I love seeing those big numbers after a great Facebook post and imagining all of those friends of fans seeing their friends’ engagement in their News Feed. It brings me joy and satisfaction. However, the truth is this great post only reached 16% of my fan base at most, and I really don’t know how many of friends of fans actually saw those engagements. Sponsored Stories and Premium Ads may be a great opportunity to reach more and new fans, especially after Facebook just automated ad buying and placement.
Facebook claims these ads units are “40% more engaging” compared to marketplace ads. But why? Where does this difference come from?
These ad units are simply status updates that are taken from the page and placed on the right side of the homepage or within the News Feeds of you fans, depending on your targeting. You have the same 6 choices for units as status updates: copy, photo, video, Question, link, and event. From my experience, the high performing ads were quickly understood, visual, and time relevant, and the best performance came when they were all three. It’s by no coincidence that the same rules apply to publishing successful status updates.
Another important element is targeting. Sponsored Stories are targeted to fans (to extend reach for mobile users) and/or friends of fans. Premium Ads are the same as Sponsored Stories except you can target by demographics, interests, and use of specific app. The trade off to Premium Ads is not having the social context that Sponsored Stories provide. Exactly how much better is not public, but it’s a natural user behavior to endorse something knowing their friends have approved.
Advertising with a conversational voice and personalized “social context” is the future. Facebook’s Sponsored Stories are only the beginning.
Andrew Rinke is a Razorfish Social Media Strategist in the Emerald City. Instead of clicking his heels, he just refreshes his Facebook. You can follow some of his thoughts and experiences on Twitter and Instagram