April 2, 2012, 10:58 AM

Facebook looks to make its self-service ads easier to buy

The social network is testing a simpler interface for its ad creation tool.

Lead Photo

A Facebook premium ad

Facebook Inc. wants to make it easier for marketers using its self-service ad formats to target consumers. The social network is testing a simplified interface that enables an advertiser to select a goal for his ads, such as to get more consumers to Like its fan page. Facebook says the test also features improved ad targeting options.

The interface eliminates some of Facebook’s jargon from the ad-buying tools. The new format asks the advertiser to select one of four ad types—a new ad about my page; a post on my page; when people Like my page; when people Like my page posts. Then the advertiser selects which action he wants consumers to take from the ad, such as to Like his page or to click to his web site.

This is in contrast to the current tool, which asks marketers to choose between Sponsored Stories and Facebook ads. Sponsored Stories are an ad format that enables advertisers to highlight posts or actions, such as when a consumer’s Facebook friend Likes a product, checks into a store, plays a game or uses a Facebook application. Then, a marketer has to select what type of story he wants to run, such as an ad that highlights one of the marketer’s page posts or an ad with new marketing copy.

Facebook is also enabling advertisers to more precisely target consumers through their stated interests. Advertisers that select “running,” for example, would target consumers whose profiles note that they enjoy running, and can then apply broad category targeting, which includes demographic information such as consumers who are married. The previous format only enabled marketers using the self-service system to choose either a precise target or a broad category.

A spokeswoman for the social network says the redesign is part of a small, global test. There is no timeframe for when, if ever, the tool will be more widely available.

John Jackson, CEO and founder of DecisionStep, will speak at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2012 in a session entitled “Social shoppers share their secrets: How e-retailers spin that knowledge into gold.”


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