by Jon Myers
Facebook sponsored stories typically provide a significant boost to click through and conversion rates and the reason for this is that these ads introduce social context, making them more relevant and yielding more favourable metrics. But how can an advertiser take advantage of sponsored stories? There are several different types of sponsored stories and these may not all fit within an advertiser’s business model. Below is a snapshot of a few of the most popular sponsored stories and some guidance on which stories would be the most helpful for various business models.
To set up domain sponsored stories, the retailer needs to place a small piece of HTML on their website which appears as the Facebook ‘like’ button. When a user comes to their page, while logged into Facebook, and clicks ‘like’ a story is created stating John Doe likes MarinSoftware.com. A click on this advertisement would send the user to MarinSoftware.com.
Domain sponsored stories require the most work to set up, but they’re a valuable targeting asset for lead generation advertisers that would like to drive users to their domain instead of a Facebook page. This is the only sponsored story that will allow the user to be taken away from a Facebook URL. In the end, it’s social context plus the ability to drive the user offsite which results in a huge win for lead generation and retail advertisers.
Page like stories are created when a user clicks ‘like’ on a business’s Facebook page. After clicking ‘like’ a sponsored story can be created stating ‘John Doe’ likes Marin Software. A click on this ad would send the user to the Marin Software Facebook Page.
This is great for brand advertisers who want to increase their Facebook page likes. The key advantage here is that the advertiser can target users who have friends that like their Facebook fan page. In this sense, the targeting is more valuable than the “friends of connections” product because the ad is targeting friends of the user that clicked like AND they are showing an advertisement with social context. If my friend, John Doe, likes Dave’s record shop, I might like it too.
Page post story
Page post stories are created when a user navigates to a Facebook advertiser page and posts a comment on the wall. This creates a story that shows the post on the advertiser’s Facebook wall. For example, if I post ‘I love the new shirts’ on the M&S Facebook page, that comment could then be used within an advertisement.
For a little while, this was a dangerous feature to use because a user could potentially post negative feedback on the advertiser’s Facebook page. Using sponsored stories in this case would then broadcast that negative feedback. Recently, Facebook has changed this functionality so that the user can identify which story they want to broadcast for the advertisement. Social context is no longer required to run a page post ad. Essentially, this ad is able to take the business’ most favourable feedback and broadcast it. This could work for both branding or to sell an individual product through the Facebook platform.
Check-in stories are created when a user checks-in at a store that they have claimed as their own. For example, if I were shopping at M&S in Oxford Circus and I decided to check-in, M&S would be able to use that check in for a sponsored ad. The sponsored ad would state ‘Jon Myers checked in at M&S – Oxford Circus’. Clicking on this ad would take the user to the M&S Oxford Circus place page.
This is the type of ad that goes full circle to the point of offline sale. These are much more difficult to track and the volume will likely be low, but the ads can be an effective sales tool for large businesses and companies can offer sales promotions to incentivise customers to check in online.
Jon Myers is commercial director, Marin Software.