Facebook “Suggests” Posts from Outside Your Network

    October 22, 2012
    Josh Wolford

Back in August, Facebook began a test that brought straight-up advertising to the news feed for the first time. This type of advertising isn’t really social, as it’s not based on the actions of friends.

“[W]e are beginning a very small test that will allow marketers to promote page posts to people beyond their fans in the news feed,” said Facebook at the time.

Translation: Facebook began allowing marketers to buy news feed ads for page posts that are way outside a user’s network. With a Sponsored Story in the news feed, the only way that it will show up is if you like the page or one of your friends likes the page. That way, the ads have some sort of social context and hopefully relevance. It’s the reason that Sponsored Stories can feel so organic as times.

But with these news promoted page post ads, a user could see a post from a page they’ve never even heard of – much less liked or interacted with.

Now, Facebook is continuing the test – this time with a new description for the ads. They still say “sponsored,” but they’ve also added “Suggested Post” to the stories.

Since Facebook began this test, another type of non-social ad has popped up in users’ news feeds: the mobile app install ads. Last week, Facebook made the ads, which allow developers to highlight their apps in anyone’s news feed, available to everyone.

Of course, advertising on Facebook has been a tricky venture since day one. The Sponsored Stories feel organic – that’s what they have going for them. These new types of promoted page post ads feel much less natural – because users and their friends aren’t really a part of them. What these new ads do have going for them is reach – the ability for marketers to target an audience that they wouldn’t have been able to reach before (in the news feed, at least).

Have you seen these types of ads in your news feed?

[Screenshot via Inside Facebook]