Much like Mark Twain and Paul McCartney, the reports of the demise of sponsored stories have been greatly exaggerated.  Contrary to what you may have heard, the Sponsored Story is still alive and kicking – but maybe not in the form you’ve grown accustomed to.  For those of you who haven’t heard, Facebook announced the retirement of the much heralded Sponsored Story ad format as of April 9th. This was the go-to ad for any marketers looking to build their fan base via the significantly more effective “friends of fans” audience.

Page Like Sponsored Stories

Suggested Page Sponsored Stories

In Facebook’s continuing move to what they deem a more streamlined and goal-oriented platform, the decision was made to add the social context, the true value of the Page Post Sponsored Story, to all Page Post ads.  One must still opt-in via the API as it will not be the default, but it should be yours.

Page Post Ads w/ Updated Social Context

Page post ads 2 Page Post Ads

The actual impact from these changes is yet to be felt, but it’s best to start testing now and modify your strategy accordingly.  Ad copy and imagery will need to evolve as well in order to take full advantage of the benefits and flexibility offered by the range of Page Post ads.  No longer will images or text be limited to what Facebook grabs from your page.  The creative process will now need to include campaigns that previously relied on the more rigid ad format.  Best not try and repurpose current creative assets unless they are undeniably focused on gaining new followers.  I think we all remember the results driven by social media marketers trying to squeeze PPC copy into Facebook formats; it wasn’t pretty.  We all abhor change to some extent, but it can be for the best if it’s embraced and seen as a challenge not an obstacle (Yes, I went a little Tony Robbins on you there).

For all the uproar we occasionally hear regarding these ads, their ability to connect Facebook users to brands and spark that initial conversation is paramount to marketers continuing to succeed on this and other social media platforms.  The good news is that this ability isn’t going anywhere; it’s just changing shape.

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Paul Langtry
Paul Langtry is a Senior member of the Account Development team for Adobe’s Advertising Solutions. He’s responsible for the strategic development and planning for Adobe Media Optimizer’s (AMO) paid social client base. When he’s not working he’s usually playing lacrosse or chasing his son around. Follow Paul on Twitter @lotsalax.