If you look in the upper right corner of your Facebook homepage, you might see a window marked “Sponsored Story” with a brief status update from one of your friends about shopping at Old Navy or catching lunch at Potbelly’s.
First of all, no, your friend isn’t getting paid to promote his or her statuses. (Wouldn’t that be something?) But, according to a FastCompany.com article, companies are paying Facebook to promote users’ statuses as part of a new form of advertising.
“Sponsored Stories” have been around for six months, and already are twice as effective as traditional ads that companies run on the social network, reports FastCompany.
“The reason people come back to Facebook is to engage with their friends. That’s exactly what Sponsored Stories do,” says David Fischer, Facebook’s vice president of advertising and global operations.
The new approach has, so far, successfully utilized the personal word-of-mouth element Facebook provides.
“If I say I like Levi’s 501 jeans, it may carry more clout [among my friends] than if they see an ad that simply says Levi’s 501 is releasing a new cut of jeans,” said Michael Wiley, global head of social marketing at VivaKi.