Currently Facebook describes its sponsored stories to Facebook users in the following manner:
Sponsored Stories are regular News Feed stories that have been promoted to the right column of Facebook, where you may be more likely to discover new things that your friends are interested in. These stories only show up for friends, so you can learn about places to go, apps to use, games to play and organizations your friends like.
That’s about to change though, from the sound of it. Rather than just appearing in the right column, they’ll be appearing right in the main news feed. You know – the section of Facebook that everyone pays attention to.
The company is reportedly going to start displaying sponsored stories in the news feed beginning next month, though apparently just one per day per user max, and they’ll be marked as “sponsored”.
I would imagine there will be some backlash to this, but at one a day, how bad can it really be? The ads are still based on friend activity, which is what the News Feed is all about anyway. The difference is that it might benefit the advertiser a bit more.
Based on this screenshot Josh Constine was able to get, it doesn’t look like they’re doing much more to mark the stories as sponsored, beyond a small note that says “sponsored” nex to the timestamp of the posts. Some might prefer they make that stand out a bit more. For example, Google places their ads in a yellow box to make it clear when they are in fact ads, in addition to saying “Ads – Why these ads?” linking to more info about why the ads are being shown. I’m not sure if the word “sponsored” links from Facebook’s stories or not.
The news comes at an interesting time, as a judge just basically gave people free rein to sue Facebook for using their likenesses in ads (though not necessarily indicating that their suits would be successful).
Do you mind Facebook showing sponsored stories in the News Feed? Let us know in the comments.