Facebook Drops Sponsored Stories, Introduces Social Context Ads

3 minute read
Katie Ingram avatar

Facebook Sponsored Story Change

Over the next few months, advertisers who use Facebook will have a few less options, as the social network is restructuring its ad platform to improve efficiency and eliminate repetition.

It’s all About Simplicity

As a social network with a wide range of features including status updates, timeline, notes and photo albums, Facebook gives its users a lot of ways to post content and engage with friends. This philosophy, that more is better, had been transferred over to its advertisement platform, but according to an announcement from the social network, not all user's have favored this approach.

As the services we provide to marketers have grown, so have our new products; while each product may be good on its own, we realized that many of them accomplish the same goals.” said Fidji Simo, a product manager at Facebook.

Overall these changes, which focus on the removal of half of the network's 27 advertising units, are meant to improve the ad process so buyers can concentrate on the type of advertising they want to to do versus the kind of ad they need to buy to. 

Learning Opportunities

Social Meets Ad

One of the most noteworthy updates in this announcement relates to Sponsored Stories. With this updateSponsored Stories won’t be entirely removed from the social network, but will be incorporated into new ‘social context ads.’ Before, advertisers had to create two sets of ads: sponsored stories and a standard ad, in order to get noticed,but in combining these two features, advertisers simply buy an ad and Facebook will automatically add social context so there isn't a need for a sponsored story. Also, with this change, a user's newsfeed will no longer be bombarded with irrelevant advertisements disguised as stories.

This great news for anyone who didn't enjoy apparently hocking batteries and shampoo to their friends.,” said Ashley Feinberg.

Other changes include a more consistent ad template and the removal of Questions. Facebook found companies could answer the same question in a status update and Offers, and Page post link is a better way to draw in customers so there isn't a need for two similar features.

These are all good moves if you ask me," said Corey Eridon. "Facebook needs to focus on getting a few core ad products working really, really well for advertisers -- and making those ad formats work for users, too.”

A Change Here, an Update There

These updates aren't the only changes Facebook has made to its advertising platform. Recently, it was reported that the company changed its ad template sizesadded FBX ad targeting capabilities in news feeds and added Partner Categories, a third-party data advertisement tool.