If you’re unfamiliar with sponsored stories, they’re the posts that show up on a Newsfeed when one of your friends engages with a sponsored Page, event or application. For instance, when a fellow Facebook friend likes the RedBull Facebook page, and RedBull decides to promote that interaction, you’ll see it as a Sponsored Story on your own Newsfeed.
Although brands will be able to purchase Sponsored Stories until April 9th, such stories will transfer to other types of ads (like a Page Like ad) after the set date. In the future, all ads will include ‘social context’ where friends are mentioned in the content in order to get you to click it. A Facebook spokesperson told Mashable why the new addition of ‘social context’ to all Facebook ads is pointing the platform in a direction of phasing out Sponsored Stories:
“As announced in June of last year, we’re bringing the best of sponsored stories – social context – to all ads. Since this update makes sponsored stories redundant, we will no longer offer them as a standalone ad unit for marketers. Social context will continue to appear with all ads where eligible. Our social advertising honors the audience that people choose, so nobody will see information in social context for an ad that they couldn’t already see.”
Overall, we’re interested to see how brands will create ads in the next few months, based off of these changes. We wonder whether or not adding social context to every ad will change how fans view promoted content — and how they ultimately interact with brands.