Joe Meloni

A report from Marin Software found that companies using Facebook for paid advertising are shifting their spending to focus more on social content rather than direct ads. The company found that investment in Facebook advertising has increased from about 5 percent of paid social media marketing budgets to 23 percent in the last year, and it suggests the growth is largely driven by content-focused ad units including Sponsored Stories.

According to Marin, companies have seen the pricing for Facebook ads increase drastically as their performance and value steadily increases. Social content may be contributing to rising ad efficacy. The Sponsored Stories, as Brafton reported, place popular content from fans into ad spots for other users.

Still, marketers seem to find that exposing users to relevant content is worth rising ad prices. Marin predicts that investment in Facebook ad units that take advantage of the social graph, including Sponsored Stories, will represent half of all advertising budgets dedicated to the site.

While social media marketing can be a boon for businesses without spending on the paid elements of the channel, many choose to give their efforts a lift with the targeted advertising spending. Facebook’s sheer size demonstrates its value for businesses.

Brafton recently reported that as part of its S-1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Facebook said it has surpassed the 900 million-user mark. Moreover, approximately 200 million users from the United States and Canada log into the site each month.