Facebook to stop supporting Adobe Flash in desktop News Feed ad campaigns

In order to create a more frictionless experience on desktop, Facebook will stop supporting inline rich media such as Adobe Flash on Sept. 30 in desktop ad campaigns. A Facebook spokesperson told Inside Facebook that this decision is more about simplifying its ad offerings and tailoring campaigns directly to brands’ needs.

This is also a move to create better experiences on mobile, the CEO of a Facebook PMD told Inside Facebook.

Facebook told Inside Facebook that previously, ad campaigns involving inline rich media had been more of a “catch-all,” and that users respond better to content that appears to come from friends. Doing this allows Facebook to work closer with these companies to create video or photo ads that resonate better with their audiences.

The spokesperson detailed the reasons behind this decision:

Part of our simplification effort is to reduce redundancies in our ads offering by providing a core set of products that maps directly to marketers’ business objectives. We are investing heavily in these ad formats to ensure they drive the best performance for your business, while seamlessly integrating into the Facebook experience. Knowing this, we will no longer allow inline rich media in News Feed desktop or the right-hand side of Home Page. Rather than letting rich media be used as a catch-all for a range of brand and direct response objectives, we are investing in ad formats tailored to unique objectives – including photos, videos and links. In addition, people respond best to content from brands when it looks and feels like content they see from friends, and the desktop rich media experience does not align with user-generated content.

At this time, inline rich media only applies to desktop campaigns because these links use flash technology to expand directly from a Page post link ad within the News Feed experience. On mobile, rich media triggers an interactive HTML5 experience in a full-screen browser – when a person clicks on the offsite link, they are taken outside of Facebook. This creates a frictionless transition without causing disruption within the News Feed, similar to that of a mobile-optimized landing page. I’ve attached a few examples of this mobile rich media experience to illustrate the functionality. Removing friction from the offsite transition on mobile is valuable for users and advertisers, and we will continue to allow rich media from Page post link ads on mobile devices.

Facebook has also updated its advertising guidelines to include this new rule:

All components of an ad, including any text, images, or other media, must be relevant and appropriate to the product or service being offered and the audience viewing the ad. Ads may not contain audio or flash animation that plays automatically without a user’s interaction or expands within Facebook after a user clicks on the ad. Ads may not position products or services in a sexually suggestive manner. Ads may not contain content that exploits political agendas or “hot button” issues for commercial use. Additionally, ad text must include proper grammar and the use of all symbols, numbers, or letters must adhere to the true meaning of the symbol.

The CEO of a Facebook PMD told Inside Facebook that he’s in favor of this decision, noting that it will allow brands to be more flexible and mobile-minded.

Facebook has discussed this decision with third-party partners who traditionally use this type of creative, noting that they will start crafting mobile-only campaigns as of Sept. 30.