What to Know About Facebook Ads and Sponsored Stories

So, you’re just ramping up your ecommerce stores Facebook business page or your page is already well-established – what’s next in your ecommerce social marketing strategy? Facebook offers various options to drive more traffic to your Facebook page, and consequently, to your website. Two options that are common and many small businesses to large corporations use are Facebook ads and sponsored stories. Both are viable and inexpensive options if you are looking to drive traffic to your ecommerce store.

You’ve likely heard that “social ads” are the future of advertising, and they are certainly on the rise. With Facebook ads, you have the opportunity to approach exactly the target group you want. Because Facebook users fill in information about themselves, including their basic demographic information and interests, you can be specific when deciding which audience to buy Facebook ads for. Facebook also incorporates users’ search inquiries into ads. For example, if someone was searching for cabernet wine glasses on Google, related ads will be displayed in that person’s Facebook ads column.

Facebook ads are purchased on an auction basis, meaning advertisers are charged based on either clicks, impressions or actions. As a business, you can create and publish all types of ads. You can choose to create an ad through Facebook’s self-service interface or through a certified ads API developer. The ads are then delivered all across Facebook.

There are seven different categories of Facebook ads, which also includes sponsored stories. We’ve broken down the ten different categories, so you can see which would be the best option(s) for your business:

App ad
As the name says, app ads are for apps on Facebook. If you have an app that you want to market to your targeted audience, this would be a great ad option. These ads show up on the desktop right hand column. Conveniently, the ad takes people directly to the app when clicked.

Domain ad
Domain ads are the original classic Facebook ads that you see on the right hand side of the newsfeed. These ads take people off site when clicked. Domain ads can also show social context, i.e. “John Doe likes www.example.com.”

Event ad
As the name suggests, event ads are for events created on Facebook. They can show on either the main newsfeed or in the right hand column as well as mobile newsfeed. These ads allow people to join the event directly from the ad when people click “Join.”

Mobile app ad
Mobile app ads appear in the newsfeed on mobile phones. Clicks on the ad takes the user directly to the Apple App Store or Google Play, depending on which mobile operating system the app is for.

Page ad
Page ads are for Facebook pages. If you want more exposure for your Facebook page, this is a viable option. The Page can be liked directly from the ad. These ads appear on the right hand column as well as the main newsfeed on the desktop and mobile.

Page post ad
Page post ads are Page posts that are sponsored (sometimes called “Promoted”) to increase your reach. When you create a new post on your Facebook timeline, you have the option to ‘promote’ it. This will boost your post to the top of people’s newsfeeds. If your post leads includes a link to your website, a user will be directed to that website when he/she clicks on the post. Page post ads are great when you want to advertise a new product or promote a sale. You can also choose to have a video, just text, or just a photo in your page post ad.

Offer Ads
Offer ads promote an offer redeemable on your website. This is great for gathering new customers. Many ecommerce businesses will do a “$10 offer first order over $50” deal. These ads appear in the main newsfeed on mobile and desktop.

Sponsored Stories
Sponsored stories are a bit different from the ads mentioned above. You do not create the content of the ad. While sponsored stories are similar to Page post ads, the content is created by Facebook users instead of you. Every time someone interacts with one of your Facebook posts or likes your Page, a story is created. The content of the story can be that someone likes your Page, uses your app, or is going to your event. For example, one of your fans recently liked a post, it may show up on his/her friends’ newsfeeds as “John Doe likes Company” or “John Doe likes a link.”

Facebook ads and sponsored stories help you reach the right audience for your business and turn them into customers. It’s just a matter of finding which option works for you. Luckily, Facebook ads and sponsored stories are inexpensive and the costs are based on how large your fan base is and how large of an audience you want to target. Either way, Facebook is a powerful marketing tool and a great space to keep customers informed, develop brand identity, and broaden your reach.

Published by

Joseph Yi

Since he was a freshman in college, Joseph has worked in several internet startup companies and has developed campaigns and digital strategies for Fortune 500 companies and brands including the Los Angeles Lakers, Manchester City FC, the Oakland Raiders, Sephora, and Whole Foods. Follow Joseph on Twitter.