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Lior Levin

Why Social Ads on Facebook Demand Creativity from Brands

Advertising on Facebook has forever taken a more creative and social turn with the release of three new features on its premium advertising platform. With these new advertising services, brands will need to rethink the creation of relevant and sharable social content in their advertising plans as ads will show up in the news feed of fans and will then be fully integrated with a brand’s fan page.

Facebook has traditionally integrated social ads on the right sidebar with social engagement information that lets users know which of their friends identify with featured brand, and this service will continue. However, the premium advertising offerings provide a more engaging alternative for brands—that is, provided brands provide high quality content that is worth engaging. Besides placing ads in news feeds, ads will also appear in the news streams of Facebook’s mobile users.

Changes to Facebook’s Premium Ads

All brands on Facebook will benefit from the enhanced Timeline feature for fan pages that will provide more opportunities to connect with fans. According to Gigaom , “Facebook page owners can add photos, videos, events, links, questions and daily-deal type offers in an ad format that will appear first on a brand’s page. Facebook will work to place those ads on the right hand side of a fan’s home page or in their news feed on desktop and mobile.”

The quality of fan engagement will increase significantly for brands who use Facebook’s “Reach Generator” service in order to place ads in the news feed of their fans and then drive them back to the brand’s Timeline Fan page. According to Gigaom, “The premium ads… include bigger ads that originate from a sponsor’s page and let Facebook users ‘like’ and comment on those ads just like on a regular post.” With the possibility of fans commenting on ads, brands, need to make sure they create content that generates positive comments!

Why Use Reach Generator?

Reach Generator promises to place ads in the locations where users are most likely to both view them and to interact with them. According to the industry site Practical E-Commerce, “With Reach Generator, Fans will see a message as a sponsored story on the right-hand side of their Facebook page or in their news feed on desktop or mobile. Rather than pay on a per-click basis, Reach Generator allows advertisers to pay a fixed fee based on a Page’s Fan count. Reach Generator is only available to qualifying clients.”

Marketing Land reports that Facebook promises that these new premium social ads provide a 40% increase in engagement and are 80% more likely to be remembered.

Some marketing sites such as Marketing Pilgrim are skeptical of Facebook’s claims about engagement and ad memory. These high engagement numbers are based on Facebook’s internal testing, and therefore some are waiting for some real time tests on the market. Nevertheless, generally speaking, a study by Nielsen has found that social campaigns produce 55% greater recall of ad campaigns.

Perhaps the biggest challenge will be whether users welcome these new, relevant ads or whether the feel their social space has been invaded by brands.

Facebook Ads Need to Be High Quality

If brands want to show their ads on the Facebook mobile streams of users and in the feeds of their fans where most users are expecting to find content posted by their friends, these ads need to be creative enough that fans will want to continue seeing ads in their feeds. Advertising developer Rokul Rajaram suggests, “For ads to work well, they should be told through the prism of your friends… The more natural the ads look, the more successful they will be.”

Besides providing content that is “shareable,” brands will need to look at their overall objectives, practices, and outcomes for advertising campaigns. Facebook suggests that this new ad format will force brands to develop a cohesive brand strategy.

Online advertising is a disruptive and evolving medium. The gains in brand awareness, e-mail lists, and sales can be significant for those who can optimize the social marketing medium of sites like Facebook. With Timeline-based fan pages, Reach Generator, and mobile ads, Facebook’s new premium advertising plan provides a way of engaging customers with creative content that will push brands to better understand what their customers really want. The gains can be tremendous, but the process could prove rocky for those who fail to catch on to the creativity that it demands.