This week Facebook began expanding a test program that’s placing coupons and sponsored stories into Facebook users’ news feeds.
Facebook changed the way that the newsfeed works back in September of last year. Rather than listing comments by the most recent, the new newsfeed was, according to Facebook, supposed to elevate the most important comments.
Facebook pushed through the new newsfeed, despite many users being unhappy with the changes. Perhaps we are now seeing why. It may help them facilitate the flow of coupons and ads into to feed… and perhaps elevate certain items based on sponsorship? Of course, the addition of ads into newsfeeds is angering some FB users as well.
The ads are actually called “featured stories” and appear very similar to regular posts. Last month Facebook said users would only see approximately 1 per day. However, according to Emil Protalinski over at ZDNet, Facebook has changed its tune a bit. They now say users that visit often may see more.
The ads and coupons are highly targeted. According to Inside Facebook, sponsored stories will only appear on a users page if the story is related to something the user has “liked”. Marketers can also feature friend activity to gain fans.
Facebook has put together a page that explains their ‘featured story’ program. They provide an example of a user ‘liking’ a page of a gym they belong to. The user’s friends will see the story on their pages, and the gym can pay to feature the story so that it is more easily seen by friends. Facebook says a user may see a featured story when a page that is ‘liked’ shares something, when a friend ‘likes’ something, or when a friend checks in somewhere, uses an app, or plays a game. Facebook also has a FAQ on their explanation page.