Facebook’s Prototype Mobile Ad Format: A Perfect Mix of Branding, Direct Response

The new iteration of Facebook mobile ads marks another step in the company’s evolution towards serving all content within the Facebook app without taking the user outside of the Facebook ecosystem.

Facebook chief product officer Chris Cox showcased a preview of what the social network’s future mobile ad format could look like at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, and the first impressions are that the new mobile ad format will be more aesthetically pleasing than current Facebook mobile ads.

Similarly, the concept will enable more interactive ads that can blend video with static and moving images and information. But the real kicker is that the new mobile ad formats won’t require users to leave Facebook.

Alhough the social media giant’s vision of rejuvenated mobile ad formats is in its early stages, it highlights how the company is moving in the right direction by investing more in mobile and video. Here are five things Facebook got right with its prototype mobile ad format:

  1. Users don’t have to leave Facebook: The new iteration of Facebook mobile ads marks another step in the company’s evolution toward serving all content within the Facebook application without taking the user outside of the Facebook ecosystem. Encouraging users to spend more time in the app engaging with ads will result in a higher quality of traffic and better campaign conversion for advertisers.
  2. It’s more user-friendly: Facebook has streamlined the user experience with mobile ads. There will be fewer steps involved in the user’s journey when researching and experiencing a product or service, resulting in an expected higher conversion rate.
  3. Form follows function, part I: The new Facebook mobile ad format is a natural evolution of the multiproduct ad formats that many e-commerce brands now utilize for their mobile apps. The purpose of these multiproduct app environments is to enhance the user’s experience and familiarity before purchasing. If Facebook follows through with this revolutionized ad format, it will augment its ongoing efforts to provide more advanced e-commerce mobile advertising solutions.
  4. Form follows function, part II: One of the main challenges in the mobile advertising industry is the fact that users spend a significant amount of their time searching and exploring on their mobile devices, while the actual final purchase is still done via desktop. In fact, only 15 percent to 20 percent of searches that occur on a mobile device result in final purchases, The new Facebook mobile ad format should alleviate this problem by making the touch point between the advertiser and consumer much more accessible for mobile users.
  5. Mobile video advertising on Facebook is here to stay: With the strong presence of video in the mocked-up Facebook ads Cox presented at Cannes and the attribution model insights, this ad unit is another demonstration of the convergence between the branding and direct response world–a trend that has been building momentum for some time on Facebook. Now, Facebook is set to offer advertisers even more ways of bridging the gap between awareness and affinity and actual sales.

Over the past 18 months, Facebook has done an admirable job of matching advertisers’ growing demands for more targeted desktop and mobile ad solutions with users’ demands for clean, simple site and app functionality that isn’t cluttered with irrelevant ads and content. With its possible new mobile ad format, Facebook appears to have captured the best of both worlds for a user experience that will help drive more time in-app and more sales opportunities for advertisers.

David Serfaty is vice president of social advertising at Matomy Media Group, a global digital performance-based advertising company. He can be contacted at david.s@matomy.com.