Recently, it seems as though when you talk or hear about Facebook it’s negative. In the media, Facebook has been the center of attention for their need to increase security and transparency across its platform. Despite the media frenzy, Facebook hasn’t lost any energy that it normally puts into improving its platform and other channels with regular updates. In fact, over the summer there have been numerous updates and changes to its algorithm that are affecting the way ads are being displayed. Here are 8 Facebook advertising updates that have been implemented in the past three months:
1. Facebook Adds New Creative Tools in App Ads Manager
If you’ve struggled with editing and adding additional creative elements to images before uploading them to the Ad Manager, you will be pleased to know that Facebook has added a new tool to its mobile app. The Ads Manager mobile app now lets users crop images, add color filters, logos, stickers, new shapes and utilize templates on their posts. You can also use a text overlay feature to add wording to your images and check to see that your design doesn’t violate the 20 percent rule. This new tool will be helpful for companies that create content on-the-go by speeding up their process and reducing the number of external tools used. Business professionals are now enabled with the power to build compelling content straight from their phones.
2. Updated Video Ad Metrics
If your company is using video ad campaigns (which they should be), then you’ve probably already noticed many of the new features rolled out. Facebook is updating their current video ad metrics to aligned better with how users watch video ads on the platform by focusing on how much total time a video is watched. Facebook was encouraged to make the changes to its platform after studying user engagement when watching videos on other social media platforms. Now, companies will be able to better track their video ad analytics across Facebook and have a more accurate sense of how much of a video a user watched. Specific changes include the ability to measure unrepeated sections compared to non-skippable ads, how many times a video is actually played and eliminating the video percentage watched and 30-second view.
3. A New Look For Mobile
Mobile users who have the Facebook app downloaded on their phones will notice updates in certain parts of the interface. One of the changes users will notice right away is the redesign of the navigation bar that shows “shortcuts” to items that they access most frequently. Examples of shortcuts could be to the user’s profile page, friend requests, and Watch, depending on how they use the app. Other changes in the mobile app include making Recommendations more easily seen and readily accessible as well as making it easier to interact with businesses from their Page. This complements a new Local feature that allows users to view local businesses in the area that they’re located. Companies should take advantage of these new features by optimizing their calls-to-action or CTAs that will send users to additional tools that will put them in touch with their businesses faster. Note that collecting more reviews will help your business to rank higher.
4. Tap to React Feature in Stories
While this feature is not available for all users, Facebook is testing out new stickers that give users the ability to “tap to react” when viewing live video story posts. The intention of this update is to increase engagement, and better understand how viewers are perceiving and viewing content. Engagement rates are crucial for businesses because they are indications that viewers are paying attention to and valuing their content.
5. Info and Ads Feature For Pages
Users can now see all of the ads a Page is running even if they are not following the Page or are considered a targeted audience member. They are also able to see the general history of a Page when they click on a CTA on an ad offer and are redirected to the landing page of the ad. It is important to recognize that this update comes after a huge wave of negative media attention focused on Facebook in an effort to help make social media more transparent for the user. This new layer of added clarity helps users to find discrepancies in different ads a company may be running. Businesses can use this update to research their competitors and make adjustments to their own offers and campaigns by uncovering pain points that aren't being addressed. There are limitations to this feature as the social proof and past Page ads aren’t shown.
6. Facebook Test Augmented Reality Ads
This past May, Facebook announced that they will be testing out augmented reality advertisements in Messenger with select brands that include Michael Kors, Wayfair and Pottery Barn. In July, Facebook came back with another announcement that a similar feature will be showing up in user’s feeds. The hope is that more brands will be able given access to this tool so that they can take advantage of this new advertising conversion tactic throughout the remaining year. Some brands that do have access to this feature are running ads that let customers virtually “try on” products, such as sunglasses and lipstick colors using Facebook’s built-in app camera. Augmented reality is a dynamic new avenue of advertising that will likely attract and retain customers, making the Facebook Advertising platform more competitive and effective.
7. Enforcement of New Customer Audience Targeting Requirements
Beginning in July, Facebook is enforcing new requirements about how companies are able to target customer audiences that are built from customer files. The significance of this update is that if companies are sharing customer information through partnership (think a small agency hiring an advertising firm to help run their campaigns), they are required to set up an audience-sharing relationship through the Business Manager and agree to Facebook Custom Audience terms. Additionally, advertisers are now required to specify the origination of their audience’s information every time they upload a customer file in order for Facebook to better monitor and flag brands who don’t have permission to use specific customer information. When Facebook users see the “why am I seeing this ad prompt” and click on it, they’ll be given specific reasons why they are being shown the ad and how the advertiser got their information.
8. Audience Network Releases In-App Bidding
Facebook’s Audience Network is now supporting in-app bidding for advertising. What this means is that ad networks will be able to compete in real-time against one another for available ad impressions. The purpose of this new feature is to establish a fairer marketplace for ads that publishers and developers create. In the past, top ad placement would go to the user that has the highest average CPMs instead of the user who put the most budget towards the specific ad. Since Facebook users want more free content and fewer ads, this incentivizes businesses to maximize the value of their ads. What this also might mean is that some companies might need to spend more budget on CPMs (the average cost per impressions) or CPCs (the average cost per click) in order to get the placement that is desired.
Facebook’s been busy this summer working hard to improve not only its reputation with the public but also the effectiveness of its platform for all users. It’ll be interesting to see which of these changes will be adopted by companies more quickly than others. How will you use these new tools to enhance your businesses’ and client’s bottom line?