Have you ever wanted to try out Facebook ad options like Carousels and Canvas but thought they look a little bit too complicated and are probably beyond your technical capacity? Or maybe you've considered experimenting with new ad formats but weren't sure of how, exactly, you might be able to do it, in terms of creative execution.
Lucky for you, Facebook has a solution. Back in June, as part of the Cannes Lions Festival, Facebook announced the launch of their new Creative Hub initiative for agencies.
As described by Facebook:
"[Creative Hub is] a sandbox where agencies can play with different ad formats for online and mobile and experiment with what works best. Most ad creation happens on desktop but is experienced on mobile. The Creative Hub gives ad creators an easy way to preview their work in a dynamic mobile feed. They can also share these mock-ups with stakeholders through a preview URL. The Creative Hub will also provide inspiration with an easy-to-navigate repository of case studies and great content."
Sounds pretty cool, right? But it was only for agencies, everyday advertisers had no access.
This week, Facebook has announced that Creative Hub is now open "to the entire global advertising and marketing community". And as outlined above, it is a pretty handy and helpful tool.
Here's how it works.
When you first visit Creative Hub, you're greeted with this home page.
As you can see, in the top right of screen there are three main segments - "Get Inspired", "View Formats" and "Create Mock-Up". The sections are pretty self-explanatory - first off, "Get Inspired" is essentially an inspiration gallery, highlighting some of the best examples of the various Facebook ad formats.
Using the options on the left of screen, you can view all the examples available, or you can narrow them down to specific ad types - for example, click on "Canvas" and you'll get a listing of some of the ways brands have used Canvas ads to great effect. You can also click on any of the examples for more info.
What's more, as you can see in the options below the description, you can go directly from these examples to creating your own mock-up - a great innovation in itself (more below) - or you can send it to your mobile to see what it looks like in the live environment.
When you choose this option, Facebook immediately sends the example to your phone via the Facebook app - when you open the app, you'll get a notification which enables you to view and interact with the ad as you would if it were live.
It's a great way to get a better idea of the actual layout and format - you can also send a direct link to the example from Creative Hub so you can share it with others.
In "View Formats", you can look through the various Facebook ad types, which all come with little tips to help you maximize each (including Instagram ads).
But it's the mock-up system that's probably the most interesting element. After you've browsed through the various examples and you're feeling inspired, you can click on the "Create Mockup" option to try them out with your own content to see how your potential ads might look.
The process is fairly simple - once you've found an ad type you want to try out, you click on "Create Mockup" and you're taken through a similar process as you would for actually creating an ad in your chosen format.
Once you've created your sample ad, you can check that it meets Facebook's guidelines, send a link to enable others to check out your sample, send it to your mobile to see how it'll look in the live environment (only visible by you) or save it for later.
Sample on mobile:
You can also see how your ads will look on News Feed or in Instagram.
I've only used a simple Carousel here to demonstrate, but you can try out any ad format. This could be particularly helpful for those who've been considering newer options like Canvas but have felt like it's a bit beyond their capacity. With the ability to test out the format and experiment with what's possible, you might just be able to come up with a new way to market your brand using the latest ad options.
The sharing options within Creative Hub is also make it easy to share ideas with stakeholders and collaborate with colleagues, which could also help boost the performance of your Facebook ads by getting expanded feedback during the process. Of course, getting everyone's feedback could also make it more complex, but it's an option either way - the tools are there for you to test and try out different ideas and see what people think before you considering putting money behind them.
It's an interesting initiative - it's not ground-breaking, you've always been able to put an ad together in Ads Manager to try out your options before committing. But the added sampling and sharing tools, along with the noted examples, definitely add something more to the process, and could help get your creative juices flowing as you go about your Facebook ad process.