Facebook Updates That Can Help Your Brand

2017 has brought about many exciting things for Facebook. As we pass the half year mark of 2017, let’s have a rundown of some of the new features or updates that can help brands take their Facebook strategy to the next level.

  • Mid-roll ads
  • Ad Breaks updates
  • Full-width ads
  • GIF ads
  • Dynamic ads
  • More control over ad placements
  • New insights to ad reports
  • Video cover
  • Facebook Stories and Messenger Day
  • Facebook Live Audio
  • Instant Games

1. Mid-roll ads

Facebook started showing mid-roll ads in the early months of 2017. Mid-roll ads are 5 to 15-second ads that appear after the viewer has watched at least 20 seconds worth of video. This means that publishers need to produce video content that can hold people’s attention in order for the ad to appear. Videos should also be at least 90 seconds long to be able to contain ads.

Oishi mid-roll ad on Facebook

2. Ad Breaks updates

Ad Breaks, similar to the mid-roll ad format, enable publishers to insert ads during a Facebook Live video. Once the video gets enough viewers and has been live for at least 4 minutes, publishers can opt for an Ad Break which can last up to 15 seconds. Even when the live broadcast has ended, it can still continue to make money when people watch the video once it’s posted.

With Facebook’s update last February, there are three things to note:

  • In-stream video ads on publisher websites can now be created via the Audience Network.
  • Expansion of beta test of Ad Breaks in Facebook Live to additional profiles and Pages
  • Testing Ad Breaks in on-demand video

Learn more about Ad Breaks here.

3. Full-width ads

Last May, Facebook announced that they are adding a full-width ads format for Facebook Audience Network, its mobile advertising network. It is now available to all mobile web publishers on Audience Network through header bidding.

Image from AdEspresso

4. GIF ads

You can now use GIF (Graphic Interchangeable Image) in Facebook ads! Facebook has supported the GIF format since mid-2015 but has recently only made it possible to boost in posts.

For best results, Facebook suggests these guidelines:

  • Choose high-quality images or animations
  • Use a link ending with .gif
  • Use a GIF with a file size less than 8MB
  • Use a GIF with less than 20% text on the image
  • Avoid GIFs that flash or are grainy, as the boosted post may not be approved

5. Dynamic ads

Facebook Dynamic Ads are a way for advertisers to take advantage of the browsing history of a customer in order to create remarketing ads. For example, if a person visits an eCommerce website, they could be retargeted with a multi-product ad of the exact product ads they looked at.

Dynamic ad sample from Dress.ph

In its recent update, advertisers can now use up to 20 images from a catalog to represent a single item across the carousel ad format. By using multiple images, remarketing ads may be able to efficiently hook the customer to the product.
To learn more about Dynamic Ads, here’s a beginner’s guide by AdEspresso.

6. More control over ad placements

Facebook will launch some new tools to provide advertisers more control over their ad placements in Audience Network, Instant Articles and In-Stream Ads.

Image from Adspresso

The updates include:

  • Higher pre-campaign transparency – Advertisers will be able to see a list of where their ads could potentially deliver prior to setting a campaign live. The goal is to make this feature available to all advertisers later this year
  • Blocking placements at the account level – Advertisers will be able to apply their block lists at the account level instead of having to log-in to each specific campaign or set of ads
  • Choice over video placements in Facebook Audience Network – Advertisers will get a choice of the types of video placements and the formats (e.g. in-stream, native, and interstitial) they want their ads to run in

7. New insights to ad reports

Facebook has been on a roll with all the new updates on marketing analytics and making sure advertisers are sufficiently informed of their ad spends. Here are some of them:

  • Tracking Facebook Page interactions – Post reactions and shares can easily be monitored through omnichannel analytics for websites, applications, services, and bots.
  • New AI-powered Automated Insights tool – beneficial to larger advertisers who need to segment their target audiences. Learn more about it here.

Image from Facebook

 

  • Redesigned Delivery Insights dashboard -features an updated interface that provides in-depth auction metrics and guidance for interpreting fluctuations in performance. The new tool will help advertisers interpret whether overlapping audiences and audience saturation might be affecting ad results.

Image from Facebook

  • Estimated Daily Results tools – gives better ad results predictions to advertisers and a better overview of future campaign results. When setting up campaign budgets, a table show the predicted ad delivery and reach. Learn more about it here.

Image from Facebook

New metrics for video ad insightsthis includes new in-view and duration metrics for your Video Ads, like:

  • milliseconds that an ad was on the screen
  • milliseconds that 50% of the ad was on the screen
  • milliseconds that 100% of the ad was on the screen

In addition, Facebook announces that it would introduce new video buying options later this year across Facebook, Instagram and Facebook Audience Network:

  1. Completed-view buying – Advertisers will only pay for video ads that have been viewed entirely, for any duration up to 10 seconds.
  2. Two-second buying – Advertisers can buy video ads according to Media Ratings Council criteria, which include two-second views where the video is at least 50% on the screen.
  3. Sound-on buying: Advertisers will have the ability to buy sound-on video ads

 8. Cover video

Facebook has recently been testing video-format cover images and have collaborated with selected brands like Netflix and Flixel to test it out.

The feature is not yet available to all brands. However, there’s not harm in being prepared. Here are the steps to create a cover video:

  • Cover videos must be at least 20 seconds long, but no more than 90 seconds long
  • The recommended video crop size is 820 pixels by 462 pixels
  • Cover videos should auto-play and auto-loop
  • Page admins can upload cover videos the same way they currently upload cover photos

 

9. Facebook Stories and Messenger Day

Facebook Stories has seen improvements this year. Stories from a user’s friends will now appear on top of the Facebook News Feed in icons.

Different filters, masks, and stickers are now also available on the platform. Friends can also directly reply to each other’s story via message or by sending another picture via the camera button on the lower right of the screen.

Other than that, Facebook also launched on its Messenger app, the My Day feature which is similar to Facebook Stories and is also inspired by Snapchat. However, posts sent through Messenger Day will not be seen in the Facebook Stories thread and vice versa.

Image from Facebook

To learn more about Messenger Day, read about it here.

Ultimately, these features could mean new platforms for advertisers in the future. Facebook has also partnered with brands to create masks for some movies this year, namely Alien: Covenant, Despicable Me 3, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Power Rangers, Smurfs: The Lost Village and Wonder Woman.

Image from Facebook

With these, more brands may be able to connect to a wider audience in a fun and interactive manner.

 10. Facebook Live Audio

In case you missed it, Facebook launched Live Audio at the end of December 2016. The feature lets users listen to broadcast voice recordings, encouraging people to publish more audio-only content.

Image from Facebook

Just as with a live video on Facebook, listeners can discover live audio content in their News Feed, ask questions and leave reactions in real time during the broadcast, and easily share with their friends. With a press of a button, the recording starts and Facebook creates a post using a Page cover image.

For Android users, audio will still play even if the user leaves the Facebook app and/or locks their phone. Read more about it here.

11. Instant Games

Games are now available on the Messenger app! Named Instant Games, the feature allows people to easily discover, share, and play games without having to install new apps.

Currently, there are 50 different games available that you can also share and play with friends. There is an opportunity here for brands to create their own games for people to enjoy. In fact, there are already some branded games like The LEGO Batman Movie’s Bat Climb.

Image from TechCrunch

Instant Games is available on Messenger and Facebook News Feed for both mobile and web.

So, what update do you think will be best for your brand?

Sources:

adespresso.com/academy/blog/top-updates-facebook-monthly-need-know-now/

facebook.com/business/news/introducing-better-insights-into-how-your-ads-work

facebook.com/business/news/more-controls-in-audience-network-instant-articles-and-in-stream-ads

adweek.com/digital/facebook-transparency-media-rating-council-audit-video-ad-options/

techcrunch.com/2017/05/02/messenger-games/