Facebook To Eliminate Half Of Ad Units

With its confusing array of ad options, similar formats and generically named ad products, Facebook has never been known as an easy place to advertise. To address that issue, the social network on Thursday said it planned to simplify its offerings by reducing its 27 ad formats to half that number in the next six months.

Facebook said the move comes as a result of feedback it’s heard from marketers about its ads to streamline its products. "While each product may be good on its own, we realized that many of them accomplish the same goals,” stated a blog post today by product manager Fidji Simo.

One of the immediate goals is to eliminate ad units that accomplish the same goals. That includes removing its Offers ads starting in July because Facebook said marketers have founding using a Page Post link ad is a better way to drive people to deals on their Web sites. It will also kill the Questions product for brands with Facebook Pages since “marketers can simply ask a question in a post and get answers in return.”

Separately, this fall Facebook plans to incorporate the endorsements from friends found in Sponsored Stories ads into other ad units to simplify buys. “In the future, for example, when you create a Page post photo ad, we will automatically add social context to boost performance and eliminate the extra step of creating Sponsored Stories,” the company explained.

That doesn’t mean it’s doing away with Sponsored Stories, but that now advertisers don’t necessarily “have to choose between adding social context to ads or running separate Sponsored Stories,” according to a Facebook spokesperson.

Starting later this month, Facebook also plans to make ads look more consistent by reducing the number of formats. It didn’t specify which formats would be phased out, but a spokesperson said one result would be that ads in the right-hand column of pages would look more like those appearing in the news feed.

“A consistent look and feel to our ads will also be a better overall experience for people on Facebook,” stated Facebook’s blog. That step also underscores the growing importance of mobile advertising for the company, which now makes up nearly a third of its total ad revenue.

Top Facebook ad partners, including Nanigans, SocialCode and Spruce Media, welcomed Facebook’s efforts to consolidate its ad options and improve the ad-buying process.

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