Commentary

Facebook Will Rank Ad Placements On Audience Network

Facebook is tightening the screws again.

Having long allowed advertisers a (relatively) large amount of leeway on how they distribute ads via its Audience Network, which enables brands to place ads on sites and apps outside the social network itself, Facebook is planning to bring more order to the system.

To that end, it’s introducing an ad-ranking system that will identify better-performing ad placements on third-party publishers and apps, the social network revealed last week.

Under the new scoring system previewed on Friday, Facebook will measure the effectiveness of individual ad locations on Web sites and apps, going beyond simple click-through rates to give greater weight to placements that actually result in consumers taking some action after the initial click.

Ad locations that perform better will eventually cost more to advertisers.

Facebook will measure the effectiveness of ad placements against performance criteria selected by advertisers, including things like the consumer volunteering an email address, asking for a sample or actually buying a product.

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The system covers all kinds of ad placements and formats, ranging from native to interstitial and beyond, focusing mostly on ads that refer visitors to advertiser Web sites.

As always with Facebook, there’s an upside and a downside for publishers, as high-impact placements will command a higher premium, while rates for low-impact inventory will probably go down. For their part advertisers should benefit from more precise control over the effectiveness of their ad buys, in exchange for shelling out more dough.

Part of the rationale for the new ranking system is that it will help identify ad placements that may produce accidental clicks on mobile devices due to formats that are difficult to navigate. This, in turn, should help bring ads on the Audience Network closer to ads appearing in Facebook’s News Feed in terms of effectiveness.

The new ranking system and prices are expected to be active by the end of year. Facebook has also issued a best practices guide to advise publishers how to produce higher-scoring ads. Publishers can consult their Advertiser Outcome Score to see where they stand.

3 comments about "Facebook Will Rank Ad Placements On Audience Network ".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, October 18, 2016 at 12:19 p.m.

    Let's think about this. So, according to FB's new metrics, a certain location generates 45% better results---actions beyond click throughs (  whatever that means )--and consequently I am charged 45% higher CPMs for my toilet paper ad in that location than I pay elsewhere. Hmmm? But does this guarantee that my ad will perform 45% better as well---even if it is a hack job about a very unappealing subject---unlike many of the ads in that location that performed so brilliantly---per FB? Indeed, will FB guarantee that my toilet paper ad will do 45% better than the norm in exchange for paying 45% more per user in this "prime location"---or is that asking too much?

  2. Carole Walker from Integrity Marketing & Media LLC replied, October 18, 2016 at 6:43 p.m.

    Ed, with your toilet paper example, the only way to accurately calculate the price of the placement would be after the results are in. That should be another fun accounting and billing game bringing the agency temptation of charging clients more for the ad placement, and perhaps now dragging creative impact into the equation.

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, October 18, 2016 at 7:32 p.m.

    My point exactly, Carole. Sales and other meaningful manifestations such as ad claim/positioning awareness, intent to buy, etc. are not merely a function of media placement even if "the location" is more compatible with the product category. Unless the results are, in some way attributed to individual brand positionning and creative execution variables, FB will have a hard time convincing every advertiser who might be interested to pay a higher CPM for a "better" or "prime" location.  Some sort of guaranteed result---which will be a real problem to define for many branding advertisers---should be part of the equation.

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