Facebook is reducing its number of ad units by half, as the social network looks to encourage more advertisers to the site with a simpler format range, tailored to key marketing objectives.
In the next six months, Facebook will take the number of total ad units from 27 to fewer than half of that.
The social network said it aims to target all ad formats to the business objectives ‘marketers care about’, such as store sales, online conversions, or app installs.
Facebook said the streamlined system would not affect pricing on its ads, but would not comment when asked how the changes could affect overall revenue.
The move means that marketers will no longer be asked to choose from a list of 27 different ad units.
Instead, marketers will pick from six or seven objectives, such as driving foot traffic to a real-world store or generating “likes” for a company’s page.
For example, ‘offers’ ads for product discount coupons will no longer be a separate category for online merchants. Instead, a general ad unit will include the link for a coupon.
Not all options are changing however. Retailers with brick and mortar stores will still have a separate “offers” ad unit, and marketers will still be able to select ads that run only on mobile devices or on PCs.
Announcing the plans at a company event, Fidji Simo, a Facebook product manager for ads, said: “What we realised is that even though every ad product is really good on its own, the whole is less than the sum of its parts. It should really be simpler.”
‘Three key goals’
Facebook listed three key factors to accomplish this goal (republished below):
Eliminate redundancies: We noticed that many ad units accomplish the same goals, so we’re cutting out these redundancies such as removing Questions product for Pages and the online Offer product. We’re going to start making these changes in July.
Include the best of sponsored stories in all ads: When you create a Page post photo ad, we will automatically add social context and eliminate that extra step of creating sponsored stories. We believe social enhances ad resonance; people are influenced by this type of word-of-mouth marketing. These changes will happen in the fall.
Make ad units look more consistent: Creating consistency among ad units will reduce the number of ad formats and make the ad creation process much simpler for advertisers who run multiple campaigns or want to test which ad creative performs the best. Ultimately, this helps advertisers optimize their campaigns across desktop and mobile and a consistent look and feel to our ads give users an overall better experience. These changes will start happening in late June.
Advertising accounts for 85 percent of Facebook’s revenue, and it is trying to reinvigorate revenue growth following a sharp slowdown early last year.
With consumers increasingly accessing Facebook on smartphones and tablets, the social network has recently rolled out several new types of ad formats suited to small mobile screens.
Facebook has also begun letting advertisers show ads based on users’ Web browsing history and has introduced tools that allow marketers to better measure ad effectiveness.
The company is widely expected to introduce video ads this year, but it made no mention of them at the event on Thursday.
Facebook shares have fallen about 15 percent so far this year, compared with the Dow Jones industrial average’s 14 percent rise.
Read the official announcement here