Dec. 21, 2011 at 4:22 PM ET
In the next year, as if your News Feed isn't already cluttered enough, Facebook will now add sponsored ads into the mix.
That's right, if you like a Facebook page, the News Feed will generate a message every time you mention the "liked" brand or business. This shows up your News Feed as well as your friends'.
They also appear as "Sponsored Stories" on the right column of your Facebook pages, "where you may be more likely to discover new things that your friends are interested in." These work similar to other ads, it seems, except that your name will appear in your friends' feed, to better catch their attention.
As the video on the sponsored stories Facebook page explains, friends are likely to be at least somewhat more influential than others in money-spending decisions. (Though others may balk at having their friends — or themselves — co-opted for advertising purposes.)
TechCrunch says that there will be no more than one sponsored story in a News Feed per day, so that should assuage some clamor.
If, on the other hand, you wish to advertise your own branded page, Facebook will walk you through the steps to create a sponsored story, letting you figure out what your maximum budget will be, based on clicks you expect to get from it. There are several different kinds of sponsored stories, as seen in this guide.
To add to the argument that these kinds of ads work, there are reports that show click-through rates have gone up. TBG Digital produced the "2011 Global Facebook Advertising Report," which examined 255 billion impressions across 216 clients advertising on Facebook in 192 countries in the third quarter of this year. In that report, there was an 18.5 percent increase in click-through rates across five major markets from the second quarter of this year to the third quarter.
The report attributes the increased effectiveness of ads to sponsored story ads, based on those click-through rates and the more targeted means of reaching consumers by age, gender and interests.
Question is, will you be annoyed by those sponsored ads? Or does it work on you? Take our poll and let us know.