November 27, 2014

Facebook is Trying to Make Advertising Simpler

Facebook Sponsored Stories

Facebook says it is trying to make its advertising products easier to use and more understandable for customers.

In an announcement on the official Facebook Newsroom blog last week, Fidji Simo, product manager at Facebook, wrote the company would streamline its advertising products from 27 different choices to about half that in the next six months.

The company says it decided to simplify its advertising offerings because of customer preference. In her post, Simo wrote:

Over the past year, we have been gathering feedback from marketers about our ads products. One point we heard loud and clear is that we need to simplify our product offering. As the services we provide to marketers have grown, so have our new products; while each product may be good on its own, we realized that many of them accomplish the same goals.

Though Facebook was not specific about all the advertising products likely to be eliminated, Simo did mention some that would be disappearing. And some sponsored posts associated with Facebook business pages will be affected.

Questions

One of the sponsored products scheduled to disappear is a feature called Questions. The special post offers a multiple choice question about a product or service users can respond to if they wish. But in the post, Simo said business customers would prefer to just add a question in a post and get a response in the comment section.

facebook advertising

Offer

Another kind of sponsored post set to disappear is the Offer, wrote Simo. The Offer post includes a simple product description and “get offer” button, allowing visitors to take advantage. Again, Simo said advertisers felt using an ad explaining the offer with a link to the company Web page was simpler and more effective.

facebook advertising

Sponsored Stories

Another type of ad post that will not so much be eliminated as consolidated is the sponsored story post. Up until now, Facebook advertisers have had to buy a separate product for the best “social context” on their sponsored posts. Often this includes information on friends or fans who have “liked” or “commented” on a sponsored post.

The added product is called “sponsored story” and is a separate purchase in addition to the post. From now on, however, Simo says Facebook will be eliminating the extra steps and adding social context with each ad purchased.

It’s unclear from Facebook at this time whether this means advertisers will be paying less for the additional social context in their ads or whether the cost of a sponsored ad will simply be part of the new advertising package. However, Simo claims data from sources like Nielsen and comScore show social context increases return on advertising and brand awareness.

A New Look

Changes are expected to make ads more consistent in appearance and to make the advertising process on Facebook simpler by reducing the number of potential ad formats. Below is Facebook’s vision of a more consistent ad format.

facebook advertising

Most of these changes will begin in July, Simo wrote. She was less specific about what other changes the company might be making in its advertising products and services or what cost changes, if any, might be associated with the consolidation.

Reaction from the Facebook marketing community has been fairly calm.

“It’s going to be OK, don’t panic,” wrote Laurie Cutts, Director of Marketing for Nanigans, on the company blog last week. Nanigans is a social marketing agency specializing in helping clients with Facebook advertising.

“Yes, Sponsored Stories have been a part of our lives as marketers for quite some time now,” Cutts added. “As we’ve come to learn, though, social ad units, especially on Facebook, have a shelf life. For Sponsored Stories that time has come.”

What do you think? Will these changes improve your efforts to market to customers on Facebook, make them more difficult, or have little or no effect?

More in: 7 Comments ▼

Shawn Hessinger - Editor


Shawn Hessinger Shawn Hessinger is the Editor for Small Business Trends. He is a journalist and social media networker with more than a decade of experience in the traditional newspaper business before moving to the digital world. He was the former community manager of BizSugar and the former community editor at AllAnalytics, a site dedicated to professionals in the business intelligence and analytics community.

7 Reactions

  1. Shawn,

    I often think that more choices mean less “ad blindness.” Of course, it would be simpler for advertisers, though…

  2. I think Facebook would do well to not only take a look at their advertising, but at how users are able to format posts as well. Having spent a lot of time on Google+ recently with its ease of use, comparatively Facebook is a complete joke. There is limited ability to share content in a visually appealing way. Maybe more companies and small businesses would consider using Facebook Ads if they could better craft their organic messages?

  3. In the online world success is often defined by taking something complex and making it simple. I love the changes Facebook is making.

  4. Ivan and Robert,
    Thanks for your comments. Facebook has stressed that the changes to its advertising options are the result of input from its advertisers. If so, it would seem they are a move in the right direction. I think too many choices can tend to overwhelm at times. It could also make it more difficult to measure the success of a campaign with too many variables to consider. I’m sure there are some advertisers who will miss the greater customization, but time will tell.

  5. Hi Shawn,
    Again, important news, most importantly for those who regularly use Facebook in advertising. Thanks so much for sharing this post with the BizSugar community.

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