Domain Sponsored Story: How to Promote Shares From Your Website

Last week, I wrote about a little utilized tool called Domain Sponsored Stories that allow you to create Facebook ads around shares of your website content.

It’s quite possible that you’ve never seen one of these — or realized what it was when you saw it. It’s more likely that you’ve never considered creating one.

What’s different about these ads is that they are not connected to your Facebook Page in any way. You are leveraging people sharing articles from your website to their friends.

I’ll write a separate article about my experiences with this approach (I get a CTR of 1-2%, depending on the virality of my current content), but the purpose of this post is to explain how you can create your own Domain Sponsored Story.

Who Should Create Domain Sponsored Stories

Before I get to the steps involved, let me be clear that this isn’t for everyone. If you have a new or little trafficked blog, you’re going to create ads that generate no activity.

You need to leverage the traction you already have. The goal is to have someone with a significant following share your content so that Facebook can promote that for you. If very few people share your content — or if those who do have a small following — there are fewer opportunities to generate ads.

If your website already generates a high number of shares, here’s how you can create your own Domain Sponsored Story…

1. Claim Your Domain

The first thing you need to do is alert Facebook that you own your domain so that you can generate ads around it.

Within your Insights Dashboard, click on the green “Insights for your Website” button.

Next enter your domain and link it to a personal account, Page or app. If only you need access to the stats, you can link it to yourself. If you need a team of people, select the app or Page so that all admins can access it.

Facebook Insights for your Website
Then copy the code Facebook provides (you’ll use that in the next step).

2. Paste the Code

You’ll now need to paste the code you copied in the first step between the < head > tags of your site.

Where you do this will depend on your CMS. I use the Genesis Framework WordPress theme, and I can easily add Header scripts within the Genesis Theme Settings or within Simple Hooks. The All in One Webmaster plugin also has a field to enter Header scripts.

There will be two ways to know if you did this correctly: 1) stats begin to accumulate for your website in the Insights Dashboard, and 2) the next step is possible. If your domain isn’t set up and claimed properly, you will not be able to select it when creating an ad.

If your site uses subdomains, you’ll need to claim each one separately in the same manner.

3. Create Your Ad

You could create your ad through the self-serve ad tool. But I want you to get into the habit of using Power Editor (a free Chrome plugin), so these instructions will assume you are doing it that way. If you need help with Power Editor, make sure that you read this tutorial.

Create a campaign as you typically would. See mine below as an example. This is explained in more detail in my video at the bottom of this post.

Facebook Ad Campaign

The key to setting this up will be in the Creative step. Click “I want to advertise something I have on Facebook” and then select your domain (should be at the very bottom of the drop-down selections). Then click “Sponsored Stories” and select “Domain Sponsored Story.”

Domain Sponsored Story Power Editor

From there, set up your ad as you normally would. You may want to target people most interested in your subject matter.

The Results

PageLever had reported seeing close to 10% CTR on their Domain Sponsored Story. As mentioned at the top, I’m seeing about 1% overall, and over 2% on certain days.

It will depend on how viral your content is at that time and who is sharing it. In PageLever’s example, they had great success because Sean Parker shared their article. I’m also getting between 15 and 25 cents per click. I’ll detail that more later.

Need help setting up your Domain Sponsored Story? Schedule a One-on-One Coaching session!

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  • Carlton Jefferis

    This is GOLD, Jon. Thanks for sharing. I’ve been trying to figure these out for a good few weeks. My mistake was not selecting “Something I have on Facebook” when creating the ad. I didn’t think it was something on FB! Makes sense now.

    One small point which might be worth checking out: you seem to have set up your 5 domain ads (5 different placements) all under the same campaign. I’ve been advised by Facebook ad account execs on 2 occasions that if you want to run genuine split-tests you need to set up each ad placement in a separate campaign i.e. 5 campaigns in this case. The reason being that Facebook automatically allocates ad budget and weighting to the ads in a campaign that gain early traction, therefore ignoring any ads in the same campaign that under-perform. This could explain why you’re getting 0.000% CTR on the Desktop, Desktop News Feed and Mobile News Feed ads because the success of the other 2 ads means these 3 never get to see the light of day. I could be wrong but thought I’d mention.

    Incidentally, this is similar for Google AdWords by default although you do have the ability to turn the “feature” off in AdWords. Not so with Facebook Ads.

    I’m off to check out Domain SS now. Cheers from the UK :)

    • Jon Loomer

      Thanks, Carlton! What’s crazy is that there isn’t a single DETAILED tutorial on this anywhere. PageLever’s article is as close as it gets, but I was still left empty handed. So I knew there was a need for this when I finally figured it out!

      Good point on creating separate campaigns. This is something I’ve heard before, but I’m often too lazy to execute. Those other ads have actually run at one point or another during the lifetime of the campaign, and I guess Facebook turned them off when they weren’t that successful. Since recording this, I actually went and paused all but one of the units, focusing only on the News Feed (both mobile and desktop). That ad is giving me about 13 cents per action (link click). The other ad was giving me 23 cents.

      Let me know how your ad goes!

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  • Kenneth

    This is great! Got a question though:

    Where you say “ the app or Page so that all admins can access it.”, I don’t seem to have this option – it just lists me. Am I doing something wrong?

    • Jon Loomer

      That’s strange, Kenneth. If you look at my video, I have a TON of options there. Honestly, it’s not a major deal. It just gives you access to the number of shares/likes, etc.

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  • Adam Collins

    Awesome!!! Thanks Jon!

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  • Scott Ayres

    Probably not much out about this because it’s pretty advanced in reality.

    • Jon Loomer

      And yet it’s really not that complicated, though. Anyone who has their own website and is advertising on Facebook should have the skills to do this.

  • Stephany Gregory

    Love this! Thank You

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  • Laura Wallis

    Hi John, another great tutorial. Domaine-sponsored stories on Facebook are something I would like to try so thanks for the walk- through.

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  • Eric

    I’m having a major problem setting this up unfortunately. I’m pasting the code into the header of my home page and FB won’t pick it up. Any ideas or have you heard anything?

    • Jon Loomer

      The code should go between the Head tags of the page the user will see when the conversion is successful — not on your home page. Also make sure you refresh after doing it!

      • Eric

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think you’re talking about the conversion pixel? I’m talking about the domain sponsored story code. Your article says to paste it in between the head tags, which I’ve done, but FB will not pick it up. My site is here: and you can probably see the FB:admins code in the source. I’m stumped. :(

        And FB is no help…

        • Jon Loomer

          Oh, man, sorry about that. You’re right, that’s exactly what I was talking about.

          It was pretty immediate for me. I even tried another domain, and it worked like a charm. So if you follow the instructions exactly, it *should* work.

          Sorry I can’t be more help.

        • Asif Anwar

          Eric, it’s really Facebook Insights Code not related to this ad. Facebook Insights is the Facebook version of Google Analytics. Many of us have already done it before. Your site is in WordPress. If you know how to edit your header.php files, you can put it in there or use any plugin or custom meta.

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  • Extima Web


    My ad says “pending”… how long do you think it will take to go live?

    • Asif Anwar

      :-) ads are not to be run immediately. Someone from FB team always see if the ad is in compliance to their guideline.

  • todayshospitalist

    Can you please explain the difference in the insights between clicks found under organic shares and total referral traffic to site under overview? thanks

  • Asif Anwar

    Thanks Jon, I am adding Domain Sponsored Stories in my list of “Content Marketing” services.

    SEO Changed, so our services. We do not call it “Link Building” anymore. We are calling it “Content Marketing” where Content Development, Link Building & Baiting, and Social Signals are there. So, this has to get in too. I hate the companies hosting competition encouraging fans to spam their network. I believe this will give the same utility in less spammy way.

    BTW, I think the Interface Changed. You first need to select “Sponsored Story” as Type of the Ad. And then select the Radio Box that says: About people sharing links to your domains.

  • Marie from Musicademy

    Been meaning to do this for ages. Had a go today but I’m seeing different options to you in Power Editor when creating the ad. Has this been changed since the video was filmed?

    I’m not seeing the “Something I have on Facebook” option and lots other after this stage is different. Screen clip attached. Am I doing something wrong or is this a FB change?

  • Caio Pretel

    There is some delay in the process? I’ve already set the domain in /insights but unfortunately it doesn’t appear yet. It should be seen immediately or it’s normal to be delayed? Thanks a lot

  • vuong
  • Lisa Landers

    I tried to do this, but got an error. What am I doing wrong here? Any ideas?

    No admin data found at root webpage Insights requires admin data at this root webpage for the specified URL

  • Lenny Gomez

    J – does this interfere with conversion tracking or is this seperate >

  • Nick Taylor

    Great article Jon! Quick question for you…

    Will “Likes” for a website URL be considered by facebook for a Domain Sponsored Stories? Or does it truly have to be an actual share?

    And in terms of trying to isolate Domain Sponsored Stories to specific content on your site, sub domains might be able to do the trick. In my case, where i’m running very specific campaigns I might try that out.

  • TimHoyt

    Great info. I’ve been looking for this, previously when I tried to create a Domain Sponsored Story in the ads interface, Facebook rejected in based on the fact that the domain did not have enough traffic. Of course it was a new domain for an event, so it was a catch-22

    That was like a year ago. Now with Power Editor it works well although still a confusing UI.

    One question is if these Sponsored Stories (on domain shares) affect Facebook Insights for your Domain (organic shares). As far as I can tell they do not. I got a ton of impressions with the the sponsored story, but the number did not seem to move up on the Domain Insights.

  • cat mario online

    Great advice. You work hard to attract visitors to your site, but the reality is that most of the people who visit your website don’t become customers. They probably need more time and information before they make a decision. If you can get their email address, you have another opportunity to convert them into a customer by engaging them with additional information. That’s why point 4 above is so important
    cat mario online thanks