Say goodbye to these 17 ad formats on Facebook

Facebook has revealed that it would be discontinuing 17 ad formats which are rarely used and not “closely tied” to advertiser objectives. This is to better help advertisers drive business outcomes while providing consumers with more engaging experiences.

All affected ad formats will be removed by 15 September 2017. Meanwhile, existing campaigns using retired formats should shift to supported ad types by 29 September 2017 or have its delivery paused. In a post detailing the move, Facebook said the change allows it to improve and expand its most effective advertising products, and help advertisers better identify solutions which reach their goals.

Prior to the move, businesses were able to boost any Page post type, including notes, life events, anniversaries and even relationship status updates. The Facebook Business post read:

However, advertisers rarely promoted these post types, and when they did, results were not as strong as results with our more popular ad formats.

Here are the 17 ad formats which are being canned:

  • Boosting share of products from shops
  • Boosting the share of a story about a for-sale post
  • Boosting a check-in on a map, at a restaurant, or in a city
  • Boosting the share of a note
  • Boosting the share of a poll
  • Boosting place recommendations
  • Boosting the share of cultural moments
  • Boosting the share of comments
  • Boosting change of a Profile picture
  • Boosting a file upload or share
  • Boosting a sports event
  • Boosting of a video or image uploaded through the Facebook camera
  • Boosting of attendance for an event
  • Boosting the share of a video playlist
  • Boosting the status of watching a television show, movie, or other types of programming
  • Boosting a post from an app posted to a Page's timeline
  • Boosting a political endorsement

In a conversation with Marketing, Esther Brigitta, regional media manager at DigitasLBi, said the move is not one which is new for the social media giant, as Facebook constantly reviews its ad format effectiveness through testing from various advertisers.

“Every quarter, Facebook will remove certain ad formats that are ineffective in driving certain marketing objectives, and introduce new ones. This is a commitment that Facebook has to advertisers to continue being relevant and up-to-date in the industry,” Brigitta said.

Agreeing with her was Preetham Venkky, director at KRDS Singapore, who added that the move will make the interface simpler for advertisers when it comes to running their ad campaigns.

This comes as Facebook makes strides to improve the user experience significantly. For example, call to action on the platform is stronger and headlines on stories are being highlighted better, Venkky said. It is experimenting for better usability and conversion. In a bid to improve measurement capabilities – Facebook has also stopped counting accidental ad clicks on its platform to ensure a better measure of engagement, Venkky added.

The move also signals Facebook’s shift away from status updates and more towards storytelling. This is because most of the ad formats being discontinued have to do with Facebook’s 'status update' structure.

Not only will this allow brands to better focus on telling stories, it will also allow them to align with consumers more effectively. The era of status updates is over, and the move shows Facebook’s focus in creating better user experiences for both consumers and advertisers.

Also weighing in on the topic is Andrew Stephens, CEO, Ambient Digital Group, who not only views this as a natural progression for Facebook, but also a step in the right direction.

“This positive 'housekeeping' move will decidedly help consumers in limiting the clutter of advertisements on Facebook, and ensure that advertisers make their ads stand out,” Stephens explained.

Meanwhile, Rika Sharma, general manager and head of Social@Ogilvy Singapore, said such a move will allow Facebook to concentrate and improve the most effective ad formats.

This looks like an attempt to streamline its offering to advertisers and set its internal priorities.

Furthermore, by removing the ability to boost videos and photos uploaded through the Facebook camera, Facebook is shifting marketers to use Ads Manager, which provides better opportunities to drive business objectives, Sharma said.

For Abhishek Bhattacharjee, chief digital officer at IPG Mediabrands Malaysia, the move is seen as a positive one as it is more brand performance focused.

“Aside from low advertiser traction, the streamlining exercise also could have also served to reduce formats which led to wrongful and biased use of Facebook. This is another way of capping the exposure of such formats which could potentially be inappropriate,” Bhattacharjee said.

It also gives Facebook an opportunity to focus on formats which have been doing well for brands. Thus, Bhattacharjee anticipates that the near future would see more enhancements from Facebook on these existing "star formats". With the depth of data and insights Facebook has, active strides in hyper personalisation and deeper campaign insight generation and attribution can also be expected.

New ad formats to come?

The elimination of these ad formats can also make way for newer offerings for advertisers. According to Venkky, Facebook will now be in a better position to introduce new formats which can allow advertisers to better measure business results and outcomes.

“Facebook might also look at features which can determine a campaign’s impact on-ground in real life, and online,” Venkky explained.

For Brigitta, some ad formats which can be introduced in the future include augmented reality-enabled formats, bespoke live video ad formats and interactive messaging ad formats. Meanwhile, Sharma is of the view that more options to reach larger audiences through Facebook Stories should be expected. This will be coupled with continuous improvement to ad formats on Messenger.

In addition, IPG’s Bhattacharjee is of the view that advertisers can expect more direct response-generating formats. This will allow for deeper data insights and attribution, and leverages people-based measurement for cross-device and cross-platform target.

“So while, it is always sad to see some formats expire, we believe there will be much more reason to rejoice for in the future,” Bhattacharjee said.