Facebook shows off the size of its News Feed ads

Facebook wants advertisers to know just how big its ads are these days.

In an infographic to explain the power its advertising platform, the company points out that News Feed ads are larger than many traditional display and mobile units.

For years Facebook has had the most precise targeting options, but its ads were too small and structured to get advertisers excited about them. The creative department wants a bigger canvas and the media planners want something that will actually catch people’s attention. Now with page post ads and Sponsored Stories in the feed, Facebook is starting to give brands and agencies something to work with.

There still aren’t options for homepage takeovers or interstitial mobile ads, but advertising has more real estate than ever on Facebook. Desktop News Feed images can be up to 398×398 pixels. Some mobile Sponsored Stories can take up a user’s full phone screen. Then there’s the 850×400 logout ad, although many have doubted whether it’s valuable to reach people when they’re leaving the social network.

News Feed ads, on the other hand, are clearly showing promise. Clickthrough rates are several times higher for feed-based ads than for sidebar ads. TBG Digital found desktop News Feed Sponsored Stories have an average clickthrough rate higher than 0.5 percent, and mobile ads have an average CTR over 1 percent. Nanigans found mobile Sponsored Stories to have an average 12 percent higher clickthrough rate than those on desktop. When combined with interest targeting, CTR has been as high as 2 percent.

The front-and-center placement is not more effective in getting people to click, it also provides greater branding opportunities than the postage stamp-sized ads on the right-hand side of the page. Advertisers can run one large image or showcase up to nine smaller ones. They can include video, polls, links or offers. And just as game developers can create Flash-based mini games that are playable from the desktop feed, we may see brand advertisers create similar interactive experiences that can be promoted as ads.