Facebook’s New Ads Power Editor Replaces the Bulk Uploader with a Streamlined GUI

This week, Facebook launched its new Ads Power Editor desktop software for buyers who work directly with a Facebook ads representatives. The new multi-pane graphical user interface presents a streamlined way to create and manage multiple Facebook ads simultaneously. It also integrates with Excel, and replaces the Facebook’s bulk uploader ads tool which will be deprecated on June 30th, 2011.

Here we’ll provide a functionality overview of the Facebook Ads Power Editor and present some questions regarding how the enhanced native tool impacts third-party tool provider working off of the Facebook Ads API.

Until now, Facebook provided four main ways of purchasing and managing ads. The public self-serve graphical user interface ads tool, the bulk uploader for managing ads through Excel, the Facebook Ads API for programmatically managing ads, and a direct relationship with Facebook ad sales representatives for the site’s biggest advertisers. Now, those working with ads reps have access to the Power Editor that combines and strengthens the features of the self-serve and bulk uploader tool.

While Facebook has continued to augment the self-serve ads purchasing tool and Ads Manager with more conversion and reach metrics, new ad units such as Sponsored Stories, and new targeting options such as broad category targeting, the design of the graphical user interface has for most part remained stable over the past few years. For those that needed to create and manage large scale optimized ad campaigns, the self-serve tool and bulk uploader were a bit too clumsy.

While the Power Editor doesn’t support Sponsored Stories, it makes generating and editing multiple ads at once much simpler.

New Features

Downloading the Power Editor

For now, the bookmark for the Power Editor only appears in the ads accounts of ad buyers who work with Facebook ad sales representatives and are running the Google Chrome internet browser. Those who qualify can download and run the software locally from their Windows, Mac, or Linux machine. Users then download their existing ad account and campaigns into the software from Facebook.

Multi-Pane Interface

Power Editor users are shown three panes shown in the image above:

  • Left pane (A)- Select between ads accounts and their campaigns
  • Main pane (C) – Use tabs (B) to view all the campaigns or ads from the account or campaign selected in the left pane
  • Bottom pane (D) – View editable fields for the campaigns or ads selected in the main pane

This tiered interface makes it easy to navigate between and edit a huge number of ads from different accounts and campaigns. The old Ad Manager required many more clicks and page loads to access all of this information.

Performance Metrics Settings

Users can check boxes to select which metrics will appear in the main pane. These include standard metrics such as clicks, impressions, and bid, as well as new metrics such as Facebook content and errors, and basic targeting attributes such as age and sex. Users must set a date range with the stats drop-down to load the new metrics.

Creating New Campaigns

Users can create a new campaigns in three ways:

  • ‘Create Campaign” flow – Fill out various fields inline
  • Duplicate – Clone an existing campaign and then edit fields
  • Copy from Excel – Copy a campaign from the Power Editor into Excel, edit it, and paste it back into the Power Editor

Creating New Ads

Users can create new ads in four different ways:

  • ‘Create’ Ad flow – While in the ‘Ads’ tab in the main pane of the desired campaign, click ‘Create Ad”. Fill out fields inline using typeahead functionality, and select an image from the image library or upload a new one
  • Duplicate – Select an ad in the ‘Ads’ tab of the main pane and click ‘Duplicate’, then edit fields
  • Copy from Excel – Copy an ad from the Power Editor into Excel, edit it, and paste it back into the Power Editor
  • Import from Excel – Create multiple new ads or new campaigns in Excel, import the spreadsheet by copying it into the Power Editor or clicking the ‘Bulk Import’ button, and upload a zip file of images

The Power Editor is backwards compatible with the Bulk Uploader, so spreadsheets from the Bulk Uploader can be imported the same way as they are from Excel. Whenever edits are made in the Power Editor, the ‘Upload’ button must be clicked to sync the changes with a Facebook Ads account. Changes since the last Facebook account upload or download can be undone using the Revert Changes button.

Power Editor and the Facebook Ads API

The Power Editor provides some of the basic functionality offered by tools built by third-party developers on the Facebook Ads API. Specifically, the ability to create and manage multiple ad variants for A/B testing can now be accomplished through Facebook’s native tools. This to some degree commodifies a core selling point of third-party tools — namely that a significantly level of efficient A/B testing could not be achieved without an Ads API tool.

However, many Ads API tools provide better ad creation than the Power Editor, with visual trees and the ability to cross several creative and targeting variables to instantly produce permutations. Third-party tools also provide deeper analytics, cost per fan and conversion-based optimization models, auto-optimization algorithms, and support for Sponsored Stories. This means that for now there should plenty of value for Ads API tool developers to offer big ad buyers.

We’re following up with Facebook about the direction of both the self-serve tools including the Power Editor, and the Ads API. We’ll return with insights into how advertisers should choose the solution that’s best for them, and how the tools of Ads API developers should look to differentiate themselves from Facebook’s native tools.

Strategies for taking advantage of the crucial Sponsored Stories ad unit, and the new conversion and reach analytics in the Facebook Ads Manager can be found in the Facebook Marketing Bible, Inside Network’s comprehensive guide to marketing and advertising through Facebook.