‘What is the objective of this campaign?’ should be where every Facebook advertiser should begin.
This has been the core question that has fuelled Facebook in its simplification process of their ad format offering since they announced it back in June 2013. This has evolved to encompass eliminating redundancies, through reducing the sheer number of ad formats available and providing consistency; to streamlining their targeting options and re-vamping their campaign structures.
The first of these changes was to reduce the twenty-seven ad format offering to less than half. Yet even after these efforts it was still not possible to choose one image size for all placements. While mobile and desktop News Feeds were unified advertisers still had to use another image for the ‘traditional’ Right-Hand-Side (RHS). There are and will continue to be use cases for this, for example when text is used and left illegible in the RHS placement, but for the most part it meant an extra step. Not only for the paid social team but also the creative agency.
Facebook recognised this, and on April 9, they announced that they were pushing through another change. The plan has transformed into a two pillar approach; the first of which begins today. The current seven slots in the RHS placement will be reduced but become larger. This will be a gradual roll out however, with the smaller ads still being delivered until August. It is worth noting here, that this will also start to affect any FBX activity you are running as these will also start to utilise the larger ad specs.
What does this mean?
- RHS ads will be larger.
- Users will see fewer ads on the RHS.
- The proportions of these ads will match those of News Feed so marketers can now use one image spec across all placements.
How will this affect my Facebook campaigns?
- The larger format should result in higher CTRs and engagement with your ads. Facebook has run preliminary tests where they have seen up to three times higher user engagement. Similar results were seen when they updated their Page post link ad format earlier on in the year.
- Decreased inventory will lead to a natural decrease in impressions and subsequent increased competition may lead to small increases in CPCs and an increase in CPMs. Essentially, this should bring performance metrics closer in line to what is seen in News Feed.
How can advertisers take advantage?
- Be ahead of the curve. Start uploading with the larger image specs and updating pre-existing ads as this is a gradual rollout.
- The ‘gradual’ is important here. If you start bidding with the larger ad formats sooner rather than later you may be able to take advantage of the lack of competition while other advertisers ramp up.
- Adobe Media Optimizer’s algorithms will automatically adjust to these changes when you implement them. However, there may still be a few days where performance varies. Therefore, we recommend close monitoring of the portfolio for 2–3 days as it adjusts to the new performance. If in doubt, ask your Account Management team.
Bidding strategies will have to be tweaked over the next couple of months. Keep a close eye on performance; hopefully it will be a positive one!