Some of these changes are merely minor design tweaks. But there are also some material changes to the way that Facebook advertising will work.
Let’s take a look at Facebook’s explanation of the changes that they’ve made to advertising:
What’s changed with how I create Facebook ads and sponsored stories?
When you create an ad or sponsored story, instead of choosing a particular Facebook advertising program, all you’ll need to do to get started is answer a few questions about what you want to promote and your objectives.
If you are promoting a Page, app, or event you can enter its name in the field marked Destination at the top of the ad create flow. Once you’ve selected your destination, you’ll then see other options about what you want to promote, and what you want people to see when they view your ad or sponsored story.
Towards the bottom of the ad create flow, right above the pricing section, you’ll see a new section called Objective. This is where you can set your goal for your ad or sponsored story:
- If you are advertising promoting a Page, you can decide to show your ad or sponsored story to people who are more likely to like your Page, or to people who are more likely to click on your ad or sponsored story.
- If you are promoting an app, you can decide to show your ad or sponsored story to people who are more likely to install your app or click on your ad or sponsored story.
- If you are promoting an external URL, your objective will automatically be to get clicks on your ad.
Facebook will automatically show your ad or sponsored story to the people who are most likely to take the action you selected.
Wow. Just reading that makes my head hurt. Full of ambiguities. This explanation only brings up more questions — particularly in regards to “Objectives.”
Let’s cover the main questions people will be asking when they use this new ad create flow for the first time…
What Are Objectives?
Once again, let’s allow Facebook to explain Objectives first:
Objectives are the goals that you have for your ad or sponsored story. You can set this in the “Objectives” section at the bottom of the ad create flow. The objectives you can choose from are: getting people to click on your ad or sponsored story, like your Page (if you are advertising a Page), or install your app (if you are advertising an app). Our system will optimize your ad or sponsored story’s delivery by showing it to the people who are most likely to take the action you select as your objective.
Here’s an example of Objectives in action:
“People who are most likely to…”?
Wait, what? I know what you’re thinking because I sure was thinking it as well. It’s about this important sentence:
Our system will optimize your ad or sponsored story’s delivery by showing it to the people who are most likely to take the action you select as your objective.
What in the world does that mean? Didn’t I just set my targeting to make sure that my ad is shown to “people who are most likely to take the action” I selected? Are you saying the targeting is now not necessary? Or are you saying that you will weed out people who don’t click on ads?
Oh, Facebook also gives us an “example” later…
For example, if you want people to like your Page, we’ll automatically show your ad or sponsored story to the people in the audience you’re targeting and who are most likely to like your Page.
And how exactly will you do this? Who are these people? What are their characteristics?
I know you came here for answers, but I have none yet on this one. I will continue to investigate.
No More Bidding For Impressions
Bidding for clicks (CPC) remains largely the same. You’re given a suggested range and you provide your bid.
But, here’s a doozy…
When you choose any other objective, your ad or sponsored story will pay by cost per impression (CPM). Your ad or sponsored story will automatically show to the people who are most likely to take the action you have selected as your objective. When you’re paying per impression (CPM), you don’t need to worry about bidding. You can simply enter your desired daily or lifetime budget, and your ad or sponsored story will be automatically optimized for your desired objective.
Sweet! I don’t need to “worry about bidding!”
So not only is Facebook making sure your ad is shown to people who are “most likely” to take a certain action (no idea who those people are), but all CPM options are now “optimized,” meaning that bidding is no longer necessary.
In other words, you have no idea what you’re getting into. You set a $10 daily or lifetime budget… But for what exactly?
How many people will see it? How many clicks can I expect? What will it cost per click or impression or action? Something? Anything? Can you throw me a bone here?
Oh, Facebook knows you’ll be asking. So here’s their “answer”:
Since I don’t enter a bid if I choose app installs or Page likes as my objective, how is my budget allocated?
We will never charge you more than the daily or lifetime budget that you set. Your ad or sponsored story will be paced based on the budget you enter, the action you are optimizing for, and the period of time you specify.
You’re killing me here, Facebook. You didn’t even answer your own question about how my budget will be allocated. All you told us is that whatever I’m paying for, you won’t charge me more than my budget. That’s not particularly helpful.
Now, I can tell you that you won’t be paying per Like or application install. It’s all based on impressions…
All objectives, except for “clicks on my ad or sponsored story,” are paid for on a cost per impression (CPM) basis. You will be charged for every impression your ad or sponsored story receives, not based on how many times someone takes the action.
Still no indication on what that cost per impression is or how it’s calculated.
You see, this is my problem. At least when I bid when using CPM, I understand that the cost is determined by the going rate. But if no one is bidding, how is that going rate determined? Facebook just decides it, right? It could be anything.
Slow the Riots…
While this is extremely confusing, I will say that I’m not one to automatically assume that Facebook is stealing my money. They need to better explain this process. But there are early indicators that advertising is becoming more efficient.
I also tried out Promoted Posts last week, which work in a very similar fashion. I bid $5 to promote a single post. No bids. The only expectation was for a “projected” reach of about 800. I didn’t reach anywhere close to that (415). But for $5, I got 34 actions (14.7 cents per action), including 17 link clicks (29.4 cents per link click).
These are not bad numbers. In fact, I’d consider them to be very good. So I’ll withhold judgment until I start getting some results.
Still. Facebook, please… Do yourself a favor and provide a little more transparency here.
Have you tried out the new Facebook ad create flow? What do you think?