Facebook’s ad changes reviewed

Facebook has been changing their ad formats and displays quite a lot over the past few weeks. While some of the changes are minimal, others have wider implications for advertisers. With that in mind, here’s a review of the major changes Facebook has made to ads over the past few weeks.

Self-serve ads on mobile

Facebook’s intentions with mobile are clear: Monetise the hundreds of millions of users accessing the platform via mobile. Their latest ad product looks set to achieve this as they’re now allowing advertisers to run ads on the mobile platform. This is available on a self-serve basis within the Power Editor only, not the main ad platform. You can access Power Editor via the ads manager here, where you can download it via Chrome. When creating an ad, you’ll see the option to select desktop or mobile under ‘News Feed Only’ on the placements tab:

When you run your ad campaign, you can choose whether you want the same ads to run across desktop and mobile simultaneously, or run ads on mobile-only. This is a great addition by Facebook and brands that take advantage of this should consider how to alter ads to take advantage of the fact they’re being read on the go.

Sponsored Stories in the newsfeed

Facebook’s relatively new ad product, sponsored stories, has been pretty good news for advertisers and users alike. For advertisers, it’s meant that you can increase the reach of your page by bidding on social actions such as someone liking your page. For users, it means that advertising has become less promotional, and with an increased emphasis on native Facebook actions, making for a better user experience. Facebook has clearly recognised this and while previously sponsored stories were shown on the right hand side of the page, the area reserved for ads, advertisers can now place these stories directly in the newsfeed exclusively.

This will likely result in higher click through rates on ads, particularly because sponsored stories don’t really look like ads at all. This can be accessed in the Power Editor, where you can select ‘news feed’ in the placement options.

Larger display in newsfeed

As part of their wider overhaul of the newsfeed, which includes larger photos and posts, the size of ads will also now be increased. Bigger ad space will probably please advertisers, but the effect of these is that they will ultimately be more intrusive for users, so ads will have to be as ‘social’ as possible, without interrupting the feed with irrelevant, over-salesy messages.

Purchase premium inventory

This latest rollout is not yet live, but Facebook are giving advertisers the option to purchase premium ad slots within the self serve ad platform, in Power Editor. Facebook has since announced that this premium inventory will be restricted to the homepage and the newsfeed in the desktop only, not mobile. If you want to purchase ads on the logout page for example, you will need to do this through a Facebook representative, and you will likely need to have a significant ad budget to avail of this.

Combine targeting options

When Facebook introduced broad interest targeting, which allowed you to select broad categories to target by such as ‘football’ (rather than having to manually enter keywords that would determine this audience), you had to choose to target either by broad category or precise interest. Now however you can target by either, or both. This will allow for more targeted ad groups, and it’s really something Facebook should have had in from the start.

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