Stories.

From the advertiser’s perspective, you are not able to control the messaging; it’s a matter of what people post in their News Feed, and whether or not you as an advertiser choose to promote that type of content. Sponsored Stories are, however, a great way to leverage and promote the viral marketing that Facebook already offers.  While Sponsored Stories will only be shown to you when one of your friends is featured in them, they help to better expose actions in News Feeds (Page likes, interactions with apps, etc). This provides more visibility for these types of actions, which would typically become buried in a News Feed over time.

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