Facebook Begins Rollout of Bigger Right-Hand Column Ads

Following the original announcement back in April of this year, Facebook is rolling out its redesigned sidebar ads as of today.

The platform says the new format gives advertisers “a more engaging creative canvas” and means users will see fewer ads.

According to a report, ads that meet the specs for the new right-hand column (RHC) format will automatically be rendered in the large format, and ads that are not eligible will render in the original smaller format. Facebook also says all new RHC ads created on or after August 1 will be subject to the 20 percent text policy, which will apply retroactively to existing RHC ads as of September 1. That’s also when Facebook will stop rendering the original smaller format ads, the report says.

In a blog post, Facebook says the redesign is part of an effort to improve ads because “advertising can – and should – be additive to people’s experiences on Facebook.”

In addition, Facebook says that with fewer ads available, it expects overall competition for ads will increase and some advertisers may see increased prices at auction.

However, increased visibility and “strong targeting features” like Custom Audiences and Partner Categories mean marketers are now better-equipped to “deliver beautiful, relevant messages that help drive key business results,” Facebook says.

Mike Proulx, executive vice president of digital and director of social media at advertising agency Hill Holliday, says that posts with images are the ones that get the most engagement.

“Facebook is clearly taking this learning into its sidebar ad unit to see if it can have similar success at thwarting off banner blindness,” he says. “If they can actually pull this off and increase click-through rates, that will attract more advertisers and translate to additional revenue for the company.”

In early tests of the new format, Facebook noted that engagement from users who saw the ads had tripled.

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