While I do love the idea of promoting brands, I was shocked to see a number of stories on the latest advertising idea from Facebook, Sponsored Stories. The concept is great - the lack of choice for Facebook users is not so great.
What Is Sponsored Stories?
A sponsored story is when you check-in to, let's say, a Starbucks. You tell your friends on Facebook that youre heading over to über-franchise Starbucks to grab a latte. Step One: You've mentioned the brand. Step Two: From that point - you could get placed in a little ad that basically broadcasts your love for Starbucks for your friends to see.
Now, the issue of course is not that your friends have seen that you like getting latte's from Starbucks - it's that you have become an advertised endorsement for Starbucks against your own will. And what really makes Facebook a bully is that you can't opt out of this new feature.
A Great Opportunity for Brands
I don't like this new advertising scheme because I don't want to be a free endorsement for brands, and not have the opportunity to opt out of this. But then again, I do like it because I think this is a great opportunity for brands - as I say this muffled under my breath...to get a great marketing opportunity.
Because it's word of mouth at its finest. It's the perfect way for brands to get real-life people praising their products. And you also get to see your friends using the products too. Remember the McDonald's commercial where someone is out in public eating a Big Mac or Egg McMuffin - or whatever the commercial was advertising, and someone else sees that person eating one, and they decide they want one too - and it continues on with a number of other people. Well - this advertising idea has the same effect. Your friend Sally is getting a latte, and now maybe you want one too. BAM! Word of mouth.
A Love-Hate Relationship
I started out harshly on this new concept from Facebook. And maybe I jumped beyond the idea of internet marketing and touched base with my anti-capitalism feelings. I think the idea is great for brands, but it's not so great for people who would prefer to opt out of it. I could see a big handful of people not caring, which would be enough for brands to use them as word of mouth. If Facebook gives users the choice to opt of this - I would appreciate the concept much more.