Listen up, advertisers! The age of the right-hand column ad isn’t over just yet. While you may be one of the many advertisers giving up on right-hand column ads as their performances are constantly declining (even though their prices are cheaper), certain elements are shifting — and that may be a good thing.
First, a little background: While right-hand column ads have recently been trumped by News Feed ads, Facebook is unveiling some changes, specifically in the design department. In a recent blog post, Facebook unveiled a revamped look that will make right-hand column ads more consistent with ads that appear in the News Feed. In addition, they will be larger in size and use the same proportions as desktop News Feed ads.
Translation? Things are going to change as Facebook plans to adjust everything from layout to image size. Let’s go over the right-hand column rollout schedule, as well as few elements you need to be aware of:
Phase 1 will reduce the number of slots on the right-hand column from 7 to 3, with availability beginning June 23, 2014. Image size will also increase for those who gain early access. Though the larger size is a good visual for your audience, don’t forget about the major con: While research notes that increased engagement occurs — up to three times more — from people seeing the new design, less people may see your ad overall.
Phase 2 will sunset old format ads. Though some advertisers have already begun seeing the new right-hand column option, all advertisers will effectively be transitioned to the new format on August 22, 2014. Before that date though, Facebook will support both old and new formats.
New Format Specs: Right-hand column ads will have have a new format to adhere to. Among others, here are the new image dimensions and aspect ratios:
Page post photo, Page post link, Offer, Desktop App, and Domain ads
- Image dimensions: 254×133 px
- Consistent aspect ratio: 1.91:1
Page post video ad
- Image dimensions: 254×143 px
- Consistent aspect ratio: 16:9
Page like ad, Event ad
- Image dimensions: 254×94 px
- Consistent aspect ratio: 2.7:1
Getting ready for the new right-hand column ads
Here’s the long and short of the new right-hand column ad format: Over time Impressions will likely decrease due to lower ad displayed. CPM and CPC will slightly increase, but likely not as much as News Feed ads. CTR and overall ads performances will increase due to better visuals.
Though you may believe right-hand column ads aren’t all that great, use this new phase to your advantage. Ultimately, people develop banner blindness to advertising. That is, once they’ve seen a certain formula or advertising tactic a few times, it may not be as effective. However, as soon as a new format is released, early adopters enjoy great advantages as users aren’t used to new format. Therefore they may be more likely to click.
As you can see, there is good and not-so-good associated with the new right-hand column ad. However it’s all in how you approach it. While every situation is different, I encourage you to keep an eye on the new format and start testing it as soon as it’s rolled out to you by Facebook (and of course, AdEspresso will immediately support the new format as well). That way, you’re ahead of the curve and can see how it can work for you!
Let me know what you think about the new and improved right-hand column ads in the comments below!