Facebook is expanding its test that puts non-social page-Like ads in the feed by opening inventory on m.facebook.com. Although these ads are not eligible for the mobile app feed yet, we’ve heard this is coming soon.
When Facebook began rolling out the “Promote Page” button, which enables page owners to create three ad types with as few as two clicks, we learned that mobile page-Like ads were one of the ad types. These ads have a headline, body copy and image, and can be shown to any audience, even if users are not already connected to a page directly or through a friend. These are usually found in the desktop sidebar, whereas ads in the mobile feed have primarily been Sponsored Stories –which include social context about a friend connected with the page — or Page Post Ads. See our post about the different types of Facebook ads for more information about these terms.
Although Facebook had previously tested page-Like ads in the desktop feed, the option for these ads on mobile is new this year. Facebook informed developers working with the Ads API of the change earlier this month. We’ve learned that the page Like ads will only appear in the mobile touch site for now, but Facebook is working on bringing these to the native apps in the next few months.
Ads without social context can be relevant if they are targeted well, but the primary way advertisers are accessing this new mobile and desktop News Feed inventory is through the “Promote Page” button. These ads have few options for targeting and customization, and it seems Facebook isn’t doing much on its end to help page owners reach the right audience. The example shared with us was for a New Jersey surf shop that appeared in the feed of a user in Oakland, Calif.
If Facebook allows these sorts of poorly targeted ads in the feed, it disrupts the user experience more than if the same ad were to appear in the desktop sidebar. This is a problem the social network will have to address as it transitions more of its desktop inventory to mobile.