Facebook's latest ad format, called Sponsored Stories, capitalizes on activity posted to your news feed — when you "like" something, when you check into a location, or share anything else in the news feed. Facebook has released a video detailing the new service, which will allow companies to run sponsored advertisements alongside these posts — which you would have seen in your news feed anyway.
For more on this program, including where to expect it to show up on your page, keep reading.
If it sounds similar to Twitter's Promoted Tweets program, it's because it is. Advertisers are paying to surround user-generated content with advertising, hoping to reach a targeted audience who also rely heavily on advice from their friends when making purchasing decisions.
Facebook has partnered with a number of companies (Coke, Levi's, Anheuser Busch) and nonprofits (Donors Choose, Amnesty International, and more) for the launch of Sponsored Stories, which will appear on the right side of your Facebook page. And they respect privacy settings — only friends who can see your posted activity will be able to see these sponsored listings.
I'm not sure how I feel about advertisers choosing to build content around my updates, but I suppose that by mentioning a place or brand name, we are essentially advertising for them. One could argue, too, that these personalized recommendations give added value to our friends and Facebook contacts, providing them with friend-tested advertising. What do you think?