Facebook is preparing to roll out Sponsored Stories in the news feed. The ads will roll out gradually beginning in January, allowing brands to reach users whose friends have interacted with their pages - for instance with a like, a comment, or another action.
"You will only see Sponsored Stories in your news feed about your friends or people you are connected to," Annie Ta, Facebook spokesperson, told ClickZ News early this afternoon. "You will never a post from a page you are not a fan of, or from people who are not your friends."
She added, "We want to be really thoughtful about this, so we'll have a lot of rate limits in place. We hope to show people no more than one Sponsored Story in their News Feeds per day and we'll clearly label the story. They'll also be of the same size and treatment as other stories in News Feed."
The development builds Facebook's move one month ago to roll out Sponsored Stories in the ticker - a lightweight news feed seen on the upper right-hand part of Facebook.com - that was launched in August.
Facebook hasn't determined pricing for the news feed ad units or if they will be purchased as marketplace ads, premium ads, or both. The Palo Alto, CA-based company also didn't disclose what brands would be part of the initial roll out.
The new ad placement could lay the foundation for Facebook to finally begin advertising in mobile. However Ta said Sponsored Stories in the news feed will not extend to mobile at launch.
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Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.