Today’s Burning Question: Simplifying Facebook Ads

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ADOTAS — Today we solicited responses from industry leaders to the following Burning Question: “What do you think of Facebook’s decision to simplify its ad-buying process by eliminating half of its 27 ad units?”

Here’s how they responded:

“We are very excited about Facebook’s announcement today. By simplifying their ad products, Facebook is making the ‘Path to success’ clearer for marketers. By automatically including stories, or social context, in ads whenever relevant, Facebook is improving the performance that marketers will get from their media budgets. Social context has time and again shown to improve ad recall, engagement and conversions that will ultimately achieve marketers’ goals more efficiently. With today’s announcement, Facebook Marketing is becoming easier for brands and agencies to ‘master’ and therefore Facebook is empowering more marketers to become experts and improve their results which should drive an increase in spend on the platform.” — Andrew McDermott, Spruce Media VP, Product.

“One of the cardinal rules of marketing is to sell benefits, not features. It sounds like Facebook’s doing just that, which will only help it cut through the clutter at ad agencies. Also, combining page post and marketplace ad products isn’t so far off from what Google’s recently done with shifting Adwords advertisers over to ‘enhanced campaigns’ which merged mobile and desktop campaigns into a single product marketers have to take in one piece. It simplifies the offering and also ensures demand across all parts of their network. Facebook’s move could be seen as following suit.” — Brad Flora, CEO/Co-Founder, Perfect Audience.

“Less ad unit types/options are better for all parties involved, especially on mobile when there is limited screen real estate. Consolidating these ad units will also bring more inventory to FBX (Facebook Exchange) as its difficult to have dozens of options in a programmatic marketplace vs. a few selections at scale, which are more efficient to bid on / buy.” — Howie Schwartz, CEO/Founder of Human Demand.

“In an already complex marketing world, simple is always better. This shift will help marketers focus in the right places and should improve their performance. Consumers access Facebook on mobile, spending their time on newsfeeds so trying to reach them outside of that is an ineffective use of the medium. Given how Facebook has been subtly telling advertisers to make better content, it makes you wonder why it ever had 27 different products to begin with.” — Matt Rednor, Chief Innovation Officer, MRY.

“”The decision by Facebook to make its ad-buying process simpler indicates that the old way of doing things wasn’t working. One of the biggest problems that Facebook has been confronted with was that many advertisers were not seeing a value in advertising on it. Now with this simplifying the process and also asking the advertiser why they are advertising they are moving to address the issue. Also this move helps them target smaller and medium sized businesses who often lack an advertising agency to purchase ads. The process will make it easier for those sized companies to advertise on Facebook and I anticipate that we will see more companies of that size – small and medium – now advertise on Facebook.” – David E. Johnson, CEO, Strategic Vision, LLC.

“Facebook’s decision to eliminate nearly half of their ad units through consolidation, while at the same time simplifying the buying process, makes perfect sense. Since the launch of Facebook advertising several years ago, the platform has been a sandbox of new and innovative ways for brands to connect with users. Facebook has launched more than two-dozen units, but most advertisers really only use a handful of options available. In addition, placing advertising and optimizing those ads over time is a much more cumbersome process compared to what would be a similar task on Google’s ad platform. In an effort to make the remaining ads seem less ‘ad-like,’ Facebook is standardizing many of the ad formats, as advertisers hope to increase engagement on each format. We’ll continue to see Facebook push the envelope of what an ‘ad’ can be, but at the same time they are not afraid to sunset and consolidate their own underperformers. This approach is much appreciated by our global marketing clients and the paid media team here at Covario.” — Alex Funk, director of global paid media services at Covario.

“Facebook has drastically expanded their advertising options over the last few years. There is no doubt that the multitude of ad options on Facebook right now is very fragmented and complex, even for veteran marketers. Facebook has their native ad platform with all its various targeting products and touch-points throughout the interface for promoting or ‘boosting’ different types of content. Then you have the workflow for creating campaigns, which can certainly be confusing, especially smaller brands and agencies. I think this fact has contributed to the proliferation of so many 3rd-party ad platforms that manage Facebook ad campaigns (who now need to adapt their products accordingly). Consolidating the total number of their ad products and adding more consistency to their platform is a great first step. You also now have the whole Facebook exchange (FBX) offering, which ads a whole new layer of complexity to advertising in the Facebook ecosystem. It still remains to be seen what they plan on doing with their recent acquisition of the Atlas ad server, but I would imagine it fits into a larger all-encompassing ad platform strategy, which this recent decision probably facilitates. In any event, I think this consolidation is long overdue, and they understand this fact, so it’s a step in the right direction – both for Facebook and advertisers.” — Ratko Vidakovic, Director of Marketing at SiteScout.

“On the creative side, this makes the process of buying on Facebook simpler as advertisers do not have to adjust for every ad format. Also, enabling an apples to apples comparison between Facebook and the rest of the display ecosystem gets Facebook closer to justifying their intrinsic value.” — — Pascal Bensoussan, chief strategy officer, Aggregate Knowledge.

“This seems like a smart decision by Facebook to streamline their product offering — especially in light of the success they’re having with some of their newer ad units. Specifically, their mobile app install ads have proven to be a great way to deliver highly qualified loyal downloads at a low CPI. In fact, Fiksu is seeing some conversion rates for loyal users, a core metric Fiksu focuses on in our campaigns, that are as high as 30-55%. By focusing on their best-performing ad units, Facebook can both simplify the purchasing process and deliver better results for their advertisers.” — Craig Palli, Vice President, Business Development & Client Services, Fiksu.

“This is a win-win for everyone. With a smaller product portfolio, Facebook has less complexity to manage, while at the same time, is making their customers (advertisers) happier. Customers get improved ad units that are more sophisticated and provide the type of targeting and contextual relevance that Facebook should be providing automatically — rather than having to purchase through a separate ad unit type as with sponsored stories in the past. Ad agency creative groups will appreciate not having to understand the minor nuances of so many different ad units so they can focus on the part that matters: the content of the ad. Bottom line is, the improvements in social context across the entire ad product portfolio is the biggest news, because without it, it’s much more difficult to cut through all the noise and capture consumer attention in order to achieve a brand’s social marketing objectives. ” Ken Burbary, Chief Digital Officer, Campbell Ewald.

“In what seemed to be an attempt to apply to every possible type of Facebook page, Facebook’s advertising platform had gotten increasingly confusing and cumbersome with the wide array of advertising options. By simplifying the process and offering less, Facebook is making it easier for businesses to market effectively to their audiences without wading through unnecessary options. It is interesting that they have opted to get rid of the offer option, as it seemed to be a favorite among bigger companies, but including a social aspect to all ads will be an added benefit. It seems that in the case of Facebook advertising, they are employing the “less is more” attitude, and I believe it’s a positive move that will directly benefit the advertisers.” — Nicole Piering, Social Media Manager, Parent Society.

“This change sounds promising; 27 ad formats/products, each slightly different from the next was unnecessary and – frankly – confusing. Fewer ad formats and the ability to buy media, based on campaign objectives seems like a step in the right direction to improving an advertiser’s ability to succeed on Facebook via paid ads.” — Philippe Sloan, SVP, Interactive Marketing at TargetCast tcm.

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