Facebook Sponsored Stories Case Study

I have been doing quite a bit of advertising on Facebook lately. I am still waiting for them to release their offsite ads network, but for now I am seeing some success with advertising my fan pages using Sponsored Stories. In this article I am going to explain what Sponsored Stories are, how you can use them to advertise your own fan page, and how effective they are in building up engagement, which will help you make money from your fans!

Sponsored Story exampleWhat is a Sponsored Story?

A Sponsored Story is ad placement you can purchase from Facebook which will give special advertising space for your fan page and help you get engagement from both your current fans and the friends of your fans. As you can see in the example on the right, I am getting shown a Sponsored Story from a fan page that apparently one of my friends likes. I am friends with a lot of affiliate marketers on Facebook, so it’s easy to see how this can be very targeted. Typically, you have similar interests as your friends so the response rate can be pretty good.

Setting up a Sponsored Story

Setting up a Sponsored Story is pretty much the same as setting up a regular paid Facebook ad. Go to the Create an Ad page, select the fan page you want to promote, and choose these settings:

Sponsored Story ad settings

You can then choose more specific targeting of the friends of your fans (gender, age, etc.) and create your ad. The one big difference you will see is that you cannot select whether you want to bid CPM or CPC and you cannot choose your bid price. This is because Facebook automatically bids CPM for you and you will pay an Optimized CPM. This is the major difference between setting up your own ad advertising your fan page and creating a Sponsored Story. So, is it better to setup a Sponsored Story or create your own ad? Let’s take a look at my numbers:

Ad Impressions Clicks CTR Actions Likes Spent
Regular Ad 1,031,386 1,437 0.139% 1,667 945 $98.34
Sponsored Story 345,729 4,347 1.257% 16,001 2,271 $165.84

I have spent a bit more with the Sponsored Story because I am very happy with the results so the numbers don’t match up perfect, but if we consider cost per click and cost per Like, this is how it looks:

Ad Cost Per Click Cost Per Like
Regular Ad $0.068 $0.104
Sponsored Story $0.038 $0.073

Pretty impressive numbers. My regular Facebook ad performed pretty well and I ran it for awhile (over a million impressions), but the Sponsored Story is easily doing much better. I’m getting new fans cheaper and when you consider the other actions users can make (view a photo, like a page post, etc) the engagement is much cheaper and effective. For example, here are some statistics specifically for the Sponsored Story from my traffic last week:

Sponsored Story stats

I’m gradually increasing my spend on this campaign as well because I’m seeing a profit from engagement with my fans. Last month I made about $700 off these fans and this month I’m on pace to make over $1,500!

Make Money Off Your Fans

The important thing with monetizing your fan page is to be creative. You can’t simply spam your fans with affiliate links or they won’t be fans very long. I have had a lot of success with building a mailing list from my fans. AWeber has an awesome Facebook Page plugin that makes it really easy to setup a subscribe page using Facebook Connect. You can do this both within a tab of your fan page or by driving them away to Facebook to your own hosted page. I am doing both, but I’m seeing the best results by pushing people to my own site designed around the theme of the fan page. This also opens up new avenues to monetize because you are not limited by Facebook’s terms.

PeerFly stats

I have seen a lot of mixed reviews on Sponsored Stories and I really think the success of your campaign will be determined by the content of your fan page and the effort you give in making it successful. I’m going to continue to scale the fan page used in this case study and within the next few months I should be making $2,500+ a month from it. It can be done, but like anything else, it takes time and patience. Let me know if you have any questions 🙂

Important!
You cannot promote our offers on PeerFly directly on your fan page. If you want to push traffic to our offers you will need to funnel your traffic away from your fan page. Directly linking PeerFly offers on Facebook is considered spam.
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36 thoughts on Facebook Sponsored Stories Case Study

  1. I wish FB would go away from the term “Sponsored” to “Featured” but I do see the potential in this if your site or lander is done properly. Good info Luke!

  2. Hi Luke,

    i am asking myself wheter your screenshots are real cause you have this incredibly low cpc ? how did you do that?

  3. thanks for your quick reply. I am having a higher ctr (above 0.2%) but pay like 0.15 – 0.20 cpc for my fan generating campaigns, but maybe this cause i am targeting a different language. I had also some good results with auto cpm….

      1. it is staying at like this for already about two month. so i dont think it really will drop. The reason must be anywhere else.

      1. haha, I’m going to do a case study by starting a fan page from scratch and trying to get least 1,000 fans in the first week by only spending $5/day. We’ll see if I can do it.

        I like to focus on movies and tv shows with my fan pages.

      2. Great! Can’t wait until that case study is done 😀 Will try fb ads targeting the current country I am in. I have done the dating niche here but only manage to breakeven, hardly any profit.

  4. I have now tried setting up an iPhone 5 fanpage for the local country I am in. However I have put in the url of a custom tab telling the benefits of liking my page, as that should convert better? But one thing I noticed I don’t get the sponsoered stories option and neither can I see how many likes I receive in the statistics graph. I did it wrong?

    If successful I plan to use trustjacker like you have mentioned.

    1. I don’t use the custom tabs. Instead, I just put a good description on the page and fill it with content to make it obvious. Of course, you’re welcome to include a custom tab to see if that works for you.

      It’s possible that Sponsored Stories are not available in your country yet. I am not sure.

  5. Hi Luke,

    How does CPM depends of selected countries…and “Interest” section?? when i target US as a country…my budget goes to zero to fast?? Thanks

    1. Your CPM will depend on a few different factors, but with Sponsored Stories I’ve found that it usually starts high and will lower throughout the next few days as your CTR is truly calculated.

  6. Luke, I find your posts about Facebook fan pages to be really encouraging. Just two questions.

    1) When you say you build a mailing list, do you make a status post on your fan page timeline asking your fans to sign up for your list?

    2) Do you find you have a higher sign up rate when your email sign up form is located in a tab on your fan page as opposed to having it located on your own website?

    Your help is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!

    1. Great to hear. Yes, I will usually make a status update, but I won’t just ask people to sign up. I’ll use an incentive to get them to join the list. A lot of people use eBooks or something like that, but I like to give an actual incentive. “Sign up for our list! We’re going to draw one random subscriber and give them a free t-shirt!” or something along those lines. Sure, it’ll cost you $20-25, but you can choose to wait until you have a certain amount of subscribers to do the drawing and you’d be surprised what people are willing to do to win something free related to their interest.

      As I mentioned, I like to link away from Facebook. I’ve tried tabs, but I’d rather just take the user offsite for a few minutes to join my list or view my content.

  7. Hi Luke, thanks for the tips! When you say I might want to choose to wait until I have a certain amount of subscribers before running a contest, how many subscribers do you have in mind? One of my fan pages has 1000 fans. Is this enough? Or should it be higher?

    Also, I ran one a tshirt contest last week for an NFL football team and got 5 subscribers out of 1000 fans. Is that a poor sign up rate? I sent them to my own site to sign up. I used popup domination for the form.

    Thanks again!

  8. What if there are no fans and you want to start with a brand new fan page, in that case i dont think sponsored stories advertisement will help , As stated –your current fans and the friends of your fans can see sponsored stories. correct me if i am missing something .

  9. That would be great if you could post an article about how to get you from 0 fans to 1000 fans and that would help many newbies who are struggling to find their way in this huge market.

  10. Hi luke, I always learn a lot from you. You could tell some of your pages. I would like to understand how it does. Or could create a course, and I’ll buy.

  11. Hi Luke,

    i just don’t know what else to do.. I am a newbie and I recently bought a course created my blog and my fan page around the Relationship niche, got 475 Fans , hardly any traffic to my website. Bounce rate is %50 ..The site is about 3 months now. Got some clicks on my affiliate offers on the sidebar, but no conversion.

    1) Also does sponsor ads still works in 2015 to get LIKES to my fan page?
    2)Also,I wanted for a long time to create a tv show Fan Page, but where would i get content to post on the PAGE?

      1. thanks for your respond. But this article is about sponsor ads and my question was specifically asking about sponsor ads. I honestly felt you were avoiding my question Luke.

        Can you be honest and direct about sponsor ads. Do they work in 2015. Thanks very much.

      2. What do you mean sponsored ads? Sponsored Stories, which is what this article was about, is no longer available on Facebook Ads.

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