Sponsored Stories – LIKE them?


Everyone likes to be liked. And if you are an organization, you would like to keep that list of ‘likes’ ever growing. Now why am I stressing on the word like (I have mentioned it, perhaps 5 times already!) is because India Inc. has already tuned into social media to leverage its vast potential of a wide customer reach who simply love being connected to the web – (121 million internet users or 10.5% of the population of India as on 31st December, 2011); and Facebook seems to be the hot favourite (45 million or 37% of the total internet users as on 31st December, 2011).

So I now come back to my favourite word ‘like’ and blend it with Facebook and some smart advertising and out comes the next big thing on the net – Sponsored Stories! Now to bring everyone on the same page – A sponsored story (as explained by Facebook) “are posts from your friends or Pages on Facebook that a business, organization or individual has paid to highlight so there’s a better chance you’ll (a potential customer) see them.” To put it simply, Sponsored Stories are nothing but paid ads. The only but big difference here is that there is a potential for multiplied reach. And how does this get triggered? An everyday FB user would know this and I have already mentioned the answer about 5 times in my mail – It’s by clicking on a simple ‘like button’ against the marketers FB page, post or even an application.

Now how Sponsored Stories work is – Let’s say your friend likes the company Idea Cellular Subscriber and clicks the like button, since he’s happy with them, it gets featured on your news feed and gives you an opportunity to like the brand. As a user , it does not cost you to like something, so the moment you like it, it has already doubled the reach for Idea Cellular ( you and your friend) and so on and so forth, your like would feature in the news feed of your long list of friends . Slowly the number of likes for Idea Cellular keeps going up.

Marketers usually compute the worth of a campaign in India by the number of fans, or likes received on the most recent post. Tata Docomo is sitting high on 7 Mn + likes, Axe Angels club has garnered almost 2.5 Mn + likes, Maruti Suzuki Ritz has about 1.5 Mn likes – now, without sponsored stories, how would they have got a cost effective reach to these many people?



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