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Facebook expanding reach of page post ads

Brands looking to expand their reach on Facebook may soon be able to target new users via page post ads.

The social network has begun testing a process that allows companies to specifically aim their advertising toward the newsfeeds of Facebook users who are not already a fan of the brand page.

A Facebook spokeswoman confirmed the rollout.

"This is a small test and we're constantly gathering feedback from people on how to improve our ad experience," she said.

The ads will appear on the desktop and mobile platforms, and will look like regular Facebook newsfeed posts, though they will be marked with a "sponsored" label and carry a "like" button, the spokeswoman said. The reach of the ads will expand based on fans liking, commenting on, or sharing the message, according to Facebook.

Previously, a company could only advertise in the newsfeed of its fans. Now Facebook is stepping out from limiting brands to only connected users. Businesses currently part of the test group can turn any post to their official page into an ad, which will appear in the newsfeed rather than the right-hand column of Facebook ads.

Just like any form of advertising, it costs money to run ads and Sponsored Stories on Facebook. Marketers are in control of how much they spend on ads by setting a daily or lifetime budget, a spokeswoman said. The company is charged only for the number of clicks the ads receives.

All fans of the brand page will have the opportunity to see the ad, as well as interact with it, but it will also be pushed out to other users who may be interested.

Last week, the social network announced that it was testing a mobile ad system that directs users to the Google Play store or Apple App Store if they click on a mobile ad for an app not already installed on their smartphone. In the last month, Facebook said, the new system sent users to both stores 146 million times.

Meanwhile, Sponsored Stories were originally introduced to Facebook in January 2011, allowing advertisers to promote their brand on the right-hand side of the page with check-ins or mentions from your friends. Some users, however, were irked that Facebook sponsors using their likeness for ads without permission and in May, Facebook settled a class-action lawsuit regarding Sponsored Stories.