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Facebook rolls out Sponsored Stories ad format

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Palo Alto, Calif.—Facebook has introduced a new advertising format that turns the actions of Facebook users' friends into business or product recommendations.

Called Sponsored Stories (see a descriptive video), the new format gives marketers the ability to identify activities that members take through the Facebook News Feed—such as “likes,” check-ins, page posts and custom applications like discount offers—and feature them in the column on the right to those members' friends.

Unlike Twitter's Promoted Tweets, which highlight specific tweets tied to keywords, Sponsored Stories feature the actions of others, and give advertisers no control over messages. The rationale is that viewers may consider their friends' actions as company or product recommendations.

Among the first companies to use the new format are Anheuser-Busch Cos. and Coca-Cola Co. Bidding on specific Sponsored Stories slots are on a per-impression and per-click basis.

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