An updated Facebook developers roadmap shows that there will be changes coming to Facebook ads by April 9, including the sunsetting of sponsored stories and better targeting options. Facebook has been planning this since June 2013, but the company let ad partners know Thursday that sponsored stories will end soon.
Sponsored stories have been on the cutting board since Facebook announced its ad simplification plans last year. Facebook is wrapping up its simplification efforts, encouraging advertisers to take advantage of an objective-based advertising flow. Sponsored Stories were often controversial and were the subject of a lawsuit settled by Facebook, as users were angered over how their information was being used in this advertising model.
A Facebook spokesperson addressed the changes:
As announced in June of last year, we’re brining the best of sponsored stories – social context – to all ads. Since this update makes sponsored stories redundant, we will no longer offer them as a standalone ad unit for marketers. Social context will continue to appear with all ads where eligible. Our social advertising honors the audience that people choose, so nobody will see information in social context for an ad that they couldn’t already see.
The newest version of Facebook’s developers roadmap explains that Facebook now has more efficient ways to advertise, other than sponsored stories:
In an effort to better align our Ads API with our Ads Simplification effort, we’re making changes to simplify the creative data model to be more intuitive. The focus of creatives will be on the promoted object and the creative assets instead of the creative type, making them more consistent across promoted object types.
The post suggests that advertisers start using page post and page like ads, which have better social context. Existing page post and page like sponsored stories will continue to deliver. Advertisers will no longer be able to create domain sponsored stories (such as Amazon sponsoring a link a user posted to a product page) or open graph sponsored stories (such as Spotify advertising that a user is listening to a certain artist). Existing domain and open graph sponsored stories will end permanently after April 9.
According to the Facebook Help Center, there are 10 types of sponsored stories:
- App shared sponsored story
- Check-in sponsored story
- Domain sponsored story
- Event sponsored story
- Game played sponsored story
- Open graph sponsored story
- Page like sponsored story
- Page post comment sponsored story
- Page post like sponsored story
- Page post share sponsored story
Facebook’s developers roadmap also explained the changes that will come to targeting on April 9:
The overall concept of targeting has been redefined as having four key areas (locations, demographics, interests, behaviors). This organization creates more flexibility and precision in audience creation in terms of the and/or logic between groups.
Example: historically, if you selected “Parents” “Photography” “Photo uploader” within interests, the audience constructed was People who are Parents OR interested in Photography OR people who upload [many] Photos. However, the intended audience was: “Parents, who are interested in photography and upload pictures”. Now, the specific audience will be targeted as intended.
During the period allotted for the breaking change, all advertiser accounts managed by PMDs will NOT be added to the new targeting types, unified interests (unless previously added by request), or demographic and behavioral changes. This is to prevent disparity between Facebook UI and PMD tools.
Readers: What do you think about these changes?