Facebook testing two new ad formats, plus other news

It’s been a busy start to 2017 for the guys over at Facebook advertising as the social giant looks to continue its incredible growth. It’s shaping up as an important year for all the big names in paid ads and we’re expecting plenty of announcements over the next 12 months.

So let’s start with a roundup of all the key news in Facebook advertising from January to make sure everyone’s up to speed.

Ads finally make their way to Facebook Messenger

After endless talk and debate about the prospect of ads in Facebook Messenger, the network has finally started testing ads on the messaging app. Australia and Thailand have been singled out as the testing grounds for what’s being called ‘Sponsored Messages’ and here’s a glimpse of what ads in Messenger could look like.

Source: https://messengerblog.com/general-messenger/testing-ads-in-messenger/ Ads in Messenger
Source: https://messengerblog.com/general-messenger/testing-ads-in-messenger/

Facebook says one billion messages are already sent between people and businesses on Messenger each month, which makes the prospect of ads in the application sound very promising. Here’s what Facebook had to say about the new ad format in a recent announcement:

“This means that a business is able to place an ad in an area of Messenger below your recent conversations, similar to how we surface birthday notifications or where we let you know if a friend is currently active on Messenger. No one will see an ad in a conversation without clicking on an ad experience on the Messenger home screen or starting a conversation with a brand – these test ads won’t originate in your conversations.” Messenger Blog

That’s about all we know at this stage, but stay tuned for more information on Messenger ads as we bring in further updates.

Facebook testing ‘mid-roll’ video ads

It seems Facebook is ready to cash in on its video content prowess, following reports that it’s testing ‘mid-roll’ ads that play part of the way through videos. According to Recode, the ads will run after viewers have watched at least 20 seconds of a video clip on the network and only during videos that are at least 90 seconds long in total.

If this is true, it marks a serious show of intent from Facebook and Google will surely be watching closely. It will be interesting to see how the implementation works out in testing because interrupting video views half-way through is a difficult act to pull off. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has reportedly ruled out the possibility of ads running before videos start playing, despite rumours in 2016 to the contrary.

There are obvious concerns for users and video publishers that the ads could hurt views, engagement and conversions, of course – which Facebook will need to address. Video publishers will need to create more compelling clips with these ads in mind but rest assured that Facebook is rumoured to be offering them 55% of the revenue from the ads.

More measurement updates

Facebook enjoyed a great 2016 but there were a few blips along the way regarding metrics and how it measures them. The network openly admitted to a number of miscalculations on specific metrics and was quick to rectify its errors, but it’s clearly working hard to improve on things further.

Facebook’s latest measurement updates include something called the marketing mix modelling portal, which aims to help you compare your Facebook ads to TV, print and other advertising formats. While Facebook is also expanding its relationships with third-party firms like comScore and Nielson to bring richer metrics and cross-platform ads.

Those are the big stories coming out of Facebook advertising for the first month in 2017. We’re sure there’ll be plenty more to come so look out for our future posts and social updates as we keep you up to date with the latest development in digital marketing.

More Facebook-related content

How to increase brand awareness with Facebook advertising

How Facebook marketing will look in 2017

Andy King profile picture
Andy King

Andy is a PPC specialist at Vertical Leap and has worked in marketing since 2012. He manages PPC projects from strategy through to implementation and management, using multiple platforms including Google Ads, Bing Ads, YouTube, Twitter, Gmail, Facebook/Instagram, LinkedIn and Amazon Ads.

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