Practical Ecommerce

Changes to Facebook Pages, News Feed, Ads Affect Merchants

If there is one constant with Facebook, it’s change. Once again, the social network has made changes to Pages, News Feed, and ads that directly affect marketing efforts.

Facebook Pages

Just this week, Facebook changed the look of Pages on the desktop version to make them more streamlined and easier for people to find information they want. Page administrators will be able to access their most often used tools more easily, as well. The new layout is not yet available on all Pages, but will be in due course, according to Facebook.

There are four basic changes.

  • Single column page posts. Page posts will now reside in a single right-hand column, which is an adjustment both Facebook users and Page admins will doubtless appreciate. The current two-column format, which requires users to segue back and forth across the page, is cumbersome and makes finding information more difficult, especially to follow status updates in chronological order.
Single-column posts

Single-column posts are easier to follow chronologically.

  • Left-hand column. The left column features information about the business, including a map, hours of operation, phone number, and website URL, as well as photos and videos.
Left-hand column.

The left column features information about the business.

  • New admin toolbar. As a Page administrator, finding the tools you use most often is not as straightforward and simple as it should be. With the new version, no matter where an admin is on the Page, she can view information about ads that are running, new Page likes, as well unread notifications and messages.
New admin toolbar

New admin toolbar is easier to use.

Facebook also added a new navigation toolbar that will remain visible across the top of the Page, making it easier to access activity, Insights, and settings.

  • Pages to Watch. Facebook previously experimented with a feature called “Pages to Watch,” which it’s now rolling out to all Pages, and which can be found in the Insights analytics section.

Pages to Watch allows admins to create a list of Pages similar to their own and compare the performance of their Page with those on the list.

facebook-changes-ptw

Pages to Watch allows admins to compare the performance of their Page with others.

Facebook News Feed

Facebook recently modified its News Feed to make the interface appear the same on desktop and mobile devices. The biggest change relates to image and photo sizes, which are now larger.

Facebook News Feed

The revamped News Feed allows for larger photos.

In describing the reason for the change, News Feed Product Manager Greg Marra said, “People love looking at photos on Facebook, and this was one of the parts of the design people told us they liked. Over time, more and more of News Feed is photos, so we want to show them as best we can.”

This has significance for ecommerce merchants in particular because it enables them to display larger product images than in the past.

Facebook Ads

On March 4, Facebook began rolling out a new advertising campaign structure that consists of three levels: campaigns, ad sets, and ads. This is similar to the way Google organizes AdWords.

Facebook's new ad structure

The new ad structure is similar in organization to Google AdWords.

  • Campaigns. Campaigns correspond to advertising objectives, such as building brand awareness, driving web traffic, or increasing Likes. They are designed to help advertisers optimize and measure results for each objective across multiple ad sets and ads.
  • Ad Sets. Campaigns can include multiple ad sets, each with its own budget and schedule. Ad sets can be organized to represent audience segments, such as demographics and interests.
  • Ads. Advertisers will be able to run multiple ads inside each ad set that contain different images, links, video, or text. Creative, targeting, and bidding is still controlled at the ad level.

Merchants that run multiple ads and campaigns should benefit from this new structure. Including the new intermediary level (ad sets) will serve to better organize ad buys and make ad optimization, performance measurement, and ad-spend tracking easier.

Facebook said that the new structure will be reflected worldwide across all ad interfaces, including the Ads Create Tool, Ads Manager, and Power Editor.

Paul Chaney
Paul Chaney
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Comments ( 4 )

  1. epyleptik March 13, 2014 Reply

    It was working fine. I have too many other things I’m busy with at the moment to worry about ‘re-training’. The changes are a turn off.

  2. Tyler Walker March 14, 2014 Reply

    Anything to try and simplify Facebook and get people to understand the site easier is welcome. I think just a big problem is that Facebook has added so many complex features over the years that people develop a really poor mental model of the different features and it’s hard for people to grasp it. These aren’t easy design challenges to solve, but luckily Facebook has acquired a great deal of design talent by picking up a number of smaller interactive agencies in recent years and I think this is a step in the right direction for Facebook. Things like Facebook’s Paper show off new ways of seeing content. That’s one thing that helps foster a sense of community within Facebook. Many users are allergic to any kind of UI or UX changes, but businesses are looking for new ways to reach out to potential customers. Just the amount of attention paid to the types of sites listed at http://www.facebooklikesreviews.com is proof that Facebook needs to pay more attention to how people interact with and find and use pages. This is how Facebook is going to keep up it’s income over the next decade or so. If they continue to get businesses on board and seeing it as the best way to reach out to fans, then they’ll be in a good financial position going forward. But I think simplifying the site further, radically and drastically, might just be the best path forward for Facebook. Get back to the core of communicating with friends.

  3. Bev Kowalski April 4, 2014 Reply

    If Face Book decides to make changes, that’s fine. However, don’t make the changes for me. I don’t want different groups – If I did, I should have been allowed to make the changes – NOT FACE BOOK. I can’t even play Farm Town any more because everyone isn’t there – they have all been moved to different groups.

  4. David bergman April 18, 2014 Reply

    Reall good news and tips to all the contents can easily handle Facebook has acquired a great deal of design talent by picking up a number of smaller interactive agencies in recent years and I think this is a step in the right direction for Facebook. Things like Facebook’s Paper show off new ways of seeing content. That’s one thing that helps foster a sense of community within Facebook. 

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