With the recent updates to Facebook, the relevancy of the Sponsored Story ads continue to increase - especially as they show such gains over Facebook's Standard Ads. This is part of a broader strategy to increase ad performance and value, which Facebook has long been criticized for.
The results are speaking for themselves as ad performance for Facebook's Sponsored Story ads are both cheaper and out-perform (CTR) Facebook's Standard ads by a long shot. FastCompany claims by 50%, and Facebook Ads API service provider TBG Digital's study revealed a 46% performance gain.
In a nutshell, what you have here are "implied endoresements" - a nuance of word of mouth marketing, that Facebook knows so very well.
Understanding the concept may take a few run-throughs (at least it has for me). For a long time, having someone Like your Page pretty much guaranteed an initial shot of having that action reach that person's friends, as well as providing an open channel for Page posts to reach Fans's News Feed. Well, the News Feed became a torent which has reduced the window for exposure.
Facebook introduced Sponsored Story ad units back in January this year to help fill the gap.. and then some. These ads provide a deeper anchor to keep the brand on the News Feed page (to the right under "Sponsored"), and then (wait for it) extend also to friends of that Fan with these "implied endorsement" ads. These ads now allow advertisers to extend their reach to a user's entire friend network each time they Checkin, Like a product, Like a Page (become a Fan), Comment on a Story, Like an App, Comment on an App, etc. etc...
Here's the breakdown.
I've begun using these with a strategy of first concentrating ad resources to build Likes/Fans. Then to remarket through these Fans via Sponsored Stories. It works very well.
Here are some good resources for going deeper into the 7 different types of sponsored stories and how to set them up.
- Facebook - General Overview and Pitch
- All Facebook - Overview
- Facebook - Deeper conceptual explanations and Type breakdowns