Facebook recently announced a new ad format that complements the popular “Sponsored Ads” listings. Called “Sponsored Stories”, the new feature enables marketers to integrate user-generated content related to their brand within the ad, or what Facebook calls a “story”. This is a significant step forward for Facebook which has the opportunity to harness social media interaction in a “push” rather than “pull” method.
The advertiser may use one of four means by which to create a “story”:
1. “Like Stories” – created based off a user “liking” a brand.
2. “Page Post Stories” – created from a wall post on a brand’s page.
3. “Check-in Stories” – created from posts via Facebook’s local product, Facebook Places.
4. “App Stores” – created from messages between users on an app
For example, an interaction such as this:
Could appear in an ad like this:
While social recommendations aren’t new to Facebook ads, the format and degree by which the ad drives personalization could lead to large gains in ROI for advertisers, but not without potential controversy.
A video announcement  on the Facebook Marketing Solutions page, uses the term “Word of Mouth” marketing extensively and suggests that the interactions are currently posted through the users’ feeds anyway but just get lost in the noise of many interactions. Currently, an end user opt-out feature does not appear to exist.
While I believe that users should have a right to raise their hand and opt out, there is some risk that the advertiser may not be able to control what is said in that post – e.g. a potentially negative promotion of a product. I believe that the personal/in-network recommendation will be a big win for advertisers that manage an engaged social media program. Relevancy and recency of recommendations/interactions should be the priority in leveraging engaging content to use in “Sponsored Stories”.
Currently the feature is available to a handful of big brand advertisers and should be rolled out to the standard system soon.
What do you think about your social actions being pushed by advertisers to your network?
- Google to Update the Way Quality Scores Are Displayed in AdWords  - July 26, 2013
- Google AdWords Enhanced Campaigns  - February 6, 2013
- Ad Innovations for 2013: The Search Agency POV  - December 21, 2012
- Are Facebook Custom Audiences Creepy?  - October 4, 2012
- The Search Agency’s Point of View: Google Shopping  - June 21, 2012
- The Search Agency’s Point of View: Facebook Exchange  - June 15, 2012
- What’s in Store for Digital Ad Spend?  - March 29, 2012
- Integrating Facebook Comments into Facebook Ads  - January 27, 2011
- Making Sense of the Do Not Track Regulations  - December 3, 2010
- A View to a… Conversion?  - October 5, 2009