Facebook To Streamline Ad Units, Focus On Advertiser Objectives

facebook-logo-newConfused about whether to use a Page Post link ad or a Sponsored Story on Facebook? If so, you’re not alone. With nearly 30 types of different ads, Facebook said today it plans to dramatically simplify advertising on the site with an emphasis on advertiser objectives rather than ad units and categories.

At a Facebook “whiteboard” session today, Brian Boland, Director of Product Marketing, and Fidji Simo, Ads Product Manager for Facebook, offered a conceptual roadmap and rationale for the ad simplification that is rolling out in Q3 or early Q4 of this year.

It doesn’t appear that all decisions behind the scenes have been made; but, the big picture is to better map ad units to marketer objectives — such as driving traffic to a website or into a store or getting a user to download a mobile app. Rather than adding multiple images and creatives for multiple ad types, Facebook envisions that marketers will be able to upload a single image or ad copy, and that can be deployed across units and platforms by Facebook.

Facebook ad unit changes

Facebook’s Boland began the session by recounting several case studies and success stories, many of which have previously been exposed. In discussing a new Lysol product rollout targeting 25 to 54 year old moms, Boland reported that it was 3X more effective than TV and drove a 2X return on ad spend. There were a number of other such examples.

Facebook wanted to eliminate the confusion, friction and “silos” that have grown as the company has introduced new and more ad units. Boland emphasized that brand advertisers and SMBs alike want simpler options. He said that brands want reach, audience targeting and the ability to measure results and to not have to worry about Page Posts vs. Sponsored Stories vs. Offer Ads.

Many of the specific ad categories will go away, though the functionality or capabilities of those ads will remain. The image above shows the merger of three ad types into one with all their combined capabilities and features.

I was led to think about Google’s Enhanced Campaigns, one objective of which is simplification, as well. Unlike Enhanced Campaigns, Facebook will allow advertisers to target mobile or PC users exclusively. But, the idea of rendering and optimizing ads across platforms in a way that requires less work in the part of the marketer is common to both.

Facebook says that marketers will be able to specify their objectives, and the best performing  ad units will be recommended for those objectives. Nothing about pricing or the auction will change.

These moves, although not fully worked out, make a lot of sense. By reducing a lengthy and confusing list of options and consolidating their best performing elements Facebook removes friction from the process — and in the process probably generates more revenue.

Related Topics: Channel: Social Media Marketing | Facebook | Facebook: Advertising | Facebook: Business Issues | Top News

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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