Practical Ecommerce

Facebook Introduces 3 New Advertising Features

Facebook continually makes changes to its advertising platform. Typically, this is little more than user interface modifications in Ads Manager. But on occasion the changes are more noteworthy. Three recent ones are Audience Insights, new video metrics, and a new right-hand column ad format.

Audience Insights

The more information you have about your customers, the better to provide products they want and need, or in Facebook’s case, content that’s most relevant to them.

That’s the thinking behind Facebook Audience Insights, a new tool designed to help marketers learn more about their target audiences, including aggregate information about geography, demographics, and purchase behavior. It compares characteristics of your target audience with the overall Facebook population, enabling you to find out what’s unique about them — insights that can aid your product promotion and marketing efforts.

Audience Insights provides information to help you better understand your audience.

Audience Insights provides information to help you better understand your audience.

Audience Insights provides the following categories.

  • Demographics. Age and gender, lifestyle, education, relationship status, job role, and household size.
  • Page likes. The top pages people like in different categories, such as women’s apparel or sports.
  • Location and language. Where people live, and what languages they speak.
  • Facebook usage. How often people in your target audience log into Facebook and what device(s) they use.
  • Purchases activity. Past purchase behavior and purchase methods such as online or physical store.

Audience Insights enables you to see this information for three different groups:

  • People on Facebook (the general Facebook audience);
  • People connected to your Facebook page;
  • People in Custom Audiences that you created.

Facebook says that Audience Insights differs from Page Insights in one respect: It looks at trends about your current or potential customers across Facebook, where Page Insights looks at interactions with your page, such as comments, likes, and shares.

To preserve privacy, Audience Insights does not provide personally identifiable information, but aggregate and anonymous information instead. Data is drawn from both Facebook and select external data partners.

“Like Page Insights, Audience Insights shows information about groups of people without the need to share which individual people are in those groups. This allows marketers to view aggregate and anonymous insights while keeping people’s personal information private,” said Facebook.

Audience Insights is included as part of Facebook’s advertising platform and can be viewed in Ads Manager.

Facebook began rolling out Audience Insights on May 8; you may not see it immediately.

Video Metrics

Currently, Facebook can show only how many people started watching videos on your Page. In the coming weeks, it will launch additional information within Page Insights and Ads Manager that includes video views, unique video views, average duration of video view, and audience retention — all new metrics designed to help you learn what people like and determine how to create and promote videos more effectively.

New video metrics are designed to improve audience engagement.

New video metrics are designed to improve audience engagement.

Facebook defines a “video view” as a view of three seconds or more. Views appear for all videos, including those that come to life as people scroll through News Feed.

Facebook will make metrics available for all paid and organic videos uploaded directly to Facebook Pages and, in keeping with Facebook’s normal protocol, roll out the new features over the coming weeks.

New Look for Ads in the Right-Hand Column

In the coming months, Facebook will roll out a new design for ads in the right-hand column. It’s an updated look designed to make these ads more visually consistent with News Feed ads.

Right-hand column ads will resemble News Feed ads.

Right-hand column ads will resemble News Feed ads.

According to Facebook, the ads will use the same proportions as desktop News Feed ads, but will be larger and there will be fewer of them. For advertisers, this simplifies ad creation as it eliminates the need to create separate images for News Feed and right-hand column ads.

In early testing, Facebook claims that the new ad format provides both a better user experience and increased engagement — up to three times more — for people viewing the new design.

Some advertisers will begin seeing the new option later this month.

Paul Chaney
Paul Chaney
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Comments ( 3 )

  1. Marcus Cuttino May 29, 2014 Reply

    One thing that gets me is why different text lengths seem to appear in news feeds vs. right column ads in the description section of the ad. Do you know the exact character length of headlines vs. descriptions in desktop vs. newsfeed ads?

    • Paul Chaney June 2, 2014 Reply

      Headlines are 25 characters and descriptions are 90 characters. That’s for ads created in the ad platform.

  2. Rtml guru June 2, 2014 Reply

    Will timelines create more or less user engagement?

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