As if it wasn't enough for Facebook to start affixing ads in every nook possible, now it appears that the social networking site is changing the requirements for ads so as to push even more ads into the extant ad-laden areas. According to a new document laying out the policy, "Premium and Marketplace Product: Specifications and Best Use Cases," ads will not only have a lower maximum character count but also smaller image specs. Anyone wanna take a guess as to why?
Several types of Marketplace ads stand to be affected by the new size requirements, such as ads for Likes, Apps, Events, and Standard ads that drive traffic offsite. Formerly, Facebook required images in ads to be 110 x 80 pixels and restricted text to 135 characters. The new specifications, which will take effect on March 31, will limit ad images to be 99 x 72 pixels and text to 90 characters. Inside Facebook noticed that, although the new specifications aren't technically in place until the end of March, Facebook has already started automatically resizing ad images to 99 x 72.
The new specifications will reduce the size of ads enough that, instead of squeezing six ads into a sidebar, Facebook will be able to cram seven ads into that allotted space. See the scale of images below using the WPN logo. While there isn't any text included next to these images, it should give you an idea of how the new specifications will affect the amount of ads that can be fit into a space.
This recalibration of ad sizes in order to fit more ads onto a Facebook page accompanies the company's decision to begin including ads into users' feeds (so as to monetize the mobile Facebook experience), which was announced at fMC last month. Ahead of Facebook's initial public offering, the company seems to be racing to make every single aspect of the site a potential source of profit. I don't know why they're trying to be subtle about it, though - why stop at seven when you could shave off a few more pixels and wallop users with eight?
The thing is, Facebook was already wildly profitable but it acts like its still got a ton of convincing to do for investors to start throwing money into the company. Unfortunately, Facebook's tactic for convincing those investors carries the consequence of turning your Facebook newsfeed, profile, and all your Facebook relationships into piñatas that they plan to beat to death until some money shakes out of it.