January 27, 2011
Your clicks of Facebook’s “Like” button and check-ins at restaurants, stores and other establishments are already valuable marketing material. Now Facebook is letting companies and individuals buy the right to republish those actions to your friends in ads — including your name and profile photo — on the social network’s site.
Called “Sponsored Stories,” these ads look like the other small ads that adorn the right side of the screen (which can already feature your name if you’ve Liked the product in question). In this case, as a video posted to Facebook’s marketing page Tuesday explains, the ad will simply recycle your check-in or Like as an ad labeled “Sponsored Story.”
In the video, Facebook developers explain how the format works and how it lets advertisers get around one disadvantage of people’s check-ins and Likes showing up in the usual News Feed: “a lot of impressions do get lost because there’s so much content coming through.” One staffer also makes an important point that is already getting lost in debates about this: “A sponsored story never goes to somebody who’s not one of your friends.”