If one thing is certain in the world of social media advertising, it’s this. Social media is a fast-paced industry, and if you’re not paying attention to platform updates, it’s impossible to keep up.
To help you stay on top of the latest and greatest Facebook updates and changes to its algorithm and ad platform (without having to do all the research yourself), we're curating the most important Facebook changes you need to know.
Facebook updates search ads to be available to all advertisers
Facebook is officially now rolling out search ad placement to a broader range of advertisers. These search ads appear in the results for terms that imply any commercial intent. These search ads only currently appear on mobile devices.
Advertisers that are running product sales or conversion-focused campaigns should jump on this new opportunity. Facebook search ads provide advertisers with direct access to searchers that are actively looking for their type of product.
Things to consider about Facebook search ads:
- Search ads are highly visual, so advertisers should pay special attention to ad image quality.
- Facebook search ads are currently only available in English and Spanish.
- If advertisers want their ads to appear in the search results, advertisers can select either “Automatic Placement” for News Feed ads, or “Facebook Search Results” in Ads Manager.
- Ad targeting is based on the advertiser’s targeting and relevant keywords.
- Advertisers don't determine keywords. Facebook does. Facebook determines keyword relevancy based on features like ad text, product, category, title, description, etc. This means optimize your ad correctly.
More details about this update are still to be released.
Facebook updates Story ads with ability to start conversations in Messenger
Advertisers can now further engage with users by using Stories ads to strike up conversations on Messenger.
Advertisers can now include the call to action “Send Message” on Stories ads, and the user can swipe up and start a conversation within the Facebook or Instagram app.
Multiple text options: Facebook's latest ad-testing feature
Some Facebook advertisers can now create several versions of copy, including ad copy, headline copy, and descriptions for single-media ads using the new Multiple Text Options feature. Once the advertiser finalizes the ad copy, Facebook will dynamically serve up a copy combination that delivers the most relevant results.
The pros? Multiple Text Options allows advertisers to test how different copy resonates with diverse audiences. Advertisers can also use the “View more variations” button to see how the various combinations work together before going live.
The caveats? Facebook uses machine learning to control how your ads appear to various audiences, reducing the advertiser's targeting control. Additionally, reporting shows data about overall performance only as opposed to variation details.
Facebook algorithm in the News tab won’t include ads, but publishers can still monetize content
Facebook has started to test Facebook News, a dedicated place that highlights top news stories. The purpose of Facebook News is to allow users to:
- Quickly browse through today’s top stories, chosen by a team of journalists
- Gain more control over the stories they prefer to see
- Dive deeper into news that is of interest and into various topics
- Manage and read news from linked paid subscriptions
The new news stories tab will not initially include ads from advertisers. However, the advertiser will still be able to monetize their content when Facebook News publishes articles in the feed.
Facebook is testing ads in the Groups tab
Facebook is testing ad placements in the Groups tab to see whether these ads will provide value for advertisers and users. Based on the testing data, Facebook will decide whether or not to expand ads in Groups, making it available to more advertisers.
Advertisers with access to this feature need to select “Facebook Feed” and “Group Feed” placement options if they want ad placement in relevant Groups.
Facebook testing new photo layouts for multi-image posts
Are you tired of the same old layout for multi-image posts? If so, you'll be pleased to learn that Facebook is in the process of testing different layout options for multi-image posts, according to research by Jane Manchun Wong.
Facebook is testing layouts for photo posts pic.twitter.com/2W4LVVbbHy— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) October 9, 2019
However, time will tell if these options will be available to advertisers.
Facebook changes the maximum number of ads pages can run simultaneously in 2020
Facebook recently announced they will be limiting the number of ads that Pages can run simultaneously starting in mid-2020. Facebook is implementing ad limits because high ad volume can “hinder an advertiser’s performance,” according to Facebook.
Additionally, “with too many ads running at the same time, fewer ads exit the learning phase and more budget is spent before the delivery system can optimize an ad’s performance,” the company said.
What do you think?
As you are planning your upcoming Facebook advertising calendar, keep the previous updates in mind.
As of the beginning of October, you have more opportunities to engage with your target audience on Facebook, and exciting updates to look forward to for the future.
For more updates about Facebook advertising, stay tuned. The team here at Revealbot will continue to provide a quick summary of all the recent updates from Facebook in one convenient blog post.
Earlier in 2018
Facebook advertising in 2018 will be the year we get even more meaningful results from all the AI and ML talk.
Meet smart everything:
- Facebook will test elements of creatives and put together the final ad for you,
- it will understand when to switch optimization objectives based on amount of data available,
- find entirely new audiences for your dynamic product ads based on other websites' data,
- and help you allocate ad budget between ad sets based on performance.
Also, remember those location-based ads that everyone talked about a couple years back but barely anyone used? Facebook finally offers a targeting option with actual value: you can remarket directly to users that have been in your offline businesses.
Read on for advanced tips on how to get the most out of the new Facebook capabilities and policy changes (jump to our reco on ever more limited organic reach).
Testing individual ad elements is now automated
Remember how empowering the split testing feature proved a few months back? Facebook recently an even more powerful option.
Dynamic Creatives lets you do the proper testing of creatives that, we bet, you barely have the time to do manually.
Pick Dynamic Creative when setting up an ad and submit up to 10 images and up to 5 text variations for each element of the ad.
Facebook will find the best performing combination of those elements for your objective and keep that one winning creative running as the final ad.
Always optimize for the most efficient objective based on data available
Here's the jist: launch ads with Reach as objective and automatically switch to Conversions as soon as it has enough data.
Why do some brands even need this: Facebook Pixel needs data in order to train itself to be efficient for your audience and website. Which makes it a challenge to use Conversions as ad objective for startups and brands that have only just set up the Pixel — it hasn’t seen many conversions and doesn't "know" yet what types of users will be likely to convert.
So in the ideal world, you’d first launch the ad with Reach as objective, wait for a couple dozen purchases to happen, and then relaunch the same ad — now optimized for Conversions. But something tells me that in most cases you just don’t have the time do that manually.
Starting now, Facebook is beginning to roll out a solution: you can choose both objectives when launching an ad, and Facebook will start by optimizing for Reach. And as soon as your Pixel contains enough data, the optimization objective to Conversions.
Result: No more ads inefficiently optimized for an event that the Pixel has barely seen happen. So higher ROI for you.
No more checking up on ad sets manually and reallocating budget between them manually — Facebook will soon offer to manage budget between ad sets of one ad campaign according with their performance.
Here's what Facebook adds about the new capability: "In addition to setting a daily or lifetime campaign budget, businesses can set bid caps and spend limits for each ad set."
You can now find entirely new audiences that would have been unreachable via interest filters or lookalike audiences.
Since recently, Facebook allows you to target users who browsed Facebook pages or even websites of your competitors — i.e. showed interest in your product or category.
This is possible for advertisers with their product catalogue uploaded to Facebook for Dynamic Product Ads (DPA).
Broad Audiences should be especially valuable to startups trying to compete with the behemoths of their industries. Up-and-coming ecommerce stores and travel websites lack the benefit of massive traffic to remarket to via Dynamic Product Ads.
So Broad Audiences will help those small audiences to at least grow the top of the funnel by attracting new cold audiences to the site or at least get engagement from.
You can now remarket to Facebook users that have been in your offline store — based on precise location data gathered by Facebook.
Here's the impressive list of remarketing options you have, based on offline conversion events:
- offline buyers by connecting your point-of-sale system into Facebook's API; even easier if you're using one of these offline CRM systems: Salesforce, Marketo, Leadsbridge, or Zapier;
- Facebook event RSVPs and users that have shown interest in an event;
- now added: offline walk-in shoppers for Business Locations — more info.
CRM systems are all good and brilliant, but they never allowed marketers to retarget offline leads — location-based targeting is our first huge leap towards truly merging offline and online.
Apart from ecommerce products, you can now remarket website visitors showing them relevant real estate listings, hotels, flights and destinations — in templates tailored for each type of product.
Retarget users by showing them exact listings they viewed or options similar to them.
And not just ecommerce — the Collection Ads are a mix of a lifestyle image/video and products featured in it.
Many have found a similarity to the good old print catalogues: both are brilliant at giving you a good look at the product and irresistibly conveying the use context via lifestyle imagery.
What has so far been beta-launched in a handful of countries (as of Nov 2017) will be rolled out to all businesses over the course of 2018: Facebook News Feed will not show any posts from pages, even if the user is following them.
The only efficient solution that will give your SMM content the same kind of reach as before the update seems to be paid delivery of all your social content, even to your followers.
Only when a social post has reached a basic level of reach (organic or paid) does it make sense to assess its performance and boost it some more if it's getting good engagement.
Now, this is a lot of work, so for the sake of your team's sanity, you might want to consider auto-boosting your content to make sure your content actually gets seen by your followers. Auto-boosting from Revealbot will be here in the coming weeks — let us know if interested in beta-access now!
Earlier in 2017
Retargeting by offline store visits
The day has come when you can finally retarget people who walked into your store and left without making a purchase.
Done via Facebook Ads store visits reporting and optimization, the new feature lets you create a custom audience made up of people whose always-on/when using location has told Facebook they walked into your offline location.
Coupled with targeting by other offline conversion events, like (lack of) offline purchases, you get a powerful new tool for converting those offline leads.
Store visits reporting works based on Business Locations, which you then use in a Custom Audience > Offline Activity.
Here’s what you’ll need to do in order to retarget people who actually visited your store:
Step 1 — create business location(s) for which you want to retarget offline visitors
Not seeing Business Locations in your menu? You might have to apply for Locations first.
Step 2 — if you’re one of the businesses “eligible” for store visits reporting (more below), you should be able to create custom audiences made up of people who recently visited those business locations.
It doesn’t look like all businesses with business locations created have access to offline visits reporting & retargeting yet. And all Facebook recommends is that you contact your Facebook representative if you don’t have access to the feature yet.
Now, the obvious question is, how exactly does Facebook deal with batches of stores located close to one another. All we know is:
- it uses GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth data when specifically allowed by the user;
- it also uses "satellite imagery and mapping data from 3rd parties which outlines your building location boundaries;
- and "filtering out people who we think are employees or who appear to be on the move."
Have you had the chance to use retargeting by offline store visits yet? Let us know in the comments how it worked out for you!
Wait, there's more
Facebook ads costs don't seem to be easing off, and advertisers' total spend is still expected to keep growing at a rate of 20% for the next two years.
So make sure you stay on top of platform updates and keep optimizing your Facebook Ads investments. And a not-so-humble reco from us: we've created an advanced automation tool to help you maximize the efficiency of your ads — see what it can do for you.