Facebook to Shrink Mobile News Feed Ads: What It Means for Advertisers
Starting August 29th, you can expect to see Facebook mobile ads shrink down dramatically, but is that a good thing for social media marketing?
First off, let’s review the technical details: Later this summer, Facebook will cut visible text on ads in the mobile News Feed from seven lines to just three with the option to click to see more. The maximum aspect ratio for media will also be decreasing from 2:3 to 4:5. Media taller than the new maximum height will be masked.
What does this mean for Facebook advertisers? Basically, advertisers are going to need to get used to doing more with less. With fewer visible words per ad, they’ll need get better at expressing their message concisely and grabbing people’s attention in just one or two sentences, and honestly, that’s not a bad thing.
It’s no secret that Facebook has been hemorrhaging younger users, with usage among 12-34-year-olds down 17% in the last two years. As an audience that is especially averse to traditional advertising, this reduction in ad space may be good news to the Millennial and Gen Z demographics. Last year, Facebook also changed their algorithm to prioritize content from personal connections, rather than brands and publishers. Facebook’s ability to improve user experience through these types of changes will likely be a key factor in whether or not the social platform can prevent more users from heading for the door.
Instead of bemoaning the decrease in Facebook mobile ad space, advertisers should be celebrating this latest decision to make the platform more engaging for users. After all, advertising doesn’t work if your audience is checked out. We must remember that people don’t log on to social media to see advertisements, and we aren’t entitled to their attention. We have to earn it. If you can’t win a person’s attention within the first two sentences, maybe you didn’t deserve that recognition in the first place.
So, ahead of next month’s changes, here’s your homework:
- Edit media to ensure it not only fits the new 4:5 aspect ratio requirement but is also effective in commanding users’ attention within that limited space.
- Revise copy to concisely and effectively tell a compelling story in as few words as possible.
Saying more with less is an art. You need to choose your words and images more carefully when you know that space is limited. However, the result—a quick, instantly recognizable message that cuts through the noise—is often much more impactful than something with a higher word count. And, hey, maybe these changes to Facebook mobile ads will be just the thing to teach certain advertisers a valuable lesson in brevity.