Facebook Advertising Showdown: Sponsored Stories vs. Promoted Posts

The Definitions:

Many don’t realize this but when a Facebook business page publishes a piece of content, it does not get shown to your entire group of Facebook fans. In fact, it gets shown to a very small percentage.

Facebook estimates that only 16% of a page’s fans are shown a particular piece of content in their newsfeeds. Facebook uses their algorithm, EdgeRank, to determine to whom and when a piece of content is shown to your fans.

Promoted Posts are a new Facebook advertising technique that a page can use to reach a larger percentage of their fan base with a particular post. This allows for a couple of great benefits: More eyes on your post by users who are already familiar with your brand and also an opportunity to increase your EdgeRank by getting old users engaged with your page again. Any post can be promoted.

Promoted Posts have many engagement benefits but let’s now discuss an option that will allow you to create your own targeted reach and attract new potential fans with a broadened reach. Sponsored Stories are the traditional advertising option. It is created within the Facebook Advertising Platform and acts similar to a standard Facebook Ad. You set the targeting based off of Facebook’s demographics and gathered interaction information. Then, select which post to be shown, modify the scheduling, and launch the story. It will be displayed in the right nav panel alongside with other Facebook Ads.

The Comparison

Promoted Posts


  • Targets current fans
  • Higher click through rate
  • Lower cost per click price
  • Creates opportunity for new engagement with fans who no longer interact with your page. 


  • Doesn't reach non fans without engagement
  • Only available to pages with over 400 fans.

Sponsored Stories


  • Larger reach
  • Can create story regardless of fan size base
  • Will attract more fans due to targeted reach


  • Lower click through rate
  • Higher cost per click

The Analysis

With less than 400 fans you don’t have a choice. You can only use Sponsored Stories.

With more than 400 fans it really depends on what you’re promoting and what you’re trying to accomplish that will determine which option you choose.

If you’re looking to gain new fans or capitalize on a certain targeted market then Sponsored Stories would be the best option due to its customizability.

If you’re looking to increase engagement without getting granular then Promoted Posts would be the best option due to its simple and inexpensive method.  


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