Facebook has announced earlier this year that sponsored stories will be discontinued as of April 9th. Though the ad type has been favored among marketers, new advantages will appear in its place. As Alexander Graham Bell famously said, “When one door closes, another door opens”. Marketers ready to embrace new and smarter strategies on social won’t be left behind.
Change is rarely welcomed, but it’s often a good thing. We get opportunities to adapt, become smarter, stronger and faster. This is true in evolution as it is in marketing. And the “sunset” of sponsored stories means the dawn of becoming a smarter social marketer. How so?
The sponsored story has been effective at reaching friends of Fans. However, Facebook’s goal is to have marketers do their own work with as much social context as possible. This involves greater reliance on insights, advanced targeting and demographics. The more insights available to a campaign, the smarter and more effective it can be.
The absence of sponsored stories pushes marketers to embrace an objective-based kind of marketing, according to our own Social Ads Expert, Mario Francesevic. “Facebook plans to introduce a new targeting structure which will let advertisers focus on specific audiences on a completely new level,” Mario writes.
The result will be a more precise, personally relatable advertising for consumers, and thus a more personalized News Feed experience. After all, it’s the consumer who decides if your content gets engagement.
Moreover, the breaking change means marketers must seek engagement themselves. As Dan Sullivan writes on AllFacebook, “building good, engaged communities becomes paramount, and performance tilts…toward brands that are able to deliver a good experience”.
As all social marketers (should) know, achieving braggable engagement requires attention to data. Facebook has made efforts to keep News Feed optimized for consumers first, and marketers second. Therefore the best ad content may not necessarily be the most creative – or expensive or glossy – instead it will be the most relatable. To that end, high performance is for marketers who understand their targeted consumers’ behavior.
That’s not to say, of course, that creativity and ad spend (and glossiness) are less important — but specifically, that your creativity and ad spend are best managed when you know your audience. And that requires insights. With the right management and optimization, marketers are able to craft engaging stories by studying ad performance metrics.
Phasing out sponsored stories is part of Facebook’s initiative to simplify their social ads platform. Doing so creates a marketing experience that puts brands in greater control of their business objectives. And with fewer ad types, marketers get a more accurate and comprehensive analysis faster and easier.
In general Facebook is interested in breaking changes that preserve the personalized News Feed by giving marketers a simple way to confidently target and personalize their content for each audience. For consumers, the result is a less cluttered News Feed, one that is more hospitable to the best insights-driven stories, tailored to their interests.
Of course, with these breaking changes comes responsibility. “The actual impact from these changes is yet to be felt,” writes Paul Langtry on FBPPC.com, “but it’s best to start testing now and modify your strategy accordingly.”
Socialbakers couldn’t agree more. In fact, we’ve already upgraded our Ad Analytics solution to help you leverage these breaking changes. Meeting your business objectives on Facebook isn’t a guessing game – so take the opportunity to engage with insights by trying Socialbakers Analytics for yourself!
And don’t forget about our exclusive webinar on April 8th. We’ll address Facebook Breaking Changes, and what you can do to identify and manage new opportunities. Come prepared to learn best practices for measuring social media performance. And be ready to have your questions answered live and direct.
Engage London 2014 arrives on April 30th! A social media conference by marketers – for marketers. The world’s best in social marketing, like KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, YouTube, Lenovo, Google and more, will personally deliver their techniques on one stage. If you’re not engaged, you’re not a social marketer! Register today.