Facebook is cutting the wheat from the chaff in its advertising formats, embarking on plans to halve the number of advertising units it offers over the next six months.
Facebook will abolish around 15 redundant ad units from its current total of 27, eliminating formats which accomplish similar goals.
Facebook’s Fidji Simmo said in a blog post last Friday: “Over the past year, we have been gathering feedback from marketers about our ads products. One point we heard loud and clear is that we need to simplify our product offering.
"As the services we provide to marketers have grown, so have our new products; while each product may be good on its own, we realized that many of them accomplish the same goals."
Facebook said it would re-examine its ad offerings in the next six months, mapping all ads to the business objectives marketers care about, including in-store sales, online conversions, or app installs.
The effectiveness of Facebook advertising has been questioned consistently by digital experts and corporate marketers since the site began offering ad space.
The issue came to a head last year when automotive giant GM very publicly withdrew its $10m Facebook ad budget in May, with then CMO Joel Ewanick indicating he believed investment in Facebook did not pay off.
But in April this year the car conglomerate patched up its relationship with Facebook, announcing it was again in discussions with the site.
In its quest to eliminate redundancies the social network will remove Questions product for Pages because marketers can simply ask a question in a post and get answers in comments (see below). It will also remove the online Offer product because marketers have found that using a Page post link ad is a more effective way to drive people to deals on their websites.
It will also include the best of sponsored stories in all ads. Previously, to get social context, advertisers had to purchase sponsored stories in addition to ads.
But now when an advertiser creates a Page post photo ad Facebook will automatically add social context to boost performance and eliminate the extra step of creating sponsored stories. These changes will happen in Autumn in the US.
Changes will also see ad units look more consistent, reducing the number of ad formats and making the ad creation process much simpler for advertisers who run multiple campaigns or want to test which ad creative performs the best.
Facebook believes this will help advertisers optimise their campaigns across desktop and mobile.
Simmo said: “When we work with a marketer, we always start with their business goals, and we are going to do the same thing with our ad products. Our vision is that over time, an advertiser can come to Facebook and tell us what they are trying to achieve, and our ads tools will automatically suggest the right combination of products to help them achieve it."