When marketers look to start a new campaign on Facebook, do they think about the type of ad units they want to buy, or the objectives they want to achieve with those ads?
Facebook is banking on the latter, having just redesigned its ad buying and reporting tools to deliver what it calls "objective-based ad buying and reporting."
The ad buying process on Facebook now begins with a list of eight defined objectives. This means marketers will effectively no longer be picking the Facebook ad unit(s) of their choice without first addressing the task at hand.
"Regardless of where marketers advertise, where they spend their money, they're focused on the same objectives," says Elisabeth Diana, advertising communications manager at Facebook. While Facebook was doing a good job offering a menu of ad units, she tells ClickZ, "we felt that we should flip it and make it about what you want to achieve."
The process of streamlining Facebook's various ad units, and killing off those deemed redundant or ineffective, began in earnest over the summer.
The updates to Facebook's ads create tool, power editor and API are the next step in the company's ongoing quest to simplify and optimize the ad buying and reporting experience.
"We've been working on making Facebook ads easier and more intuitive to use," Jackie Pimentel, product marketing manager at Facebook, says in a video highlighting the changes. "Now you can simply just tell us what you want to do with your Facebook ads and we'll help make sure you've set your ads up to drive towards this objective. We'll also highlight the performance of these ads so you can see the impact they've had on your business."
Facebook implemented these changes after extensive research with brands of all types, sizes and marketing objectives. The company concluded that most businesses would indeed benefit from automated recommendations for the right type of ad and bid or media-placement scheme to achieve their desired results.
"We heard loud and clear that we need to make things easier to buy and measure," Diana tells ClickZ.
Most marketers don't want to choose an ad unit when they begin creating a new campaign, says Facebook; they want to meet an objective. Facebook narrowed a list of the most popular objectives down to eight distinct purposes that now serve as the starting point for buying ads on the platform:
Once a marketer selects its stated objectives and creates the ad content, Facebook will recommend the most appropriate ad type for that intended target. Facebook now gives advertisers the ability to place their ads in the mobile or desktop news feeds and/or on the right-hand column, but will also continue to automatically place ads where they see the highest performance.
Advertisers will see previews of their ad and an improved visual representation of where those ads will appear before green-lighting a new campaign.
While Facebook already provides advertisers with a wide array of reporting metrics that can be tied to specific objectives, the company has updated its ads manager tool to map those results directly to the objective chosen at the time of creation.
Rob Jewell of Spruce Media, authors of a quarterly State of Facebook Advertising Report, tells ClickZ, "As you can see, the list of marketing objectives available to marketers on Facebook is pretty comprehensive. I expect this will catch the eyes of two types of marketers: those who have wanted to do some of these objectives on Facebook but didn't know how, and those who didn't realize that Facebook was a good platform for those objectives."
These updates should help accelerate the growth of Facebook's 1mm+ advertiser base, Jewell says. He also sees great benefit in Facebook simplifying the ad creation and management process for smaller advertisers.
"Facebook has to balance giving marketers lots of powerful options and keeping their ad interfaces simple. They seem to be gearing their ad interfaces towards small to medium size businesses, who need simple tools (vs lots of powerful options)," Jewell tells us. "This is a big improvement on lowering the barrier to entry for Facebook's smaller advertiser prospects."
According to Facebook, the "ads manager will now show the objective, the number of times the objective was met, and the cost per stated objective."
Last Week to Save on SES London Tickets!
SES London takes place February 10-13, 2014. Learn to engage customers and increase ROI by distributing your online marketing efforts across paid, owned & earned media. Join the leaders of today's digital marketing & advertising industry. Find out more ››
*Saver Rates expire this Friday, Dec 13.
Matt Kapko has been writing about mobile since 2006, before it became cool. Based in Long Beach, CA, he has covered mobile entertainment, digital media, marketing, and advertising for several business media outlets. A former editor and reporter for RCR Wireless News, paidContent, and iMedia Connection, Matt is a regular freelance reporter for ClickZ. You can follow Matt on Twitter at @MattKapko or drop him a line at email@example.com.