Facebook Sponsored Stories, Soon to Be a Thing of the Past

Maria Breaux
June 11, 2013

Last Friday, Facebook announced several updates to their advertising offering, aimed to help simplify the campaign creation process and entice new advertisers to test the channel.

In a nutshell, advertisers should expect to see the following changes in Facebook’s social advertising offerings in the coming months:

  1. Facebook will be eliminating Sponsored Story ad units this fall (exact time frame TBA) as a stand-alone advertising product. In their place, Facebook will begin to automatically include social context in ads without the extra step of creating additional Sponsored Story ad units.
  2. Facebook will be eliminating Question and Offer creative types effective July 9.
  3. Facebook will be adjusting the “look and feel” of their various ad types to be more consistent across the board, regardless of placement (i.e. right-hand rail vs. News Feed) or device (desktop vs. mobile). Beginning in late June, advertisers will be required to adhere to a standard image size, whereas previously they had flexibility.

According to Facebook, these changes stem primarily from customer feedback. With the wide array of advertising products and creative types Facebook has added to their feature set over the past year, many advertisers have raised concerns over the complexity entailed with launching campaigns. By eliminating less popular creative types, Facebook is aiming to foster increased adoption across its advertiser base.

At Marin, we are supportive of these changes and see them as a way to simplify campaign creation so advertisers can focus less on creative type selection and more on strategy and optimization. As Facebook strives to cut down on the advertising complexities they created over the past year, our advertisers will be able to launch more effective campaigns in less time and focus more on optimizing towards their business goals. Also, by simplifying the implementation process, advertisers who have been hesitant to try Facebook advertising may be more inclined to test.

What additional workflow benefits can users expect to see as a result of these changes?

Eliminating Sponsored Story Ads as Stand-Alone Ad Formats: Today, a popular advertising strategy on Facebook is to launch a separate Sponsored Story along with an ad promoting a Facebook asset. For example, if Macys.com wants to promote its Facebook fan page under the current system, along with any instances of fans “Liking” their Fan page they will need to create two separate Facebook ad units: 1.) A Page Promotion ad and 2.) A Page Like Sponsored Story ad. At scale, this process can be confusing and complex to some advertisers. Moving forward, Facebook will automatically display relevant social context for any ads promoting Facebook brand assets. In our example, under the new system Macys.com would only need to create a Page Promotion ad, and any Page “Likes” will automatically be displayed in the same ad unit.

Facebook Sponsored Stories Update

Elimination of Question and Offer Ads: Question and Offer ads were two of the lesser used Facebook creative types. Facebook believes this is because many brands already ask users questions and promote offers within other popular ad units (i.e. Page Post ads). Simplifying creative options should streamline the campaign launch process for advertisers.

Consistent Requirements for Creative Formats: Today, many Facebook creative types are in different formats and offer different sizes for text and images. For example, a Page Post ad allows for a much larger image size than a right-hand rail marketplace ad. By requiring one standard ad format, advertisers will no longer have to worry about uploading different images sizes for different placements and creative types.

Facebook Ads Image Size Update
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