Your clicks of Facebook’s “Like” button and check-ins at restaurants, stores and other establishments are already valuable marketing material. Facebook is now 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. Facebook calls these ad units ‘Sponsored Stories’.
The ubiquitous “like” has now become currency!
What are these ‘Sponsored Stories’? How does Facebook plan to make it work?
Theses are the new ad units which will occupy the third position within a News Feed, either as a small banner-like placement or as a video clip, as per MediaWeek . When a user clicks on the ad, his entire network of friends is alerted, and they can then interact with the ad. According to Facebook, the ad will allow advertisers to harness the site’s social-networking dynamic and leverage social-networking behavior.
According to Mike Murphy, Facebook’s chief revenue officer, the new units are geared for advertisers that are looking to create customized offers for the Facebook community that go beyond standard banner messaging. “Up until now, most advertising on social network sites hasn’t leveraged social networking behavior,” he said. “This offers a viral opportunity that is unique for advertisers that is not disruptive.”
Okay, sounds good for the advertisers. How does it do for User Experience?
As Facebook evolves, I find it harder and harder to know where anything is! This should be a cause of concern. Facebook WAS once the clean and safe alternative to MySpace. The more convoluted and cluttered it gets, the more room opens up for someone to come in and supplant them with a better UI. I bet if Facebook were to dare enough to put a “Dislike” or “Suck” button near “Like”, I bet there will be way much more of those than likes.
This way of monetizing “Likes” feature for enhances advertisers’ paid messages but it also irritates Facebook users and diminishes their experience. The way they could or should have monetized the “Likes” is to charge advertisers every time a friend’s “Like” appears on another friends wall, vs. a paid ad with a “Like” incorporated appearing on a friends page.
By the way, shouldn’t users getting a cut of this advertising deal? Or is the joy of using Facebook our only payment? Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself…