Facebook Updates Self-Serve Ad Tool
Facebook in May launched a revamped version of its self-serve ad creation tool aimed at streamlining the process and helping advertisers to optimize campaigns based on their marketing goals. It also made it easier to track a performance according to specific metrics, such as page likes and claimed offers. On Thursday, the company said it had begun testing an updated design for the self-serve ad tool to further simplify ad creation and set clear objectives.
The refreshed layout makes the options for campaign goals, such as "get more Page likes," "promote Page posts," or more advanced choices like bidding on cost-per-click (CPC) basis, more prominent. Facebook will recommend a combination of standard display ads and Sponsored Stories that are best suited to achieve a stated objective, such as "get more Page likes" or "promote Page posts."
Sponsored Stories are organic posts that a marketer pays to highlight and can appear in the news feed, as opposed to the marketplace ads showing up on the right side of the page. "We have seen that ads + sponsored stories, when combined, provide the most impact for advertisers. This is because ads can help people connect to Pages, and once they connect, sponsored stories can drive the distribution of those connections to more people,” stated the company's announcement today.
A study conducted earlier this year by Marin Software found that the introduction of Sponsored Stories boosted overall ad performance on the site, increasing click-through rates and costs-per-click as well as CPMs. Facebook executives also talked up Sponsored Stories during the company's earnings conference call last month, noting that the format performs “multiple times” better than ads in the right-hand column. They are also more expensive.
The latest changes to the ad creation service are in line with Facebook's goal of making it easier for small and medium-sized businesses to advertise on the site, which Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg emphasized on the conference call. Ric Calvillo, co-founder and CEO of Nanigans, which specializes in Facebook advertising, said the update to the self-serve ad system would help small and medium-sized businesses determine the right mix of Facebook Ad types to help them reach campaign goals.
That doesn't mean agencies don't stand to benefit from the redesign as well. "Brands still have the power they always had with advanced targeting options. The whole process has just been simplified and designed so that even novices have a good chance of success," said Beth McCabe, VP, group director, social marketing and technology, at Digitas. Facebook noted that the new features reflect only a front-end design for the self-serve ad tool, rather than any underlying changes to its Ads API (application protocol interface).