Facebook mobile ads have taken a turn for the immersive.
The new, innovative ad formats will bring up an ad that will look much like a brand website, but users will never need to leave Facebook.
There are a few apparent benefits to this approach:
- They’ll deliver more value. The ads basically replicate a mini-website, replete with multimedia capabilities, including video and product carousels. This allows businesses to deliver a complete landing page, a page of multimedia content, or a mini-shopping experience within the context of Facebook. As we saw with Facebook’s product ads, the social network is pushing for more complete multimedia experiences, and these immersive ads are the next logical step.
- They’ll be more immediate. Since ad content will be native to Facebook, it will load more quickly. This will allow brands to communicate their value more immediately, so users won’t have to wait for an external site to load. Digital marketers are fully aware of how much users value convenience, so it won’t be surprising if these ads increase conversion rates significantly.
- They’ll be contained inside the Facebook experience. Since users can view an entire ad within the context of the social network, they won’t experience the “interruption” of leaving the site and navigating into a different context. This will help make the content integrate more seamlessly within the network, with the goal of improving the end user’s experience.
These benefits to users spell out clear benefits to Facebook, which puts its users’ experience as its top priority. As we’ll see below, this may have hurt some aspects of the Facebook user interface, but it has helped in others.
What These Ads Mean for Marketers
This final point carries with it several other significant implications, not only for the future of social advertising, but also for marketers and advertisers:
- While Facebook Instant Articles and these immersive ads both improve the end user’s experience, they also tend to keep users inside Facebook. The more people use Facebook Instant Articles and shop through these immersive ads, the less time they will spend on media sites or brand sites. This will make both users and brands more dependent on the social giant.
- Immersive content and ads could be thought of as multimedia experiences, incorporating text, video, images, and interactivity. As technology continues to evolve, these types of experiences are becoming more and more possible. Today’s mobile devices, however are just the beginning: in the coming years and decades, augmented reality and virtual reality will begin to take center stage. Expect these ad formats to become the norm.
With Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus for $2 billion in 2014, it’s clear that Facebook is a very forward-thinking company. From ecommerce to local retailers to social media, Facebook, like Google, plans to integrate itself as much as possible into every facet of our online lives.
Although Facebook Pages have completely lost their organic reach, Facebook itself is still alive and kicking.
Many agree that organic marketing with Facebook Pages has died. Earlier this year, Forrester said that brands’ posts wouldn’t reach 98% of their target audiences and 99.9% wouldn’t engage with that post. Now, Facebook is “just a place to buy old-fashioned ads.”
While this strong-arming may irk marketers, there’s not much that can be done about it.
Giving up on Facebook just isn’t an option.
After all, Facebook still has 1.5 billion monthly active users and 986 million daily active users. In June of 2015, 844 million of those daily active users were mobile users.
Though there were protests and complaints over the death of organic reach, it’s useful to consider that this was a natural result of the users’ engagement…or lack thereof.
In other words, Facebook Pages’ organic reach probably died because people didn’t engage. And Facebook, like Google or any other business, aims to please its customers.
The implications for marketers?
- Though Facebook has transformed itself into an ad-based network, it is still going strong…so strong, in fact, that many businesses can’t afford to give up their Facebook presences.
- Due to Facebook’s sheer social dominance, marketers may be forced to engage in Facebook advertising in order to stay in touch with their audiences.
- The social network will almost certainly maintain a foothold in tomorrow’s virtual reality tech, so marketers should plan ahead by keeping tabs on how mobile evolves towards virtual and augmented realities.
- Facebook’s immersive ads will be precursors to these ads. Today’s mobile formats are innovative, creative, and may generate excellent results and ROI, so marketers should test these ad formats as soon as possible.
- As ads trend towards video, mobile, and social, it would be wise to monitor the efficacy of these immersive ads.
Facebook’s immersive ads, as well as similar formats such as Instant Articles, offer poignant insight into what customers demand from their online experiences. Rather than lamenting the demise of organic reach, advertisers and marketers should pay attention to these signals that customers are sending.
It’s likely that these trends towards more interactive, dynamic ads will only become more prevalent in the coming years. While Facebook may have transformed into an exclusively ad-based network, marketers should still stay on board and see how it evolves in the coming years.