Facebook Saying Goodbye to Sponsored Stories, Hello to Bulls-Eye Targeting

developer roadmap

Facebook has released their Platform Roadmap to developers with a whole slew of changes coming as of April 9th, 2014. While a good number of these changes are pretty technical, there are a few changes to Facebook’s ad platform that might really make a difference this year.

Facebook Sponsored Stories are Going Away Forever

That is to say: Facebook is getting rid of “Sponsored Stories” because every ad will basically be a Sponsored Story by April 9th, 2014.

In an effort to streamline the ad creation process, instead of taking the extra step to include Sponsored Stories with each ad, Facebook will show social context (likes, comments, etc. from your friends) on all ad types. While they’ve already started to roll out this feature, they won’t completely retire Sponsored Stories for a few months yet.

Targeting is Getting a Whole Lot More . . . Targeted

Targeting is essentially being narrowed down to four categories: locations, demographics, interests, and behaviors. Facebook claims that structuring the targeting options this way will allow more “flexibility and precision” in building your audience.

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.

Sounds nice and intuitive, right? This should hopefully eliminate over-generalizing in audience creation and the risk that your ads are going out to people who aren’t really interested in your message.

You may have also noticed that “behaviors” is a completely new targeting option.

A new targeting type, Behaviors, has been added. These categories are specific to a user’s particular actions or past purchase behavior, past purchase behavior, purchase propensity. This category is made up of some targeting segments previously categorized as Interests.

On top of these, image cropping and geo-targeting will also get updated to generally have a better user experience. The best part? Facebook will begin alpha testing some of these targeting options as early as the beginning February.

  • Chris Douglass

    Any idea if they’ll still be using cookies to post ad content? Many ads that I see are often of websites that I’ve recently visited. Sometimes showing me the specific products. I rarely find it useful, though, because I either already purchased or decided against it. Then it’s just…haunting me.

  • lizmcmedia

    Chris, those ads are actually part of Facebook Exchange–their retargeting efforts. Companies that participate basically can remarket to you the same way they would across the web. Does that mean they’re not a little creepy/haunting? Absolutely not.