Facebook is adding ads to its fast-moving Ticker
"Sponsored stories" may begin appearing in the column for some users Monday
More sites are incorporating sponsored content alongside organic posts
Facebook’s Ticker, the fast-scrolling tote board of pretty much everything your friends are doing, is ready to start selling you stuff.
“Sponsored stories” – in other words, posts that someone paid for – reportedly will begin appearing in the feed in the top right corner of home pages.
A Facebook spokesman confirmed that changes are on the way.
“We recently made some changes to Facebook that help surface more engaging content, whether paid or organic, to people using Facebook,” spokesman Andrew Noyes said in an e-mail. “With these changes, people may see a varying number of ads or Sponsored Stories alongside organic content. In testing, we’ve found this leads to more engagement with for both paid and organic content.”
A marketing news website – ClickZ – reported this weekend that a Facebook spokeswoman said ads would begin appearing in the Ticker for some users Monday.
“Sponsored stories” have appeared on Facebook for some time, targeted to individual users based on their activities on the site. In some instances, they can be triggered by friends’ activities – say, if they “like” a particular brand’s page.
Currently, they appear in the Ticker on the “canvas pages” of apps. Those are the pages you’re on when you’re playing a game or using some other app that needs its own page to run.
Weaving sponsored content into organically appearing posts is a trend that’s been growing as sites look to cash in on their popularity. Story-sharing sites StumbleUpon and Digg already sprinkle sponsored ads among the stories they recommend to users. Twitter offers “sponsored tweets” and “promoted” trending topics – a status that usually has to be earned by popularity alone.
The Ticker was one of the most discussed new wrinkles when a host of Facebook changes were rolled out in September. Critics called it distracting – a constantly buzzing home for oversharing of the highest order. (The comparisons to Twitter’s fast-moving updates, for better or for worse, are hard to ignore.)
But as with many Facebook changes, complaints died down in the weeks that followed as users either got used to the feature or entered a realm of quiet acceptance.