While there's been much consternation about Facebook's algorithm changes and moves towards becoming more of a 'pay to play' platform for advertisers, the strategy, from Facebook's perspective, is clearly working. Today, as part of an announcement ahead of Advertising Week in New York, The Social Network has noted that it now has 2.5 million active advertisers, up from two million just seven months ago.
In addition to the milestone, Facebook has announced four new ad features which they're hoping will help them on their way to reaching 3 million advertisers in 2016. And going on the numbers, that will happen, sooner rather than later.
The first announcement relates to TV, and how marketers can capitalize on the links between TV viewing behavior and Facebook use.
"TV has long been one of the best platforms for marketers to build their brands. And new Facebook-commissioned custom research conducted by Nielsen shows that boosting TV campaigns with Facebook video ads drives incremental reach, increases efficiency and improves effectiveness."
To assist brands on this front, Facebook is introducing total rating point (TRP) buying as an option for marketers. Using TRP buying, advertisers can utilize Facebook's relationships with Nielsen's Digital Ad Ratings division to verify the performance of their Facebook ads in conjunction with TV spots. The option aims to make it easier for advertisers to see the links between TV and Facebook ad performance, and capitalize on those cross-connections.
Brand Awareness Optimization
The second announcement relates to 'Brand Awareness Optimization', which will help brands better measure their brand awareness efforts.
"Brand awareness optimization is designed to help advertisers find the audiences most likely to recall their ads. It takes two primary factors into account: attention and reach. We've found that, when it comes to brand awareness, it's not just how many people you reach that matters-it's also crucial to break through and earn people's attention. By analyzing hundreds of brand campaigns we found that the longer someone spends with an ad, the more likely they are to remember what they've seen."
The new option will enable ad buyers to choose 'Brand Awareness Optimization' as a bidding option on their campaigns, enabling them to put more focus on their efforts in this regard.
Earlier this year, Facebook partnered with Nielsen to offer mobile polling to help brands better contextualize the impact of their ad campaigns. In the third element of today's announcement, Facebook is partnering with Millward Brown Digital to offer a new 'brand lift insights' polling option to enable advertisers to conduct mobile polls and better measure their campaign effectiveness.
"Conducting mobile polls for mobile campaigns allows advertisers to measure campaign effectiveness in the same place the campaign's messages are being delivered, making the measurements more representative and accurate. Polling also relies on experimental design methodology, which means marketers can clearly observe the changes in brand metrics caused by their campaigns."
While the effectiveness of polling in this manner might seem questionable, the results Facebook has seen with similar processes suggest that it'ss a valuable and informative process for brands, and can reveal some great insights to better inform campaigns.
Video in Carousel Format
The last element of today's announcement relates to carousel ads, which Facebook launched last year. Now, carousel ads will also be able to use a video component to make them a more compelling experience.
The new offering enables a more dynamic storytelling opportunity within the carousel option, and Facebook has outlined three potential use cases as part of their announcement.
- An auto dealership can use a nationally branded video for a new car model followed by regional car promotions
- A retailer can show a video promoting a new line of sportswear followed by images of featured products
- A CPG company can use a nationally branded video for a new food item, followed by images of various meal preparations
This is probably the most interesting addition, in a general sense, and it offers some great opportunities for brands to use the carousel format in a more creative way.
While each of the announcements here appeals to specific subsets within the wider Facebook advertising community, they all highlight that The Social Network is always working towards improving their ad offerings and giving marketers more options to generate response from their content.
Facebook will be outlining these and various other ad offerings at Advertising Week this week - it'll be interesting to see whether any other new products are announced as part of that process.