When I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed the other day I noticed that my friend Rosie liked Target. I opened it up again today, and see that it's still at the top of my newsfeed. Then I saw it, small, not very noticeable: sponsored. At first I felt cheated. I look to my newsfeed for interactions my friends are doing on Facebook, not advertising (which I've grown accustomed to on the right of the page). But then my business head started thinking... Facebook are smart. (In more ways than one!)
Facebook Looks Natural
It's not just a sponsored ad like on the right side, it is a legitimate activity, performed by one of my friends that causes it to show up on my timeline, and stay on top of my timeline for at least a week now....
Different To Sponsored Tweets?
Twitter's "Promoted Tweets" seems to be getting a lot more negative attention than the very similar initiative of Facebook, and I think the reason is a very slight but very important one. While Twitter just takes content based tweets and pushes them to the top of your home timeline, Facebook actually ties it to your friends, to your network. Here is what started appearing on my Home Timeline shortly after I searched "Honda" on Twitter:
The attempt is made by Twitter to pull in my network "Followed by GKIC and others" but it doesn't have the same impact as: "Hey Look, your friend just liked this page recently."
Can Twitter Find A Way?
Maybe that's something Twitter can't really address. After all Twitter and Facebook are not the same. Maybe pushing advertisements to the top of timelines and searches is the best the network can do. And I don't doubt that Twitter campaigns are successful. I'm sure they bring clicks. I'd be interested in seeing a comparison between sponsored posts in Facebook and Sponsored Tweets and do a proper comparison (if anyone has run both please comment).