In a significant expansion of the reach and presence of ads on its site, Facebook on Monday launched Sponsored Stories in the ticker section of members’ homepages, mixed with real-time updates from friends.
Facebook has long placed ads with a social component on its homepage. But the real-time element is considerably more eye-catching since the ticker scrolls constantly. In some ways, it’s an attempt to catch up with Twitter, the microblogging network which emphasizes short, real-time updates.
Unlike Twitter, which is generally getting positive reviews for the promoted posts it started putting in time lines in September, the early feedback for Facebook’s revenue grab has been negative.
“I guess it was only a matter of time.....they've got to make money somehow,” Barry Thompson posted publicly on his Facebook wall.
The popularity of Twitter’s ads seems to stem from the fact that they are generally unobtrusive. Labeled as “promoted tweets,” they appear like any other information appearing in a users’ timeline, according to a Business Insider analysis.
As tweets, they’re easy to mark as a favorite or retweet, thereby broadcasting the ad to your Twitter followers.
“When was the last time u took a screenshot of a banner ad and sent it to your friends?" Guy Yalif tweeted.
Facebook, on the other hand, appeared to be struggling with matching ads to users, based on a handful of posts scanned in the first 24 hours of the new advertising program.
“The ads on facebook are bizarre,” Joie Kidwell posted on Facebook Monday. “They want me to buy diamond rings, credit card scanners and want Mark to get a lap band. They also keep on asking me to become a social [worker] by showing me pictures of drunk girls with pink hair. I know that there is no shortage of drunk girls with pink hair but I don't think they need a Joie.”.
Drunk girls with pink hair need help on Facebook. Have I missed my calling?