Since its IPO, Facebook has been regularly rolling out updates for advertisers. As Facebook has continued to expand its advertising offerings, the options for marketers have become increasingly complicated. With 27 ad unit offerings, many of which overlap, marketers are left confused as to the Facebook strategy that will be optimal and result in maximum ROI. Turns out there can be too much of a good thing.
Facebook has recognized that its time to slim down its suite of ad products. The Social Network is looking to simplify the process for marketers and streamline everything from ad units to design specs.
It’s critical for Facebook to continue to iterate and enhance their ad products; it’s been one of the core reasons behind their success to date in developing such a relevant ad ecosystem for end users.
Laura OShaughnessy, CEO of SocialCode, shares her support:
We’re pleased to see the continued evolution of Facebooks advertising offerings to best align with brands overall marketing goals.
Sponsored Stories Get the Ax
Sponsored Stories were first introduced to provide advertisers with a social engagement layer on top of their ads. When combined with advertisements, Sponsored Stories gave advertisers the opportunity to capitalize on social context and interaction within Facebook. A sponsored story is a paid post coming from friends about their engagement with a Page or Brand. The Page or Brand pays to highlight those likes and comments in order to expand their reach to friends of friends of friends.
With the Facebook slimdown, Sponsored Stories will no longer be a standalone product offering. Instead, social context will automatically be included with ads to boost performance and eliminate the extra step of creating sponsored stories. Facebook realizes that advertisers are on the platform for social context, and that this should be easily incorporated into any Facebook ad campaign for maximum effectiveness.
Sponsored Stories are not the only feature on the chopping block. Questions and Offers will also be removed as standalone products as they dont accomplish anything a Page post cant handle. Marketers can ask a question in a Page post and get comments, or post an Offer link in a post to drive traffic to their site. Facebook expects to start eliminating these redundancies in July.
As marketers work to reach the increasingly connected consumer across channels, Facebook wants to simplify the ad creation process for all ad formats, across mobile and desktop. The social network will offer ads with a consistent look and feel, regardless of channel. The benefit here is twofold — the user experience will be improved with more streamlined ads and advertisers will be able to optimize their campaigns across channels with ease.
Currently, Facebooks complex offerings leave marketers unsure of what to select. The greater the confusion surrounding the ad unit offerings, the greater the chance marketers choose incorrectly, and become frustrated with low performing campaigns. Facebook wants to eliminate that confusion. High performing campaigns result in happy marketers who will become loyal Facebook advertisers.
Facebook plans to tailor ad campaign set-up to a marketers needs. You wont have to worry about whether or not youre making the optimal choice. Instead, Facebook will ask you what your objectives are and then suggest the ad units that are best suited to your goals.
The Facebook Exchange, FBX, is Facebooks real-time bidding platform. This platform brought retargeting to the social network and has proven to be a service with impressive results. What advertising on the Facebook Exchange allows you to do is stay in front of users who have already expressed interest in your brand. Using FBX, you can target based on previous site visits, a valuable insight to ensure you reach the right audience, or you can use Facebooks traditional demographic info with Facebook Marketplace ads.
When first offered, FBX ad placements were restricted to the right rail. Just last month, however, Facebook began testing FBX ad placements in the News Feed in what AdWeek describes as, matching up what is arguably Facebook’s most valuable ad offering with its most valuable real estate. As expected, performance in the News Feed has been very high. In an early study conducted by Nanigans, ads delivered in the News Feed resulted in a 19.73% increase in ROI on average as compared with ads delivered on the right rail.
As Facebook works to improve the advertiser experience, marketers who do not take advantage of the unparalleled reach and targeting options will surely be missing out on an incredible opportunity. With streamlined ad units and the ability to reach users in the News Feed and the right rail, on mobile and desktop, we have to wonder what this will do for the user experience. If the ads do not wholly interrupt the user experience, we can expect that Facebook will remain the worlds most popular social network, and an immensely profitable channel for advertisers.