Facebook to streamline ad platform

Facebook announced today that it’s reducing the number of available ad products from 27 to less than half that amount over the next six months.

While the “streamlining” was characterized as a work in progress, one thing that’s on the chopping block is “sponsored stories” as a standalone product.  Facebook is also intending to redesign the ads interface to focus on “objectives” — such as mobile app installs, online sales and foot traffic — rather than a menu of ad product types that are potentially confusing for marketers.

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While cutting the clutter of redundant ad units may help advertisers zero in on what’s truly useful for their business, retiring “sponsored stories” as a brand also marks Facebook taking another small step away from its past reliance on social ads to explain its value to marketers. In its new vision presented today, social context is one ingredient in the Facebook ads cocktail, but it’s no longer a standalone ad product.

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Why I’m curious:

Facebook’s future relies on establishing itself as an effective ad platform.  This attempt to optimize its ad offerings is clearly based on brands’ feedback and behavior on the platform.  As social marketers, we know that seamless integration of content and brand is more effective than disruptive ads.  This initiative by Facebook allows brands to push content more naturally on users’ feeds.

I wonder how this will affect edge rank.

On a side note, Tumblr’s new ad offering also seamlessly fits into users’ home feed.  It seems like the trend for ad platforms is seamless integration.  When will Pinterest start offering paid pins?  Is Instagram going to start rolling out ads and start monetizing?  I’m curious to see how ads evolve on social platforms.

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