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'Stories': Facebook's New Ad Game Changer
By: Andrew Turner
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Branding is, in effect, word-of-mouth (WOM) advertising, right? Well, now social media giant Facebook is unveiling a new set of premium ads that will capitalize on the WOM institution of branding and the “friendship” aspect of Facebook. They call it “stories."

The “stories” advertising format is simple and the idea behind it is elegant. Advertisers will post to their brand’s page, whether it is a status, photo, question, event, etc. and that will be automatically added the user’s homepage (where you would see a classic Facebook ad today). Also, if any of the user’s friends interact with the brand’s post (comment or like), their interaction will also generate in the user’s ad space. The theory behind this new format is to expand on WOM advertising. People are more likely to interact with your brand if they're being talked to, not talked at. When users see their friends involving themselves in a conversation about a brand’s new product or event, they are more likely to engage too.

Brilliance lies in the simplicity. For years we have extolled the virtues of Facebook’s ability to build brands. As a forum based on WOM, it’s only logical that the progression of their ad format is trending this way. This type of interaction between brand and consumer is exceptionally better for building the brand’s narrative. Building the brand narrative through interaction is an elegant solution to conventional advertising. By making advertisements a forum for interaction it forces marketers to change and adapt. Now marketers will move from making advertisements that sell, to making advertisements that promote. Not push, but pull.

Facebook advertising has revolutionized the Web’s ad capacity and with the new “stories” format it is changing the ad game again. Advertisers used to rely on copywriting to build the narrative; could this possibly be the end to copywriting as we know it? Not to be too fatalistic, but maybe. With the encompassing reach of social media, there never is a shortage of access to information. As advertisers, Facebook realized this, and capitalized on a new way of connecting with the consumer. For years advertisements have talked at consumers. Now they will talk with them.

As first reported on GigaOm, the new Facebook ad format will be rolled out as they begin to phase out the classic premium ads as soon as the end of the month. Rumor has it Facebook will unveil the new format sometime this week. Rumors aside, check out the link; as a branding aficionado I’m still geeking out about this.


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About the Author
is a marketing professional, copywriter, and graphic designer from Philadlephia. You can contact him here.
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