Over the past week Facebook has experimented with a new format for Sponsored Stories – called Related Post – that encourages more interaction between consumers and brands.

Sponsored Stories are different from Facebook Ads in that you can organically insert mentions of your brand into the Facebook News Feed – and recently expanded to include the News Ticker. For example, if a person’s friend Likes a Page, the person will see that action along the right-hand column of Facebook’s homepage.

The new Related Post format is an improvement to Facebook’s Comment Sponsored Story – which pulls posts from a brand’s Page to create a display ad with a text question beneath the ad’s content. Moving forward, the ad doesn’t have to connect to a previous post and comment activity is kept within the ad and will not be connected to the News Feed.

Through the new format, brands can receive direct feedback on ads and products. Walmart was one of the first brands to add comments to its sponsored advertising. The company asked Fans to Like and Comment on its holiday-related ad – which later received more than 852 comments and over 19,806 Likes.

Facebook hopes that the new format will make brands more approachable, resulting in more feedback from consumers. Additionally, the feedback could influence a consumer’s opinion of the brand or decision to make a purchase. Should an individual view the comments on an ad and only find users complaining about the product, chances are that shopper will decline to purchase.

With holiday shopping on the mind of many consumers, deal promotions and product reviews will receive more attention than ever. It’s worth paying close attention to which of your ads are receiving positive feedback from your target audience and which can benefit from some tweaking.

[Via: Inside Facebook, Image credit: Erika]