Facebook Sponsored Stories: New Ads, New Benefits

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Yesterday I met with an old friend who owns his own small business. His target is primarily high school and college students and for years he has done his best to stay up on the latest trends and social media sites to get in front of his market.

He is a heavy, heavy Facebook advertiser. That makes sense. After all, Facebook is highly-targetable and it’s no mystery that high school students are on the social network at all hours of the day. After years of acclimating himself to the rules and guidelines of Facebook advertising, my friend became a master learning various aspects about the EdgeRank algorithm to maximize visibility and get the most bang for his buck.

Over time, smart phone usage began to rise, and high school and college students were spending much more time on mobile, and much less time in front of a computer screen. Facebook also realized the shift. Their response? Sponsored Stories.

If you truly pay attention to your Facebook newsfeed, you will notice a flood of content that technically should not be there. In fact, if you scroll down your feed right now, I can almost guarantee that you will see at least 3 pieces of content with the word sponsored shyly placed along the right side.

This is Facebook’s new advertising platform. So how does it work?

Think of a story as an action you or your friends take liking a page, commenting on a photo, liking a photo, etc. A Facebook business page owner will take that action and broadcast it to your friends who do not Like your business’ page through a Sponsored Story ad. This is why you see information from pages you never liked or even heard of, because your friend’s like that page.

I think it’s genius.

Why Do Sponsored Stories Work?

I am more likely to consider looking into a company because one of my friends vouched for it. It’s essentially taking word-of-mouth advertising into the digital realm. It appears that your friend told you about this product, so maybe you check it out. That’s the genius of it. It’s a conversation without the conversation.

What’s the Catch?

Of course there’s a catch. It’s Facebook. Traditionally, ads appeared on the right side of Facebook. These traditional ads now cost much more money than they used to per click. But guess which ad is cheaper? Sponsored Stories. All of the user’s interactions on Facebook take place in the newsfeed, for the most part. They click anything and everything that comes through. By charging businesses less per click, it becomes appealing, however, these ads get a million more clicks than ads on the right hand side.

Most importantly, the newsfeed is the home page for mobile users. The steady stream of content is now home to sponsored story ads. People can see them, click them and interact from any smart device.

This presents a problem, though. Everyone clicks everything on Facebook, so how does this help? After they Like your page, it’s your job as a page owner to educate your new audience. They don’t know your brand, know your product, and have never truly received word-of-mouth from their friends. This is why having a social media marketing team on hand is so key.

At Fulcrum, we offer social media marketing for our clients to drive engagement and educate consumers about your brand. This is where the value is, but this can often take time, creativity, and plenty of patience.