In my work as a social media manager, it is common for me (and my colleagues) to run ads for the brands we promote on Facebook. And yes, part of our job is to look for ways to utilize the ad budgets provided by our clients. But it’s not only because they have to get more fans-we want to lead them to the fans that truly matter.
Here’s the thing. Just a few months ago Facebook launched Promoted Posts. While the more popular Page Post ads are effective in their own proven way, I somehow got puzzled as Promoted Posts seemed to follow the same fashion as that of Sponsored Stories.
But these two work differently, don’t they?
So I did some researching until I stumbled upon the findings of SEOmoz.org, when they did a split test between Promoted Posts and Sponsored Stories. In their experiment I had some of my questions answered, they got me thinking as well.
What they did was to promote the same content post published on their page using the two ad types. In the case of Sponsored Stories, they had the greater freedom to promote the ad in different places across Facebook, using the network’s interest targeting. Meanwhile, when they advertised the same content using Promoted Posts, they had a rather limited reach-the ad was initially exposed to the connections of their current fans.
As you can see, Promoted Posts fared better in many aspects than Sponsored Stories. For one, these ads are specifically targeted to already existing networks, i.e. the present fans. Since the aim of these ads is to significantly boost the exposure of the post on fans’ newsfeeds, they more they are viewed by the Facebook users who are also connected to the brand’s existing fans.
In contrast, the ad created via Sponsored Stories achieved lesser results because it had a much wider target audience, and it didn’t utilize on the brand’s current fan base. It’s more like smorgasbord targeting, as it reached out to users who have expressed general interests on Facebook, but are not necessarily involved with them.
So is Promoted Posts the way to go?
I say, not yet. It still depends on your social media marketing goal. From my point of view, SEOMoz was able to benefit more from Promoted Posts because they already have an existing-not to mention huge, fan base. Rather than attracting new fans from other parts of the Facebook world, it became more convenient for them to reach out to the contacts of their current fans instead. These users have the greater probability of becoming fans of the page because their Facebook friends are already connected to the page.
However, if you’ve just started out on Facebook, it might be better to invest on Sponsored Stories. First, your aim is to gain new targeted fans. Second, you want to introduce what your brand has to offer. Hitting these two birds in one stone is possible via Sponsored Stories-you not only increase your audience, you also brew them for engagement. Once you have these established, then that’s the time you can inject Promoted Posts to further amplify your social media campaign.
Many thanks to Justin_Venning for his very helpful ads test. :)
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