Facebook tries new tactics to convince page owners to run ads

Facebook is using large banners on its site to encourage page owners to buy ads. One that appears on business pages prompts page owners to create a holiday ad, while another above News Feed seeks to bring users who started an ad back into the funnel to complete it.

The units, which page owners can hide, are new tactics to get more page owners to run Facebook ads for their business. The holiday positioning is clever, though it takes users straight to the self-serve ad dashboard that is not otherwise customized to help someone create a “holiday ad.” There’s a link to learn more about creating successful a Facebook campaign, but that isn’t holiday-focused either. The social network might need to offer more guidance to small business owners and other new advertisers.

To recapture potential advertisers who got started in the self-serve dashboard but didn’t complete a campaign, Facebook is trying a new module that says, “Your Ad Is Almost Ready.” When page owners click “Finish Your Ad,” they’re taken to a simple summary page where they can review their ad and place an order. There’s an option to edit the ad further, which will take users to the main ad creation tool. This could help Facebook complete some sales that would have fallen through otherwise.

Over the past year, the social network has made it easier for small business owners to create basic ads on the site, streamlining the ad tool and introducing the Promote button on pages. Facebook recently said there are 11 million SMBs on the site, 7 million of which have an active Facebook page and 3 million of which make at least one post per week. Converting these page owners into active advertisers — even starting with small budgets — could go a long way for Facebook’s advertising revenues.

Facebook earned $943 million in ad revenue during Q4 last year and has brought in $2.95 billion from ads between Q1 and Q3 2012. This holiday season is likely to be the company’s best quarter yet.