Facebook overhauls ad strategy for brands

Facebook has unveiled its plans to transform both the content and placement of advertisements on its website, as it ramps up efforts to appeal to advertisers ahead of its stock market flotation.

BurberryFacebook

At its first Marketing Conference in New York yesterday (February 29), Facebook revealed its premium ad service. The first announcement was to update brands Pages, which are now in line with the Timeline format already seen on consumers’ profile pages.

Global brands Manchester United, Dove and Burberry are among the first brands in the world to employ the format on their branded pages, ahead of a universal roll out on March 30.

Facebook has also updated its paid ads format, expanding its Sponsored Stories onto mobile for the first time, meaning ads will now feature in the news feed for mobile users, in the same way they do on the desktop version.

Additionally, it announced premium ads would be appearing on its log-out page, which it claims is visited by 37 million people every day.

The social network also unveiled an Offers service, allowing brands can share discounts and promotions with their customers. These can either be promoted organically via the news feed or amplified with paid ads (Sponsored Stories). Offers will first launch in the US but a global roll out is expected within weeks.

Speaking at the conference, Mike Hoefflinger, the director of global business marketing for Facebook, urged brands to make their social campaigns seem less like “ads” and more like “stories” to boost return-on investment.

He said: “We want marketers to evolve from creating ads to telling stories to engage consumers on the richest and most customiseable marketing canvas we have ever created for businesses.”

Hoefflinger insists that stories will work for brands, noting that results from trials undertaken by Dr. Pepper, Butterfinger and EA, delivered $3 of sales for every $1 spent and performed five to 10 times the click-through rate of other ad formats on Facebook.

“Pages is mission control for your business on Facebook. The place for your identity and the launchpad for your stories,” he added.

The social network hopes the suite of marketing tools will boost advertising revenues, which was revealed to account for 85% of its $3.71bn (£2.3bn) in 2011.

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