Facebook is revamping advertising on the site in a big way. After the IPO debacle and investors cutting estimates over fears that revenues from advertising were dropping, the company has announced that sponsored stories will appear in newsfeeds for both desktop and mobile versions of the site.
According to a Wall Street Journal (subscriber content) report, “marketers can now pay individually for “sponsored stories,” the company’s only mobile-ad product. With “sponsored stories,” marketers pay Facebook to republish positive messages that users post about their brand.
What this means is that sponsored stories now be a part of your newsfeed.
According the Verge, The Facebook News Feed, the prime piece of real estate on the Facebook home page… it feels like a part of the organic Facebook experience and doesn’t look different from posts from friends.
That is a fair point since the newsfeed is where most users share their stories, photos, etc. Most of us don’t even care for the ads on the right hand column which is big problem for Facebook as far as generating revenues goes.
So will the ad stand out and jar your newsfeed? Not really according to the Verge report: But sponsored stories, even though they’re from brands, won’t look and feel like a normal ad. You might not recognize it as an ad even after you’ve seen it.
So how will these sponsored stories appear on your newsfeed? Well if your friends decide to like a product on Facebook, its likely that their F-like or comment will appear on your newsfeed. On the Facebook developers page, the company mentions that there is a difference between ads and sponsored stories:
There is a key difference between Ads and Sponsored Stories. Ads can only be shown in the right hand side and are not eligible for News Feed. Sponsored Stories, because they originate from organic content, are eligible to be shown in both the News Feed (desktop and mobile) and right hand side and are therefore benefit from significantly higher engagement. Sponsored stories abide by the same privacy settings as organic stories in a user’s News Feed.
So will sponsored stories boost Facebook’s ad revenues? There’s a good chance that they might. Mobile ads are annoying as because they stand out and cover the tiny mobile screen. On the other a sponsored story in the newsfeed could get more clicks because it won’t cover your entire screen unlike a regular mobile ad would. Subtlety will go a long way in ensuring that users don’t start unsubscribing from sponsored stories.
As far as mobile users go, more and more Facebook users are logging in via mobile and this move could be the boost Facebook needs to get its mobile strategy going.