Facebook Simplifies Ad Buying

facebookAgencies and businesses advertising on Facebook have complained in the past about an overly-complicated interface for purchasing ads and ad campaigns on the site. As Facebook continues to improve its ads with better targeting and better data, they’ve intelligently decided to improve the process of actually buying the ads, however, the move is not without some criticism.

Ads that Are Easier

On Tuesday, news broke that Facebook, as Lauren Indvik reports on Mashable “unveiled a major overhaul of both … ads manager, and its more sophisticated offering, power editor” The interfaces were made much smoother and easier to use than they used to be. Choices have been reduced and the options that remain are much more straightforward and easy to follow.

The major change involves the addition of an explicitly objective-focused approach to the new interfaces. Now any small business, agency, or big business can look at Ads Manager or Power Editor and start with their objective first.

To me, this seems like a no-brainer. Any project, advertising or not, should begin from a standpoint of what objectives or goals are desired out of the undertaking. However, Facebook wasn’t quite following this notion in its design when it came to buying ads for quite some time. Lauren writes that objectives for Facebook are goals like “increase in mobile app downloads,” “increasing total page likes, increasing engagement with particular posts” and so on.

Will the Change Woo Small Businesses?

Anthony Ha over at TechCrunch raises an interesting point. He writes that Facebook’s new approach towards simplification “could be particularly important for bringing on small businesses into the company’s advertising programs.” Less choices means decisions are easier to make and that’s Facebook’s strategy here.

Is Simplifying Bad for Advertising?

A small business unfamiliar with the world of advertising on Facebook probably would find it helpful that Facebook guides them based on their objective. Now that simplification is a strong point in Facebook’s design moving forward, could the change actually hurt advertising?

I’m not arguing that the improved and simplified interface is a bad thing, making those changes is always good. What I am raising a question about is the guiding hand of Facebook for advertisers large and small. Advertising has always been a creative industry. Some people might argue that Facebook guiding advertisers to certain kinds of ads or certain ways of displaying them removes some of the creativity coveted by advertisers.

At the same time, Facebook has plenty of data to back up their claims that they know what works, where it works, and when it works. Still, there’s a part of me that finds that notion of focusing solely on the data to guide the advertiser a little bland and less human that it should be.

What do you think about the new changes to Facebook’s ads? Do you think it will bring in more small business advertisers to the platform?

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Patrick currently lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, where he is studying for a Master's Degree in Intercultural Relations. Upon graduation from Penn State in 2008, he spent two years overseas in Kyrgyzstan with the U.S. Peace Corps. While writing is currently his chosen way to put food on the table, he loves fitness and exercise, which he believes makes up for his avid computer gaming habit.

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