The only indicator that they are marketing messages will be the word “sponsored” which will appear in small grey print below.
A Facebook spokesman claims making ads less obtrusive would improve the user experience, and help advertisers to fight for attention. “They are not just competing with other businesses. They are competing with life. People are getting married. People are having babies,” he said.
The number of ad units it offers will be slashed to nearly half of the 27 currently available it will automatically turn as many as possible into so-called “sponsored stories”, which aim to replicate the effect of word-of-mouth marketing online.
Facebook product manager Fidji Simo said: “We will automatically add social context to boost performance. We know social enhances ad resonance; people are influenced by this type of word-of-mouth marketing.”
The new advertising system, which will be rolled out in increments, worldwide, over the next six months, is aimed at courting more small advertisers, as well as major global brands with sophisticated consumer targeting operations.
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