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.

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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!