Facebook launches Sponsored Stories, ads that includes brands and products the social network's users have liked or check into. There is no opt out for the service.
Facebook has added Sponsored Stories, a new ad unit to
help brands cash in on the popularity of the like button without asking users'
As reported by AdAge
, the ad includes the "like button" or check-in functionality
that has become so popular among the social network's 600 million-plus users.
Facebook provided the example of a Sponsored Story ad purchased
by Starbucks. The coffee company displays the status of a user's friends who
check into or click the "like" button both in the user's news feed
and as a paid ad for Starbucks.
Check-in posts will show up in the ad feed exactly as the
user wrote it, according to this
explaining Sponsored Stories.
Sponsored ads hew to existing privacy settings
users have chosen to control whose feeds they see and who sees their feed also apply to the
The kicker is there is currently no way for users to opt-out
of having their check-in or like action leveraged in a Sponsored Story
ad. Facebook's presumption is that a like or check-in implies explicit
interest in a product or brand, and that an advertiser should be able
to make money from the action.
This is sure to rile privacy advocates and more
discerning users who don't appreciate their profiles and content being used
without their express consent.
However, Facebook went a little further to protect the
way the advertiser is portrayed. Jim Squire, a Facebook marketing
AdAge advertisers that don't want to take the chance of having negative
Sponsored Stories pop up about them can limit their buys to likes.
Sponsored Story ads to Facebook's ill-fated Beacon ad approach, which
displayed users' actions without their permission. Facebook settled a class-action lawsuit over this last year.
Core Facebook advertisers are latching on. In addition to
Starbucks, Levi's, Anheuser-Busch, Amnesty International, and Unicef are on
board, though sponsored story ads will be available to all as a self-service
The Sponsored story reveal came a day after eMarketer
that Facebook earned $1.86 billion in online ads last year, and stands
to top $4 billion in 2011.