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In June, we reported that Facebook intended to simplify their ad offerings, to make it easier for advertisers to understand their ad products and buy ads that deliver results. The social network outlined three pillars of simplification: 1) eliminate redundancies 2) provide consistency across ad units and 3) include the best elements of sponsored stories in all ads.
In the past few months, Facebook has made significant progress in reducing redundancies: they have removed a number of their ad formats including online offers, sponsored results and question ads.
Today Facebook has taken this a step further by announcing improvements to drive more consistency and better performance across their ad units. Their latest Ads & Sponsored Stories Guide includes all of the details about the updated ad formats which will be fully available by September 10, 2013. These improvements will immensely benefit Facebook performance advertisers. Here are some of the highlights.
When it comes to ad creative, size matters. Time and time again, the results have shown that larger, high-quality images drive more engagement and better performance. Facebook is expanding the size of the images for many of their ad units to provide advertisers with a bigger canvas to show their brand or products. For example, Page post link ads now feature 3.5x bigger images than the existing design on desktop, and clicks on the entire image and text box will now lead directly to an external website. These ad units are effective for lead generation and direct response campaigns and this new design is optimized to drive better results. A recent Nanigans study showed that Page post link ad in News Feed delivered a 53% return on investment. Detailed information on image sizes for all of the ad units can be found in the updated Facebook Ads & Sponsored Stories Guide.
When creating ads for desktop and mobile, Facebook advertisers had difficulty understanding how a specific ad would look when delivered in various placements across devices. Because the aspect ratios of the desktop images and mobile images were not aligned, ads would not always appear optimized. To streamline creative executions across channels, Facebook redesigned their ads so that the images have the same aspect ratio across both desktop and mobile News Feed placements. So for example, an image for an offers ad delivered in the mobile News Feed will match the ad images in the desktop News Feed. Now advertisers will no longer have to create two different News Feed campaigns–one for desktop and one for mobile—to optimize their ad creative.
As with other marketing channels, consistency in ad features and formats across ad units makes media buying simpler. Facebook has made adjustments to reduce the complexity of their ad features many of which are detailed in their new guide. Some examples include the standardization of text truncation rules, clear recommendations for images sizes and character counts and more details on how much additional content is pulled into an ad. They’ve also eliminated discrepancies between Page post link ads and domain ads on the right hand side. Advertisers traditionally leveraged both of these units for direct response, driving customers to their websites, however, to date Page post link ads have performed better in News Feed than domain ads on the right hand rail. Facebook has aligned the design for Page post link ads and domain ads so advertisers can now create a single ad to drive people offsite. Advertisers can now get the best of both placements in one ad unit.
This fall Page post ads will include the best of Sponsored Stories. This means that Page Post Like Sponsored Stories, Page Post Comment Sponsored Stories and Page Posts will be combined in an effort to improve the social context. When a user story is created from a Page post, the story will appear on the Page post. This is expected to produce a higher engagement rate since the social context of the Page post ad will be improved.
Facebook is making it as easy as possible for advertisers to create, target, personalize and distribute their messages the way that they want. These latest updates will be especially helpful for direct response advertisers because it will make it easier for campaign managers who already deal with a large variety of ad channels.
Interested in learning more about performance marketing on Facebook? Download our eBook 5 Essential Tips for Managing Facebook Campaigns at Scale.