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Facebook announces new ad formats and audience targeting capabilities

Thursday, 10 April 2014 | By Andrew Sadauskas

Facebook has announced the introduction of a new format for its desktop ads, along with new ways for businesses to advertise to users who are similar to their existing user base.


The first major change will see a change to the ads appearing in the right-hand column of the desktop version of its website.


In a post on the company’s official business blog, Facebook says ads in the new sponsored post format will appear to be more visually consistent with ads appearing in users’ news feed.


“They will use the same proportions as desktop News Feed ads, they will be larger in size, and there will be fewer of them,” Facebook says.


“For advertisers, this offers a simpler way to create ads and an enhanced creative canvas on the right-hand column of Facebook.”


Facebook claims advertisements in the new format achieve as much as three times the engagement of the ads it currently uses in the right-hand column.


Meanwhile, because the images in the ads will be of the same proportions as those used for ads in the news feed, advertisers will be able to use a single image for ads in both positions.


The new ad format will begin appearing as an option for selected advertisers later this month, with other advertisers being rolled over later this year. In the transition, end-users will notice both ad formats being used.


Alongside the new ad format, Facebook has also expanded the capabilities of its Lookalike Audiences tool.


The new feature allows businesses to advertise to users who have similar profiles to their existing customers.


According to Facebook, businesses can target users who are similar to those who already visit their websites, use their mobile apps, or are connected to their Facebook pages.


“For many businesses, engaging customers and prospects in ongoing conversation through their Page is an important part of their marketing strategy. These advertisers can now use lookalike audiences to reach people like the fans connected to their Facebook Page.


“Say you’re an online florist that wants to reach people similar to those that made purchases on your website. Now you can use data from your Facebook pixels to reach people who are most similar to people who previously made purchases on your website.


“E-commerce company Shopify saw a 2X decrease in cost per lead when using lookalikes of their website visitors.”


This article first appeared on SmartCompany.