Last month, social networking giant Facebook held its first Facebook Marketing Conference at the American Museum of Natural History in the Big Apple. There were several items on the menu, but the bulk of the focus was on a new suite of advertising products marketers can use to target their audiences on the platform.
Here’s the skinny. Facebook is rolling out five new ad formats:
1. Ads in the News Feed – This one sounds a little more than intrusive, but Facebook swears it isn’t so. The company says this content will only be displayed if a user’s friend interacts with a brand’s page. A prime example would be a friend liking or commenting on the page of their favorite company. These advertisements are officially known as “Sponsored Stories” and, according to Facebook’s tests, have a 5% to 10% higher click-through rate than standard ads.
2. Ads on the Right of the Page – Facebook calls the advertisements that currently appear on the right side of the user’s profile page Marketplace Ads. This space is set to be shared with “Premium Ads,” which will feature content from brand pages. These ads will be more advanced than the typical banner as they may consist of anything from a status update to a recent video upload.
3. Mobile Ads in the News Feed – If you think this sounds like a mobile version of the first format we went over, then you would be 100% correct. The big difference is this marking the inaugural introduction of Facebook advertisements on the mobile platform.
4. Ads at the Login Screen – This is another self explanatory product. Users will soon be greeted with paid advertisements each time they log out of Facebook. These ads are said to be much larger than what shows up in the news feed or side bar. From what I understand, they are reminiscent of the huge spots you traditionally find in glossy magazine pages.
5. Offers – With Offers, Facebook is introducing a format that allows marketers to entice their fans with exclusive discounts or promotions. When a user claims one of these offers, they are sent an email containing the physical address of the brand offering the deal – which they’ll need to redeem the offer in person. Marketers can create Facebook Offers free of charge.
Extended Advertising Reach
Facebook’s new ad formats are not new entirely – at least not most of them. Sponsored content just recently made its way to mobile, but users have been seeing it in the sidebar and news feed for months. However, each format is part of the company’s new advertising vision, an initiative powered by a tool it calls the Reach Generator.Reach Generator is a feature that gives marketers an opportunity to reach more of their fans on Facebook. According to research, the typical update is only seen by 16% of friends and fans. By reformulating posts into ads, the Reach Generator makes sponsored content appear less aggressive and in the process gives brands the opportunity to reach up to 86% of their audience. While you can’t select which of the formats you want to use, it is said to use the updates with the highest potential and guarantee more eyes on your marketing content. This new tool comes with Facebook’s premium advertising accounts.With an upcoming IPO and valuation of around $100 billion, Facebook is obviously working hard to turn advertising into a viable revenue stream. Sure worked for Google. It remains to be seen whether these new formats work for marketers and, more importantly, Facebook users.