Users of Facebook know just how often things change, and back in August users griped about one of the newest changes, the status feed ticker. This is a live feed of the actions of a user's friends – what they are commenting on, liking, listening to on Spotify, and who their newest friends are. A spokesperson for Facebook has announced the site will be rolling out a new feature to the ticker: sponsored stories.
Sponsored stories, at one point only visible in the app ticker in the Facebook games section of the site, are the site's version of advertising and are said to be better at reaching their target audience than traditional advertisements according to Facebook spokesperson Annie Ta.
Intro to Sponsored Stories
Sponsored stories are currently visible when you do just about anything on Facebook, including responding to an invite or liking a business page related to the advertisement. If your friends or yourself liked Starbucks' business page for example, you may begin to see Starbucks sponsored stories appear. Posts that summon sponsored stories include post and page likes, apps or games your friends are playing, apps and games you play yourself, and check-ins by friends.
The ticker will begin to show page likes and apps or games friends are using. The number of sponsored stories that appear in each user's ticker will vary depending on what they and their friends are up to on the site.
Users Sick of Change
Just as with any of Facebook's updates and changes, users will most definitely complain. When the ticker itself was introduced, users were irritated and were sure to post about it daily. Some are still posting about their dislike of the direction of Facebook. The ticker has been called distracting, and people feel as if they are losing privacy on the site as all of their actions and those of friends are displayed for all to see in real-time. With the addition of sponsored stories to the ticker, isn't it just more distraction from what users really want to see? Friends' status updates are being lost in the jumble of information no one else really cares about.
A Good Idea?
Businesses who purchase sponsored stories do so because they know the most important thing about human behavior. If our friends recommend it or enjoy it, that's all we need to hear to try it out ourselves. Let's say there is a new restaurant in town and you are deciding where to eat. You log on to Facebook for reasons unrelated, and happen to see that a friend has checked in to this new restaurant and posted about how wonderful the food and service was. This solidifies your decision to check it out for yourself. Having these updates and stories right there in the ticker might help businesses get noticed, and possibly be more successful in obtaining new business based on the connections of Facebook users.
Whether or not the Facebook community is receptive of these new changes is up in the air. It is, however, another great tool for a growing business to gain more customers utilizing the biggest social media site to its advantage.