Brief:

  • Facebook announced it will change the format for ads appearing in its mobile News Feed on Aug. 19 to match the look and feel of its redesigned app from April, a company blog post announced. The social network will cut the number of lines of text that appear in ads from seven, currently, to three.
  • Facebook also will change the aspect ratio of images and videos in sponsored posts to 4:5 from the current 2:3. The revision will mean that images appear shorter on mobile screens and that media taller than the new 4:5 ratio will be “masked” in the News Feed.
  • “The changes to text, photos and videos are designed to simplify our formats and improve the consistency of our mobile experience,” the company said in the announcement. “This will help drive increased ad effectiveness and make it easier to use the same assets on Facebook News Feed and Instagram feed.”

Insight:

Facebook’s pending changes to the format of ads in its mobile News Feed aims to make paid content somewhat less intrusive for users, in a sign the platform is putting a premium on user experience over advertiser needs, as the changes will mean that marketers have less room to engage people with images and text. Advertisers will have only three lines of text and a smaller image or video to hook potential customers, making it more imperative that their creative assets engage users as they slide through their feed.

The news comes as Facebook is losing younger users, who tend to be more adverse to traditional ads, even though user growth overall continues to move upward. 

Advertisers that want to include more imagery in their ads can try Facebook’s Carousel format that can be swiped left to right to show up to 10 photos with accompanying text.

Facebook

 

Throughout its history, Facebook has made changes to its ad formats to appeal to brands, and has expanded ad placements on its other apps like Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger. The company also has worked to make advertising more transactional to generate direct sales for merchants. Instagram in May created a special account called @shop that brings together posts from online merchants that sell products through the image-sharing app, two months after rolling out a native checkout feature with 23 U.S. brands that let shoppers pay for products without leaving the app. In May, Facebook confirmed that it would start putting advertising inserts in WhatsApp, the messaging app that previously had resisted ad sales.

Meanwhile, Facebook has worked to appeal to game developers as consumer spending on mobile games continues to surge. In May, the social giant expanded rewarded video and playable ads to mobile game developers that belong to its Audience Network, its in-app ad network that tracks mobile users across the internet. Facebook also added playable ads, which let developers offer a mini version of a game embedded in an ad before requiring download of the full app, to Audience Network after launching the format in its News Feed last August.

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