Facebook Sponsored Stories Get the Axe
The Facebook Sponsored Story is being discontinued as the social media giant revamps its advertising platform.
Beginning April 9, Facebook Sponsored Stories will stop being published entirely and all existing ads in that format will revert to other Facebook ad formats. (You can, however, still buy them right up until April 9.)
Though the actual Sponsored Stories are disappearing, the core concept behind them will linger on in other forms. Specifically, Facebook is keeping what it calls the, “social context,” of the stories.
That means Facebook users will still see advertisements from brands that their Facebook friends have already liked and will be notified of their connection to the ad.
Facebook is betting big on social context and is putting it at the center of its new, post-Sponsored Story ad formats.
In public, Facebook is attributing the end of Sponsored Stories to a broader effort to make its Byzantine advertising platform easier to use saying:
Last year, we announced some changes to simplify Facebook ads, including eliminating different types of ads that had the same purpose and making our ads look more consistent.
While consistency is certainly part of the reason, it’s unlikely that it’s the only one. End-users were never particularly crazy about seeing paid content turning up in their personal news feeds.
One group that didn’t think much of Sponsored Stories was internet privacy advocates. In 2012 the company paid out a $10 million class action settlement in California for using end-user likes in Sponsored Stories without permission.
Despite the California settlement, Facebook user likes and other personal information will still be a part of Facebook’s social context advertising. Advertisers will also be able to use their current e-mail databases to touch base with Facebook users and/or find end-users with similar demographic profiles.
Along with the ad placement platform upgrade, Facebook is also rolling out an overhauled advertising metrics dashboard. This enhancement should make it easier for advertisers to see exactly which ads are converting best and which ones aren’t.