Facebook has quietly rolled out new changes to how ads are created through the Facebook Ad Creation Tool in Facebook's user interface. The Ad Creation Tool is currently the primary method of creating Facebook ads outside of Facebook’s Power Editor or through Facebook’s API.
We have noticed the changes have taken effect in new Facebook advertising accounts (or “grey accounts”) and have not yet rolled into accounts that were already active when these new changes went live. The new tool includes a step-by-step guide that customizes the input fields by what information you have already entered.
The first step is the Destination. Facebook prompts you to choose from an External URL, your Facebook Page, and your Domain (if your domain is linked to Facebook).
Create an ad with an External URL as the destination:
If you choose to enter an External URL, Facebook will automatically suggest a headline and text. It is important to make sure that the headline and body copy text you decide to use is within Facebook’s character limit and meet Facebook’s advertising standards.
Once you have made the appropriate changes to your headline, body text, and chosen an image, you are then able to refine your target audience. The only real change made to the targeting options is that you are now able to use Precise Interests with Broad Category targeting. In the past, the two were mutually exclusive.
After narrowing your target audience, you are now prompted to enter an "objective". Facebook defines the objective as “the goals that you have for your ad or sponsored story.” They also explain that the Facebook system will “optimize your ad or sponsored story’s delivery by showing it to the people who are most likely to take the action you select as your objective”. The available objectives change depending on the featured destination.
In addition to Facebook’s definition, it is also important to note that what objective you choose will change your pricing structure. If you choose “like my Page”, you will be billed on a CPM model (cost per thousand impressions). If you choose “click on my ad or sponsored story”, you will be billed on a CPC (cost per click) model.
Create an ad with a Facebook Page as the destination:
So, let’s take a step back to the destination. If instead of choosing an external URL we choose a Facebook Page, we are presented with a new box asking what we want to promote. We are given the option to promote the Facebook Page or a specific post on the Facebook Page.
If we choose to promote a specific post, we are immediately asked to choose our ad creative, the target audience, our objective, and billing procedures. If we choose to promote the Facebook Page, we are then presented with more options.
At this point, we can either create an ad where we choose the creative or we can set up a Page Like Sponsored Story. If we choose a new ad about the page, we are immediately asked to choose our ad creative (with a Facebook generated headline), the target audience, the objective, and the billing procedures. If we choose stories about their friends liking the page, we don’t choose creative but instead choose a target audience, objective, and billing procedures.
Create an ad with my Domain as the destination:
If you have your domain linked to Facebook, you are given the option to use your domain as a destination. Once that option is chosen, you are immediately prompted to enter an optional URL tag to better track traffic coming to your domain from Facebook, the target audience, your objective, and your billing procedures.
While there aren’t many fundamental changes to the Ad Creation tool, the updates seem to be an attempt to make the ad creation process easier for advertisers moving forward. It is unclear if these changes will be applied retroactively to accounts that are already active. For those of you who have used the Facebook Ad Creation Tool in the past, do you find the new creation flow easier to understand?