Facebook Turns Friend Activity Into New Ad Format

Facebook is rolling out Sponsored Stories, a new ad format that turns your friends’ actions into promoted content.

Sponsored Stories is “a way for marketers to sponsor activities that happen throughout the News Feed,” Facebook Product Marketing Lead Jim Squires told Mashable. Companies can choose to take certain user actions — such as checkins or actions within Facebook apps — and feature them in the column on the right side of the News Feed.

For example, if you’re Whole Foods and you’re looking to increase your exposure on Facebook, you can pay to have a percentage of all checkins to Whole Foods featured in a Sponsored Stories slot in the right-side column. Your content wouldn’t be shown directly, but the actions of a user’s friends would appear. Users seeing their friends “liking” or checking in to Whole Foods will drive increased trust and increased traffic.

“The advertiser is not controlling the message; it’s about actions,” Squires said.

Here’s an example of an action that could potentially be sponsored:

And here’s what it might look like as a Sponsored Story:

It’s actually a really intuitive, non-invasive form of social media advertising. Hurrah!

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