Facebook kills some redundant ad units

The social network says it's been listening to what advertisers want, so it's consolidating some forms of advertising.

Donna Tam Staff Writer / News
Donna Tam covers Amazon and other fun stuff for CNET News. She is a San Francisco native who enjoys feasting, merrymaking, checking her Gmail and reading her Kindle.
Donna Tam
2 min read
Facebook Ads Product Manager Fidji Simo speaks about consolidating ad products. Donna Tam/CNET

MENLO PARK, Calif. -- Facebook wants to make it less confusing for marketers to advertise on the social network, so it's killing some ad units and consolidating others, the company announced Thursday.

"What we want to do is take the guesswork out of the process," Fidji Simo, a product manager for ads, said during a press event at Facebook's headquarters. The company is rolling out several changes in the next couple of months to its 27 types of advertising, including the elimination of Facebook questions, online local offers, and the individual page posts ads.

Facebook is consolidating page post ads from three advertising units to one. Facebook

The simplified advertising means a more effective process for marketers and, in turn, more relevant ads for users, Product Marketing Director Brian Boland said. He highlighted the campaigns of several brands, including Lysol, Hotel Tonight, Jack Threads, and Canada-based SportsCheck, and how they were successful at targeting specific demographics and audiences.

Advertising is what keeps Facebook free for users -- and makes the company money -- so it's key to Facebook's business plan. That importance was highlighted Thursday when COO Sheryl Sandberg dropped by to listen in on the announcement.

In the last year, Facebook has tried out several advertising initiatives and features, including ads that track users, promoted pages for small businesses, and mobile ads. The company said during its first-quarter report this year that mobile ads were doing well, bringing in 30 percent of the company's advertising revenue. eMarketer says it expects the social network to make $1.53 billion off mobile ads this year, an increase from $470 million last year and part of an estimated $5.61 billion in total ad revenue for 2013.

Facebook is eliminating questions from the ad units since marketers are choosing to ask the questions with photos instead. Facebook

Simo said the new changes are a result of Facebook working with marketers' feedback.

For questions, Facebook found that marketers were using regular photo posts to ask their audience questions. For online offers, which creates offers for local businesses, advertisers were simply linking to their Web site instead of using the online local offers ad unit. Facebook will now eliminate questions and online offers. But, Simo said, the local offers for in-store purchases, yet another ad unit, will remain.

When it comes to ads that show when a friend likes or comments on a page post, or that show just a page post, Facebook advertisers have to buy three separate ad units. In the future, there will be only one page post ad, which will have the likes and comments included.

Update, 2:03 p.m. PT: Adds revenue estimates from eMarketer and more details.