QuoteFacebook said that if a person currently checks in at a respective company's store or "likes" a brand page, the action often gets lost amid all the other content that a user's friends may see. Sponsored Stories solves that problem for advertisers by plucking valuable content from user news feeds and making it more readily noticeable to others.
The Sponsored Stories, which kicked off yesterday for Facebook's "premium" advertisers, will be labeled and viewable only to the content creator's friends, Facebook noted. The service will respect a person's privacy settings. However, Facebook users won't be able to opt out of the service. That's somewhat surprising, since Facebook users can modify their inclusion in the company's existing Social Ads by letting their social actions be includedin a marketer's ad on the site and be shown to friends--or opt out.
QuoteBeyond the viral distribution aspect, marketers are attracted to the tracking and reporting that Interpolls and PointRoll can offer. Interpolls, for example, offers real-time data on how many times and in what way people have interacted with a particular widget ad. It also tracks how many times the ad has been grabbed and where it's been embedded--whether it was in a specific blog, Facebook or iGoogle. The ad companies also track all interactions within the widget ads that have been grabbed. "We're tracking all the impressions of the ads that were served," said Kim. "Then we track every single response to the question or click to any of the features, as well as any interactions on subsequent panels." Even Google has gotten in on the act, launching a beta of Google Gadget Ads three months ago. The ads are served on Google's content network, which reaches 800 million people, said Christian Oestlien, product manager of Google Gadget Ads.
QuoteExecutives at these businesses, and their investors, agree that virtual worlds are engaging enough to children to provide an unprecedented opportunity for marketing. But in a nascent industry with relatively no standards for advertising, media watchdogs, educators and even some gamemakers are worried. "This kind of marketing is designed to operate at a subconscious level. And kids don't know how to think critically about how someone's trying to get them to be loyal to a brand or buy their products," said Kathryn Montgomery, a professor in the School of Communication at American University and author of Generation Digital: Politics, Commerce and Childhood in the Age of the Internet.