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Practical guide for Facebook ads, Part 2: Choosing between Facebook ads and Sponsored stories

This is the second part of the “Practical guide for Facebook ads”. Read the first part of the series on how to create and manage a facebook ads account.

The choice depends on the fan base you have on your page and the aim of the ad campaign

Facebook gives you a great opportunity to spread your message beyond the fan base on your page, or to attract new fans so that you can interact with them later on. And you can do all this for a relatively low price. It’s done via the small ads that are shown on the left sidebar of your Facebook profile. Actually making a Facebook ad isn’t hard to do, but you do need to invest some time in deciding which way is best for you to ensure you spend your advertising budget effectively. The ad campaign you will create depends on your goals, your specific business and your target group. Let’s see what kind of ad options Facebook offers.

After you’ve set up your Facebook Ads account it’s time to choose your Facebook ads type. Facebook offers two types of advertisements: Facebook ads and Sponsored stories. In this post I’m going to explain, in depth, these two types of ads, as related to Facebook Pages.

Facebook ads

A Facebook ad is a classic branded ad – with picture and copy. It links to an external page, Facebook page or Facebook App. With this kind of ad you can provide a customized message to your target group. There are two types of classic Facebook ads – Ad from a page post and New ad message.


The Ad from a page post shows one of your posts to the target group. The content of your page post is the content of the ad; you do of course have an option to choose which post will be in your ad. This is a great way to inform your current fans about something important – so that you’re sure all of them have seen your message. It can also raise your brand awareness and attract new fans by showing them some of your important posts, or highlighting a post they might be interested in.


The New ad message is a classic branded ad. With this type of ad you have the option to choose the title of the ad, the body and the picture. You can customize them at any stage of your ad campaign if you see your ads are not having the desired effect. This type of ad is the only one that can link to an external page – every other type goes to your page in Facebook. Linking a Facebook ad to an external page is an option that you should really think twice about as when people are on Facebook they don’t really like to be led outside of it.

Sponsored stories

The Sponsored story is also a branded ad, but it’s utilising the power of Facebook as a social network. This ad type is unique to Facebook. Sponsored Story ads publish the status updates, uploaded pictures and posts from the news feed of your page, as ads. The user then sees the social interactions his friends have with your brand or app (i.e. their friend’s Likes, Comments or Shares). Sponsored stories are a great way to raise your brand awareness and to keep people updated about your activities.

There are three types of Sponsored stories – Page Like Story, Page Post Story and Page Post Like Story.


The Page Like Story is an ad that is shown to the friends of your pages fans. These users see who among their friends has liked your page. The statistic shows that a user is more willing to like a page, when he sees that his friends have already liked it. He believes that he has similar interests to them, so if a friend likes a particular page, this page is “worth liking”. So, if you want to raise the fan base of your page, this ad is the perfect way.

The Page Post story is an ad which shows one of your posts. This ad is larger than other formats and has more social and engaging elements in it than the other Facebook ads. This ad shows the number of people who liked your specific post and those who’ve commented on it. It appears above the other ads. You can use this kind of ad to help your posts reach more users, not only your fans. When you have a particular piece of news or pictures from an event and you want them to reach a broader audience, then a Page Post Story ad is a great way to achieve that.

The Page Post Like Story is a mix of the other two types of Sponsored Stories. It shows to a Facebook user that one of his friends has liked a particular post or activity by a page. This mixed type of ad is a really successful tool. It has the same benefits as the other two types of Sponsored stories – it shows a particular activity from your page with the social element of a friend who liked it – but on the other hand the target group of this ad is very limited. It will be seen only by users with friends who are fans of your page AND have liked some of your posts.

Which one should I choose?

For smaller businesses the standard Facebook ad is the better choice in the beginning. This way you can build up a larger audience for your Facebook page. After that, you can use Sponsored stories – they’re really effective when you have more fans so that they can reach more people. Remember, Sponsored stories are shown only to the friends of your fans. So the more fans your page has, the merrier the audience these ads can reach. With them you can use the power of the social network. The likelihood of your message going viral also increases. The ads will appear on your Fan’s Friend’s walls – the more fans, the more Facebook users it’ll reach.

You need to find out which style of Facebook advertising is the most suitable for you, and which is the most cost-effective, of course. After that, you can enjoy profitable results and all the benefits of advertising in The Social Network. You can’t immediately understand which type of ad will work for your business and your audience, unless you experiment. There is no such thing as a universally great and effective ad – no one can tell you the best way to advertise for your type of business and to your specific target group. If you read, or hear, “Create exactly this ad and you’ll benefit from it 100%”, don’t believe it. Always test and experiment! This is how you’re going to learn to understand your audience and discover what works for them.

How can you create these great Facebook ads and target exactly the audience that you’re interested in? Well don’t miss our next installment – Practical guide for Facebook ads, Part 3: Facebook Ads – design & targeting


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About Lili Petkova

Enthusiastic young online marketing professional. Fully engaged in the way how people communicate and react on different situations – both online, and offline. Living in Bulgaria - a country of contrast, where life is somewhere in the middle of Western countries and Asia. Love to travel, meet new cultures and friends. Blogging about how online tools, social networks and internet advertising can help small businesses to benefit from their online marketing.