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Friday, 6 January 2012

A Quick Comparison: Standard Ads vs Sponsored Stories

Facebook as a marketing platform continues to grow, as the social network itself evolves. Many of the best ways to connect with your audience are only effective if you already have a large fan base. Therefore, finding ways to get potential users to click through to your profile and make that important commitment to “like” your page is vital. There are many little strategies you can take advantage of using the Facebook platform, but this article discusses the two most direct approaches: paid ads and sponsored stories. While utilizing these tools does have an attached cost, compared to other forms of advertising it is actually quite reasonable. Facebook ads and sponsored stories are a good first choice for businesses that have never purchased another form of paid advertising.

Standard Facebook ads are the small sections of advertising on the right side of the facebook screen. Those who buy the ad space can set them up to link to a Facebook page, an outside website, or even provide users with a direct “click to like” button. The ad includes a title, image and 135 characters of description text. Facebook offers several features to help you target your ad towards exactly the demographics you have in mind for your campaign. Similar to some of the other advertising options on the internet, Facebook ads is set-up where you pay for every click through to your destination page. You can bid the maximum amount you would be willing to pay for each click and based on these numbers, Facebook will put your ad into circulation.
The other main form of paid advertising that Facebook offers is Sponsored Stories. This method of advertising analyzes the actions of a user’s friends and turns these into ads disguised as Facebook newsfeed stories. For example, if a Facebook user clicks “like” on the page for macaroni and cheese, it will show up as a small story on their friend’s news feed. However if “Billy Bob’s Macaroni and Cheese Shack” signs up for a sponsored stories ad account, and someone “likes” them, this story will show up as a sponsored story regularly on each friend’s news feed. The different actions that an advertiser can choose to turn into sponsored stories are likes, check-ins, actions within applications and posts. The demographic targeting options are the same as a standard Facebook advertisement. The pricing structure is also set up in the same manner where you bid a price you are willing to pay per click.

So, if you are considering a paid Facebook ad campaign, which should you choose? Each of these ads has benefits and drawbacks. If you are simply looking to get as many “likes” as possible, one of the standard Facebook ads with the “click to like” button often gets the best results. On the other hand, the sponsored stories feed into the social network side of Facebook and allow users to feel a connection to your brand when they see that a friend has liked or is interacting with your page. If you have never explored paid ads on Facebook, perhaps you may try a small campaign of each method and see what results you achieve before you commit to any type of massive paid marketing campaign.

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