Facebook has introduced a new advertising program called Sponsored Stories, which turns user’s actions on the social network, such as ‘likes’ and ‘check-ins’ into ads.
Designed to build brand buzz, the ads draw on Facebook’s “like” and “check-in” features, which site members can use to comment on restaurants, sites, events, products and other items they interact with throughout their day.
Facebook plans to pull content from those dispatches to display in ‘sponsored story’ segments that will show up in the site’s right rail, where it often displays ads.
The firm already has 13 advertisers lined up, including Coca-Cola, Levi’s and Amnesty International. Facebook has already been testing Sponsored Stories for several months and found they helped with brand identification and retention.
In one example, a company video explained that when members now use Facebook Places to say they are visiting a Starbucks outlet, their friends see that post and have the ability to comment.
But under the new ad program, if Starbucks sponsored all such check-ins to their coffee shops, friends would also see another version of the same post on the right side of their pages, where targeted ads already appear.
That ad would have a “Sponsored Story” label at the top and include the logo and a link to the Starbucks page on Facebook. The ads give the regular check-in more visibility and make sure it doesn’t drop out of view as quickly as it might in the regular feed.
There are similarities between Sponsored Stories and Twitter’s Promoted Tweets, which highlights a specific Twitter topic if it is sponsored by an advertiser.
View the Facebook video explaining Sponsored Stores here.