Back in September Facebook rolled out a number of new features, including the ‘ticker’ – a live feed located to the upper-right of a user’s home page that presents recent friend activity such as ‘likes’, comments, status updates and more recently, played songs on Spotify.
It’s fair to say that the Facebook community were less than enthusiastic about the ticker when it arrived, as they are with most of Facebook’s updates, but in contrast to most of Facebook’s features that are typically accepted over time, the ticker still seems to be ruffling feathers.
If proving a distracting jumble of seemingly random information isn’t enough, Facebook has announced that the ticker will now also display sponsored stories.
A Facebook spokesperson, said, “Starting on Monday, we are continuing to slowly roll out Sponsored Stories in [the] ticker across Facebook. Sponsored Stories help people see more relevant marketing on Facebook and they can be twice as engaging as ads on Facebook.”
So if you’re not yet seeing sponsored stories in your ticker, you soon will.
According to recent reports, the ticker will serve up two types of advertisement – ‘page likes’ (friend x likes Arsenal’s Facebook page) and ‘app used/game played’ (friend x reached level 10 in x game).
Facebook said that the amount of sponsored ads a user sees will depend on friend activity levels, but typically 1 in 10 stories in the ticker could be ads. The Facebook spokesperson continued, "Sponsored Stories will move through ticker at the same pace as organic stories. This is determined by the level of activity in each user's ticker and will vary."
As any regular Facebook use will know, the concept of sponsored stories is nothing new, with friend groups who play games and use apps being particularly exposed to advertising. Apparently there have been concerns from some users about deciphering a normal update from an ad, but Facebook will label ads with ‘sponsored’ to avoid any confusion.
Potentially, sponsored ticker stories could present some interesting opportunities for advertisers, but with so much negative feeling towards the ticker already, this could further upset a lot of angry ‘Facebookers’.
What do you think? Does the ticker tick your boxes, or just tick you off?