Facebook Finally Ditching Those “Sponsored Stories” We All Love So Very Much

Remember all that brouhaha over Facebook’s “Sponsored Stories,” the ads that are supposed to be cleverly disguised as simple recommendations from friends? We kind of can’t believe it’s taken this long for Facebook to realize that users are onto their little ruse, but the social network announced yesterday that it’s ditching the ads in favor of a brand new approach toward advertising.

Facebook has had issues trying to appease both marketers and the audience it’s supposed to be marketing to. On the one side, advertisers hold the keys to the money bin filled with revenue that Facebook wants oh-so-very-much. On the other, you’ve got a kajillion people using a “free” service, many of whom don’t want to be bothered by ads. So how do you please both?

The company is taking a new tack in its attempt to hold everyone’s hands at the campfire, announcing during a media event yesterday that it’s not only doing away with Sponsored Stories, reports the Los Angeles Times, but also winnowing down the types of ads it features on the social network. It’s too complicated for advertisers, apparently, which means users probably aren’t clicking where marketers want them to be.

To that end, Facebook is planning to ditch around half of its 27 advertising formats, and will offer advertisers ad buys based on what their objective is — simply getting users to “Like” their page, for example, or convincing someone to install an app on their mobile devices.

Sponsored Stories will end up folded into other types of advertising, and “Offers” ads — handing out product discounts or coupons — will be restricted only to brick-and-mortar merchants and not used for online merchants.

This new approach is “part of an ongoing process to make the advertiser’s life easier,” Facebook director of product marketing Brian Boland said. The hope here too, says the company, is that it will also make Facebook more visually appealing to users as well.

While we can’t think of anyone who absolutely loves being pitched products on Facebook, let’s hope that if it’s easier for advertisers, it’s easier on our eyes. And stop using that horrifying, huge movie ad of the creepy girls in masks. You know the one. Nightmares, constant nightmares.

Facebook aims to drive revenues by making it easier to advertise [Los Angeles Times]