Facebook’s new advertising flow could help attract small businesses

Facebook wants to simplify advertising and place the focus on the objective, not the method. The company announced Thursday that it is turning its advertising model around and going from 27 types of ad units to less than half of that, making the goal of the ad the first thing an advertiser sees, rather than a list of types of ads. While this may not benefit major brands that habitually spend money on Facebook, these changes to Facebook’s ad flow could mean that more small businesses enter the fray, now that some of the complexities have been eliminated.

Fidji Simo, Facebook’s product manager for ads, said that Facebook is uniquely positioned to get marketers’ messages in front of the people who care about it. The company wants to make it easier for companies big and small to do that, so it is removing some of the barriers to entry.

When an advertiser wants to create a Facebook ad, Facebook will give them options for objectives. Since it’s hard for many marketers to immediately know the difference between a like ad and a sponsored story, Facebook wants to give advertisers a simple question — “What do you want to do?” Users can then select their objective, whether it’s to drive page likes, to gain more views for a video, to get more installs for their application or get more foot traffic.

There’s no set date for these changes, but Facebook told reporters Thursday that it should be in a couple weeks.

While a company previously may have used two or three types of ads to reach a goal, now Facebook wants to combine these methods and make it simpler.

This may not make a dent for companies who are used to advertising through Facebook, but it can be a godsend for small businesses and those who are just getting their foot in the door for Facebook advertising. This could be a way for Facebook to find newer advertisers by cutting back the complexity and putting the goal at the forefront.

Many small businesses may have been scared away by Facebook’s advertising options in the past, and this would be a way for Facebook to wean those kinds of marketers from simply clicking “boost post,” to becoming more intimate with Power Editor and Facebook’s deeper advertising options.

Dennis Yu, the CEO of BlitzMetrics and a Facebook ads expert, emailed Inside Facebook about why these changes to the advertising flow are a positive move:

Facebook’s move to simplify the ad buying process is great for small business and those with simple goals. It’s not going to affect big brands and direct marketers, who need and use all the targeting and placement options available.But rather than focus on the ad buying process, Facebook will be able to really drive ROI (return on investment) for brands and e-commerce players by improving and automating how they create lookalike audiences and bid to conversions. Guys like us can certainly select thousands of interest and demo targets to find what converts at what price. But Facebook has the data to do it with further optimizations to optimized CPM on action specs and custom audience enhancements.

We fully believe Facebook will be successful here. Expect that the current batch of 3rd party Facebook ad software providers will feel some heartache, as customers will wonder why Facebook’s native product is better than theirs. Agencies will increasingly be taking a role in ad buying, especially in the mid-range market. So expect them to be more effective in using Facebook’s own tools, as opposed to 3rd party tools.

Facebook Strategic Preferred Marketing Developer SocialCode also thinks this is a good move for the site and those who advertise. CEO Laura O’Shaughnessy issued a statement about the new developments:

We’re pleased to see the continued evolution of Facebook’s advertising offerings to best align with brands’ overall marketing goals said. Campaign data shows that our own clients have already gravitated towards ad units that achieve larger business goals, including conversions or actions that result in quantifiable ROI. These goals are attainable through Facebook campaigns; brands are looking for a streamlined and efficient approach to reach them. Facebook is a step ahead in recognizing this need and in placing a heavier focus on only those advertising solutions that deliver preferred results.

Readers: If you manage a Facebook page for a small business, does this make you more likely to advertise?