Facebook has now decided to increase the scope of advertising on their website, by placing Sponsored Stories in their recently introduced News Ticker. Could this be the first step towards having Sponsored Stories show up in the main news feed?
Last week, Facebook spokesperson, Annie Ta said, “Starting on Monday, we are continuing to slowly roll out Sponsored Stories in [the] ticker across Facebook. Sponsored Stories help people see more relevant marketing on Facebook and they can be twice as engaging as ads on Facebook.”
Facebook launched the Sponsored Stories feature in January this year and the ticker was launched in August. The ticker is placed on the top right of the Facebook homepage.
Sponsored Stories are similar to the Promoted Tweets on Twitter. They show an ad relevant to a status update posted by a user. The Sponsored Story will then be relayed to the contacts of that user, making the target audience feel that they are seeing an ad that has been endorsed by one of their friends and is connected to the status update.
Even though the ticker has received a lukewarm response at best, Facebook says that Sponsored Stories are twice as engaging as normal advertisements. Statistics from Nielsen also indicate that such ads are more likely to be remembered. Our own advertising has also found that click-through rates and connection rates on Sponsored Stories are consistently higher than on regular Facebook ads.
According to documentation on Facebook, the Ticker only displays information to others who are already able to see elsewhere on Facebook. Page Like, App Share and App Used Sponsored Stories are eligible to appear in ticker for others to see, but only if they could have already seen them in News Feed.
It will be a while before advertisers can decide whether end users like the idea of Sponsored Stories running in the ticker, or whether they will consider it to be more of a nuisance.