Facebook Mixing More “Suggested” Content in with Social Ads

Facebook has recently started mixing more recommended Facebook content based on friend profiles in with the Social Ads that appear on the right hand side of application pages and many other pages within the site.

“Suggestions” that appear (see right) include Groups that friends are members of, Pages that a friend may be a fan of, or even Events that friends are attending. Friend suggestions can sometimes appear here too.

The suggested content is interleaved with Social Ads on a fairly random basis. It’s fair to say that it makes the whole area much more attention-grabbing, especially since the name of the friend that is a fan of a page or a member of the group being recommended is shown.

The advertisements shown below recommended content are labeled “Sponsored” in the bottom right hand corner of each one, but other than that it’s hard to distinguish between ads and real social data. The presentation is reminiscent of some of the ways Google used to interleave sponsored results in with natural search while they were trying to arrive at a definitive approach.

This is likely one of the many tests Facebook is conducting to increase engagement and ad performance on the site. Yesterday, Facebook announced it is also testing a new in-house ad network for developers.