Facebook Drops “Sponsored Stories” From Its Ad Offering


Facebook recently announced it would officially discontinue the entire library of Sponsored Stories ad formats by April 9, 2014.

What Are Sponsored Stories?

Sponsored Stories are distinct Facebook ads that feature the “voice” of a friend — likes, comments and shares — about a brand’s page or content. With Sponsored Stories, a brand can create an ad based on an action a user had taken with their posted content or page and distribute that ad to that user’s network of friends.

Sponsored Story Ad Formats Include:

  • Page likes
  • Page post likes
  • Page post comments
  • Page post shares
  • Events
  • Check-ins
  • Games Played
  • Apps Shared
  • Open Graph
  • Domains

Facebook has been working to simplify its advertising options since Q3 2013. Understanding that social context made ads more engaging, Facebook made the logical decision to automatically include social context in all newsfeed ad formats and discontinue the Sponsored Story format as a separate unit.

Resolution Media POV:

As of Nov. 2013, all options to promote Page Posts now include social context. The type of context shown is determined by the type of action — like, comment, or share — undertaken most by users engaging with the content. Advertisers cannot opt out of the social context, but to avoid any potential negativity from users, link shares are not included automatically and must be opted in to show.

The removal of Facebook’s Sponsored Stories will not have a significant impact on advertisers.  Since Facebook announced they were deprecating these units we have encouraged most of our clients to switch before the deprecation from Sponsored Stories to standard page posts, which now automatically include social context, and have not seen any concerning trends in performance or available inventory.

Key Takeaways:

  1. The major changes to Sponsored Stories are not new. Page Posts with automatic social context have been the norm for the last few months with minimal impact.
  2. Most units have a comparable non-sponsored format. The only ads that are going away completely are the Open Graph Sponsored Stories, the Game Played Sponsored Stories and the Check-in Sponsored Stories. Everything else has either the same or similar ads available.
  3. Your ad dollars matter to Facebook. As a publicly traded company, Facebook’s stock price depends on advertisers buying ads. Any changes that would eliminate successful ad units simply don’t make sense.


As Facebook continues to grow its user base and evolve its monetization efforts, advertisers should be ready for additional changes Facebook may make to its ad lineup. Tracking and understanding these changes will help advertisers maintain a successful presence on Facebook, and Resolution will continue to keep advertisers engaged with the most effective and proven social ad types available, as well as emerging social advertising opportunities.

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