5 Strategies for Using Facebook Sponsored Stories Ads - dummies

5 Strategies for Using Facebook Sponsored Stories Ads

By Amy Porterfield, Phyllis Khare, Andrea Vahl

You might be wondering if Facebook ads are a good use of your marketing dollars. Maybe you dabbled a bit with Facebook ads with mixed results. Sponsored Stories may be the type of engagement ad for your business needs.

Sponsored Stories are ads that are 240 pixels wide and can have a variable height. They are auto-created from “actions” people take with your business (your Facebook Page, a Facebook widget on your website, or an actual post on your website (if you claim your Domain, as noted in the following). You don’t have to create a new image or text for this kind of ad, as it will draw upon things you’ve already created.

Sponsored Stories are currently shown on the right column of the news feed, on Group pages, and photos. But remember, Facebook respects people’s privacy settings, so this type of ad might not show their thumbnail image or Liking actions. Despite that, Sponsored Stories enable you to reach your fans and friends of your fans and give them an easy way to Like your Page (or be directed to your website), too.

Sponsored Stories need to be created within seven days of the engagement covered in the following sections. You’ll need to keep an eye on your Likes and Comments so you can time these ads for maximum exposure.

Page Post: Your current fans will see this type of ad

Say you published a really great post on your Page and you really want to make sure your already connected fans see it. Maybe you haven’t had the kind of engagement for this post that you normally see, so you want to try a different way to put it in front of the people who have already Liked your Page. Instead of re-posting the post, creating a Page Post Sponsored Story is the type of ad to try.

Page Post Like: The friends of your fans will see this type of ad

You published a very popular post on your Page. Maybe it has a large amount of Likes and comments. Using a Page Post Like Sponsored Story, the thumbnail image and names of the fans of your Page who Liked the post will show up in the top left corner of the ad and say, for example, “Phyllis Khare liked Generating Page Posts…” and the image that was part of your original post will be there and the icons for Likes and Comments.


Page Like: The friends of your fans will see this type of ad

Someone clicks the Like button on your Facebook Page or clicks the Like link on the Like Widget on your website. Both of those are the same thing — they Liked your Page and are now considered connected to your Page (fans). the Page Like type of Sponsored Story will only show up for the friends of those people (which is good!). It is the simplest looking ad and is built for someone to just click the Link link.


Check-In: The friends of the person who checked-in or claimed a Deal will see this type of ad

Do you have a local business? Do you want to target the friends of people who have physically walked into your business? The Check-In type of Sponsored Story is built for you. But you need to have people check-in for this to work.

You might need to educate people by training your staff to ask people to pull up their Facebook app on their mobile phones and “check-in.” And you should really have a sign on the wall (and on any type of printed materials) to remind people to check-in. And make sure you set up some check-in deals, too! Once you have that system running, add the Check-In Sponsored Story to your marketing mix.

Domain: The friends of the people who Liked or Shared content from your website will see this type of ad

If you have Facebook Like and Share buttons installed on your website or blog, and you have a lot of people who Liked one of your blog posts or commented so that it posted to their Facebook status update, then this type of ad is for you!

If you want to promote stories coming from your Domain, you need to claim your Domain before you create this an ad. This process will take you (or your developer) about five minutes to complete. It involves adding tags (code) to the header of your webpage. If this is a type of ad you will be using a lot, it’s worth the time to do this correctly.

Also, by claiming your Domain will get access to Insights for Domains, a Facebook dashboard providing detailed analytics about the people who interact with content on your website.

To claim your domain, visit Facebook Developers Insights and follow the instructions under “Claiming a Domain.”


There are two more types of Sponsored Stories that are built for people who have developed apps or games on Facebook. There are very few people who have done this, so if this applies to you, make sure you explore it in more detail at Facebook Sponsored Stories for Premium and Marketplace.

To create a Sponsored Story ad, follow these steps:

  1. Go to http://www.facebook.com/ads/create

  2. Select the Destination you want to promote.

    You will have a choice between and external URL, any of your Facebook Pages, any Facebook Places pages, any app pages, or Domains (that have been claimed).

    For a Page: You will be able to choose a Page Like Story, a Page Post Story or a Page Post Like Story.

    For a Place: You will be able to choose a Page Like Story, a Page Post Story, a Page Post Like Story or a Check-in Story.

    For an App that is a Game: You will be able to choose an App Share Story or a Game Played Story.

    For an App that is not a Game: You will be able to choose an App Share Story or an App Used Story

    For a Domain: You will only be able to select a Domain Story

  3. Select Sponsored Stores. You have a choice between Sponsored Stories and Facebook Ads.

  4. Select the type.

    Different options will show up depending on the Destination you selected in Step 1. You will see a Preview of the ad. You will not be able to edit this ad unless you change over to Facebook Ads.

    Currently, if you want to use a Post from your Page to create the ad, you need to select Facebook Ads in Step 2. A new drop-down list will appear and you can choose the post you want to feature in the ad.

  5. Go through the Targeting section.

    When you create a Sponsored Story, the targeting will automatically be for Friends of your fans, but you can target that even more by using the exact state, city or zip code of your business. This is great for local businesses with products (restaurants, cafes, stores, services).

  6. Set up your campaign budget, pricing and scheduling.

    There are lots of strategies to explore here. Makes sure you research this before you spend money.

  7. Place your order.

These steps are just general guidelines for placing a Sponsored Story ad in Facebook. Please make sure you do more research before spending your marketing budget on Facebook ads. Facebook itself provides info and insight into “promoting organic interactions between people and your business.”