Facebook announced today that it is cutting the number of ad units it offers to marketers in half. Actually, they have 27 different ad units right now, and when all is said and done, it will be less than half of that (the exact number was unspecified). The company says that many of its offerings accomplish the same goals, so they're eliminating some redundancies.
The reduction will not happen all at once, but over the course of the next six months.
For one, they'll be getting rid of the Questions product for Pages with the reasoning that marketers can just ask questions in posts and get answers in the comments. The company canned Facebook Questions for users back in October.
They're also getting rid of the online Offer product, saying that marketers have found that a Page post link ad is more effective for driving people to deals on their own sites. These particular changes will occur in July.
Facebook says it wants to include the best of sponsored stories in all ads.
"Previously, to get the best social context available, advertisers had to purchase sponsored stories in addition to ads," says Facebook's Fidji Simo. "In the future, for example, when you create a Page post photo ad, we will automatically add social context to boost performance and eliminate the extra step of creating sponsored stories. We know social enhances ad resonance; people are influenced by this type of word-of-mouth marketing. Research from Nielsen, comScore, and Datalogix shows that social context can drive awareness and return on ad spend, so we want to make it easier to add it to our ads."
These changes will take place this fall. More immediately, Facebook is looking to make its ad units more consistent.
"We want to have a more consistent visual display of our ads across all marketer objectives and Facebook placements," says Simo. "This will reduce the number of ad formats and make the ad creation process much simpler for advertisers who run multiple campaigns or want to test which ad creative performs the best. We think this will ultimately help advertisers optimize their campaigns across desktop and mobile. A consistent look and feel to our ads will also be a better overall experience for people on Facebook."
These changes will start later this month.