Facebook is giving their right sidebar ads a makeover, as announced in their Facebook for Business newsroom late last week.
Some advertisers will start seeing the new option for larger sidebar ads, more “visually consistent” with Newsfeed ads, as early as late this month. Others will have to wait, as the new ad format will continue rolling out “later this year.”
What does this mean for small business advertisers?
For one, you may finally start seeing some engagement with sidebar ads. Beyond anecdotal evidence in which I’ve seen newsfeed ads far outperform sidebar ads in client campaigns on a consistent basis, advertisers have found that newsfeed ads get click-through rates up to 49 times higher than sidebar ads.
If the cost per thousand impressions (CPM) is any indication of how effective sidebar ads have been – and it should be, as results drive demand, which drives the price – sidebar ads have failed miserably in their current iteration. New data from Facebook marketing platform Nanigans shows that mobile Newsfeed ads command $5.72 per thousand impressions, while sidebar ads are worth just 20 cents for the same.
Facebook hopes to fix that with larger – and fewer – sidebar ads.
The larger image format means your ad might be one of just two or three in the sidebar, instead of six or seven.
Of course, you may pay more for the more prominent exposure… or will you? If there are less ads in the sidebar, it would stand to reason that costs may increase to make up for the lack of revenue from more ads. However, Facebook claims they’ve seen engagement up to 3x higher with the larger format sidebar ads, so costs may be managed somewhat by their ability to generate more revenue per ad spot.
As always, clear, high resolution images will work best. If you’re advertising on Facebook today, a good rule of thumb is to use images at least 1200 pixels wide. See the Facebook image sizes cheat sheet I wrote for Search Engine Watch for more on optimal Facebook photo and ad specs.
Are you excited about larger sidebar ads coming to Facebook?