In addition to Pages for Timeline and its features, Facebook has unveiled Facebook Premium, a new collection of products designed for Marketers to more assertively advertise on Facebook and effectively reach target audiences. Facebook encourages brands to make use of Premium by sharing compelling and engaging stories which they promise to put in the most impactful places on the site. With Premium, ads will be placed in right-hand side of homepages, which Facebook says garners 5-10 times more engagement than all other places on the site. Ads will also appear in users’ homepage news feeds, mobile news feeds, and even on the log-out page when users exit the site.
Of course, ads have long been appearing in the right-hand side of users’ homepages. These are what Facebook calls Marketplace ads and are typically direct-response. Premium ads that show up here, however, will spawn from a story posted on a brand page. Rather than a banner-like ad, these stories will include status updates and new videos, content that is more genuine and personal between brands and customers. If you or a friend has liked a brand, you’re likely to see these ads. But they’ll even appear to users who have no direct connection the brand. That isn’t the case for stories that appear in news feeds, which will only be seen by users and friends of users who have liked a page.
“We are evolving from advertising to stories,” says Mike Hoefflinger, Customer Marketing Director for Facebook. “Ads are good, but stories are better.” These stories that will show up in users’ news feeds might remind you of Promoted Tweets from brands that appear in the Twitter stream, which can be re-tweeted and shared with friends and followers. Facebook wants your brand’s story to be shared with fans and their friends, to fuel interaction and engagement between brands and customers. The idea is that advertising in the form of stories will become such a casual and common experience that users will not be annoyed by ads or feel aggressively targeted by businesses.
Facebook has also debuted Reach Generator, a new monetization product designed to allow brands to reach all their fans through the stories they post. The product puts stories from your brand’s page into the feeds that users see when they log in. While currently the average post is see by only 16% of a brands’ fans, Reach Generator guarantees news feed distribution of up to 75% of a brands fans.
Facebook has and continues to influence online marketing in big and innovative ways. We’d like to know what you think of Premium. How do you feel about stories as ads? Do you think users will adjust well to the new ad placements, particularly on mobile and the log-out screen? Let us know in the comments below!