Facebook added three new types to its Sponsor Stories user-created ad feature today that could help social game developers recapture some of the viral marketing lost when Facebook cut back on viral channels last year, notably when it took game stories out of the news feed.
Sponsored Stories turn user activity into an ad-like story displayed in the Sponsored column on the right hand side of the screen. One of the three new types, the game or app played Sponsored Story, creates a story displayed to friends of a user that has used an app or game for more than 10 minutes or at least twice within the last 30 days. The Sponsored Story includes multiple links to the game’s Canvas page for maximum chance of clicking.
This type of Sponsored Story could take some of the burden off of developers to build “Invite Friends” prompts into their games. We saw social games ramping up on the invite prompts in the wake of Facebook taking games off of the news feeds as an attempt to hang onto viral sharing through friends, but in some cases, it’s actually been detrimental to the gameplay experience. It could also help developers who do not have the budgets for ad campaigns.
It looks like Facebook is actively trying to help its games ecosystem recover. Just last week, we noticed the Discover New Games sidebar module appearing on some account. We’ll keep an eye out for any other moves Facebook takes in this direction.
Read the full story on all three of the new Sponsored Story types on Inside Facebook.