It seems like just yesterday Facebook was introducing a new concept in social advertising. One that leveraged the preferences and activities of members in a user’s social network to promote businesses. What an exciting idea.
And Sponsored Stories were, for a time, a hit with advertisers. However, as with many tools in the tech arena, this one will be unceremoniously discontinued. This may seem like an odd move considering the considerable effectiveness of Sponsored Stories for advertisers. In fact, a report from AdParlor in Business Insider shows Sponsored Stories greatly outpacing Marketplace or inline like ads:
However, while Sponsored Stories might have been a money-maker for some brands, it’s been quite a hassle for Facebook. In the summer of 2012, the social network ponied up a hefty settlement in a lawsuit that resulted from users protesting the use of the actions and images in advertising. The suit resulted in Facebook allowing users more control over their personal information, costing the network millions in ad revenue. Is this the reason why Sponsored Stories are being laid to rest? Who knows, but it probably didn’t help the format’s chances.
An article on Internet Retailer points to an additional theory:
“…Facebook is emphasizing ad formats that offer retailers and other advertisers more defined measures to gauge success. For example, it has offered multiple ways for marketers to retarget consumers based on their off-Facebook activities.” (Internetretailer.com)
If you’ve been using Sponsored Stories to promote your business, it’s time to start making a new plan. Nobody panic, you still have a couple of months to prepare. But now is the time to take a look at your metrics thus far and decide what your next best option is for reaching your goals. Check out our Facebook Ads Infographic for some ideas on what types of ads to use in which situations, and the specs on the content you’ll need for each. (Just ignore that Sponsored Stories bit toward the bottom…)