January 11, 2012 0

On one hand, where Google has used its search engine as a weapon against Facebook and other social networking sites, Facebook had its thoughts to increase its revenue. The social networking giant has started inserting advertisements directly into users’ news feeds. However, there would not be many ads. Just one every day, but they would be unsolicited.

For its placement, they would not be placed on the right hand side of the page, while being marked “sponsored”, and will appear randomly within users’ news feeds. To distinguish it from the normal news feeds, it would carry a label, “featured.”

Facebook said, “We are using the term ‘featured’ because we want to make it clear to people that they’re seeing content from a Page or person they have chosen to connect to.”

Facebook’s Help Center noted a few details, which read, “Businesses can pay to feature a post so there’s a better chance you’ll notice it.”

One might find a similarity in the working, between these ads and the “sponsored” stories. The only major difference here is that they are not embedded in the news feed.

Facebook has even made the details clear on the ads, as when a user hovers their mouse over the word “featured”, a black box of text will pop up saying, “A sponsor paid to feature it here.”

Talking about this new ad placement, there can be confusion in the minds of the users, as to is the post legitimate or an ad. There is just one way to get rid of these ads. Facebook users have to click the “x” on the right corner of each post, deleting them one by one.

There were views on the transparency issues even as Ray Valdes, an analyst with Gartner said that the term could mislead Facebook users into thinking the post was featured for relevancy, rather than because an advertiser paid to place it there. “Sponsored seems to be more transparent than featured,” he said. “It is a departure from user expectations and from industry convention.”

Here is the official description of Featured Stories from the Facebook Help Center:

Businesses can pay to feature a post so there’s a better chance you’ll notice it.

A quick example of how it works

  1. Say you like your gym’s Facebook Page.

  2. Some friends see the story in their news feeds, others may miss it.

  3. The owner of the gym can pay to feature the story so your friends are more likely to see it.

Who can see featured stories
You decide who can see what you share on Facebook. When a story is featured, it’s shown to the same people you originally shared it with.

Featured stories you may see

  • When a Page you like posts something new

  • When a friend likes something (such as a Facebook Page or individual Page post)

  • When a friend checks in somewhere, plays a game or uses an app