TBG Digital released data from a test they ran comparing Facebook’s Sponsored Stories ad unit to Facebook’s standard unit. Facebook’s Sponsored Stories turn page updates, Places check-ins, Likes and application activity by users into advertisements.  Marketers can then take these actions and promote them within that user’s social network.

In TBG’s 2 billion impression test, Sponsored Stories units received a 46% higher clickthrough rate, a 20% lower cost per click and an 18% lower cost per fan than Facebook’s standard ad units.

Not surprising to us. What better way to get someone to try your product than to have someone they trust tell them about it?  Social Media has been the golden child for word-of-mouth marketing, but as it gets more popular, it also gets noisier and increasingly more difficult for marketers to break through the clutter, find their key audiences and get them to take action. How do you find the people who WANT to engage?

For years, marketers have focused significant resources on receiving an authoritative stamp of approval from key influencers (media outlets, bloggers) and generating word-of-mouth among peers. The challenge has always been how to extend the lifespan of these endorsements beyond the initial hit. With Sponsored Stories, Facebook allows marketers a simple way to amplify goodwill beyond the initial promotion at the top of someone’s News Stream.

At Outbrain, we talk to our partners a lot about the value of amplifying their earned media.  If a product or business receives a great review by an influential source, it only makes sense to have this distributed to as many people and places as possible. Whether it’s within someone’s social graph, or across a wide variety of media outlets, the key is amplification at scale (in a cost efficient way!).

This type of distribution is a great step towards helping marketers increase their brand credibility from an authoritative source, which is a key factor in driving brand trust.

Read more on the Sponsored Stories test here.