/// Facebook’s Ad Plans Are Still Under Construction
Shutterstock/Uros Zunic When Facebook was getting ready to go public last year, it told investors that advertising on the social network was a work in progress . Which meant it didn’t really know the best way to turn its hundreds of millions of users into ad dollars — even though it was already generating billions of ad dollars. Turns out, you can’t accuse the Facebook folks of false advertising. Today the company is overhauling its ad strategy in the name of “simplification” — and in turn, dumping lots of products and tactics they’ve announced over the past couple years. That means it’s going to trim down a list of 27 different ad units it sells today (though getting Facebook executives to explain exactly what they are cutting leads to unintentionally comical responses ). And instead of asking advertisers to pick an ad unit, it will ask them to tell Facebook what they want to accomplish, and then Facebook will help them figure out the best approach. Sort of like telling a waiter that you’re in the mood for fish, I think. The bigger point, which Facebook is reluctant to spell out in language that a normal human could understand, is that it has been changing its overall approach to ad-selling. That is: Instead of arguing that Facebook ads should be different than regular ads, because they’re “social”, they are letting marketers buy traditional ads, and layer “social context” on top of them, if they want to. This is a shift from the messaging Facebook was pushing, with great fanfare, in the spring of 2012, after it rented out New York’s Museum of Natural History . Back then, it was telling marketers that their ads should really be “content” that users would share on their own. If advertisers wanted to, they could amplify their results by buying more reach. New model: Buy ads on Facebook.
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Facebook’s Ad Plans Are Still Under Construction