Facebook tests simpler interface for creating ads, targeting users

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By Brittany Darwell Comments

Facebook is testing a new self-serve ad interface that emphasizes objectives and gives users more targeting options, the company tells us.

From what we can tell in the following two screenshots provided by Facebook, the new structure seems much easier for non-advertising types to understand. Earlier today, we suggested Facebook take a cue from ReverbNation’s Promote It ad platform that puts advertising and reporting in simpler terms. This beta test shows the social network is already working on something similar. A spokesperson from the company says the redesigned tool is part of a limited test and there is no decision on if or when it will be released widely.

Facebook’s existing ad tool makes users choose between “Sponsored Stories” and “Facebook ads,” and then decide on “story type” (see image at the bottom of this story). This type of jargon makes it difficult for small businesses and organizations to know what to choose, but the new ad creation flow starts by asking a simpler question, “What do you want to promote?” There’s also a new “Objectives” section that lets users choose what action they want people to take from the ad.

Facebook is also using the new tool to test targeting broad categories and precise interests at the same time. In the traditional self-serve ad dashboard, advertisers have to choose whether to target broad categories or switch to precise interest targeting. This is confusing and unhelpful. In February, we learned Power Editor users and Ads API partners could combine the options for more powerful targeting — for example, expecting parents who like Food Network or small business owners who like American Express. Facebook hasn’t added the option to the main ad tool yet, but this latest test suggests it could be coming soon.

As the social network’s advertising options become more robust, it is important for the company to consider the user interface it provides for the broadest range of customer. Large brands can afford to work with Facebook directly or go through an Ads API partner with expertise on the platform, but most businesses and organizations will depend on the self-serve tool. Framing Facebook campaigns in ways they can understand and helping them see results will be key for the company to increase its advertising revenue among the long tail.

Existing Facebook ad tool