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Facebook’s Stories are officially being monetized, as the social network announces new ads within their latest big feature.

The rising popularity of Facebook’s stories has been a slow growth. It has taken approximately 14 months since the launch of the feature to reach 150 million daily views.

To put that in context, Instagram’s Stories reached the same milestone within five months. Since then, Instagram Stories have continued growing to reach more than 300 million daily users.

Of course, now that Facebook has amassed a sizable audience for the feature, Search Engine Journal reports the platform is adding ads to Stories.

Facebook began testing ads in Stories earlier this month in North America and Brazil earlier this month. The ads consist of 5-to-15 second video clips, which can be skipped by simply taping through to the next story.

Compared to most of Facebook’s offerings, these new ads are relatively bare-bones. There is no click-through, no call-to-action, or any of the other ad features you are used to. However, Facebook plans to add those soon.

Along with the launch of Story ads, Facebook is working on bringing more detailed analytics about the performance of Stories to businesses, to help monitor your investment.

If you already have Story ads running on Instagram, you can automatically migrate them to Facebook. Or, you can let Facebook automatically format your news feed ads for the Story feature, including a color-matched border and text at the bottom.

Facebook’s Instant Articles are touted as being the fastest way to deliver content on the web. They are even supposed to be faster than Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages, which similarly streamline content to load as quickly as possible on mobile devices.

There’s just one problem: no one seems to be using them.

Even big publishers that initially led the charge to Instant Articles have slowly started dropping the service, opting instead to use regular content hosted on their website or relying solely on Google’s AMP platform.

This week, Facebook made strides to attract publishers back to Instant Articles by announcing new ways to implement ads and monetize content shared on their fast-loading pages.

The ads are designed to be minimally invasive, only appearing within the “Related Articles” section appearing below the full articles. The company has been testing these ads since March of this year, and say they provide an “incremental increase” in the amount of revenue generated by Instant Articles, according to a blog post shared on Thursday.

As you can see in the image above, the ads look similar to most advertisements across Facebook. They put the focus on a large image, with a small bit of descriptive text and a link. For now, videos aren’t allowed but that could potentially change in the future.

The main difference between these ads and standard Facebook News Feed ads is they now appear at the bottom of the page among links to other articles, instead of in your feed.

There is one catch, however. To include the new ads in the “Related Articles” section of Instant Articles, you must also be a part of Facebook’s Audience Network.

Interestingly, Facebook says the ads can be used for virtually anything – not just branded content. The only requirement is that the ads link directly to a landing page.

While the ads may bring publishers back to using Instant Articles, the advertisers themselves may be less happy about the new ad placement. Advertisers who opt-in to placing their ads in Instant Articles can’t control whether they are prominently placed above the ad or within the “Related Articles” section at the bottom. The good news is, they can choose to block specific publishers or types of content from including their ads. That means you can at least be sure your ads aren’t appearing alongside questionable or objectionable content that could hurt your image.

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Facebook has been expanding their advertising service across every aspect of their platform for years, but one area has remained completely ad-free for users despite this – until now.

Facebook has officially launched ads within its Messenger app with ad bots.

The company has been testing sponsored messages since April, and now it has announced it is opening the messaging app’s ad format to all brands using Messenger’s developer tools to manage their chats.

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The ads are pretty much exactly like the format they have been testing, with straightforward ad messages. However, you can’t spam out ads to everybody. You can only show sponsored messages to those who “have an open, existing conversation with” a brand, according to Facebook.

To help with this limitation, the company says it is also allowing advertisers to create ads that link directly to their Messenger account to spark more conversations with brands.

The ads are also limited to just one link and photo. Unlike most Facebook ads, sponsored message campaigns also cannot be modified to automatically run on Facebook or Instagram.

In another departure from Facebook’s normal ad formats, the company says it will charge advertisers anytime the ad appears on a Messenger user’s screen in their Messenger Inbox – even if it is never opened.

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Earlier this year, Facebook was excited to announce that over three million businesses actively advertise on their social ad network. Now, just seven months later, the company has added another million businesses to that number.

In comparison, Facebook’s biggest competition in the social advertising field, Twitter, only took in a little over 130,000 advertisers in the fourth quarter of 2015. The Facebook-owned social platform Instagram announced last week that it has reached 500,000 brands purchasing ads each month, more than doubling from around 200,000 in February 2016.

Really, the only ad network that counters the size of Facebook’s is Google, and they no longer say how many advertisers are active on their network.

While the highlight of Facebook’s advertising announcement was the overall growth in advertisers, they also highlighted just how big of a factor mobile is in their ad network. Not only do more than 80% of Facebook’s advertising revenue come from ads shown on smartphones and tablets, but approximately 40% of Facebook’s active advertisers also have created ads on mobile devices.

Another major player in Facebook’s ad network is video advertising. More than 20% of Facebook’s active advertisers have purchased video ads, and over four million new video ads are created on Facebook every month.

While every social network has its benefits, it is hard to argue with the sheer size of Facebook’s ad network. No other social platform gives you the massive audience and versatile tools that make Facebook ads so popular with advertisers.

Source: Jhaymesisviphotography / Flickr

Source: Jhaymesisviphotography / Flickr

Online advertising is something many people hate. While some brands make it their effort to provide valuable ads in an un-intrusive format, it seems like the majority of websites and advertisers would rather bombard you with full-page interstitials, auto-playing video ads, and pop-ups no matter where you look.

That is likely going to change soon.

The biggest names in online advertising, including Facebook and Google, have joined together to improve digital ads in response to the rise of ad-blocking and widespread public dissatisfaction with ads.

The Coalition for Better Ads was unveiled this week at the Dmexco conference in Cologne, Germany. The group’s founding members include not just Facebook and Google, but several huge advertisers like Procter & Gamble, Unilever, and The Washington Post. According to a report from AdWeek, the coalition also includes the 4As, the Association of National Advertisers, the World Federation of Advertisers, GroupM, and the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

While the new coalition could mean big changes are coming to online advertising, don’t expect anything in the immediate future. For now, the coalition says they plan to monitor and evaluate the quality of online ads with technology being developed at the IAB’s Tech Lab, which will score ads on several factors including creative and load time.

From there, the group will develop new standards using this data and other feedback from consumers and marketers.

“It is essential that industry create standards to assure that consumers get safe, fast, secure delivery of the sites and services they love,” said IAB CEO Randall Rothenberg.

The announcement comes just days after AdBlock Plus, the biggest ad blocker on the market, unveiled a new “Acceptable Ads” program, which will function as an ad exchange that sells ads to brands looking to work around the software distributed by the company. The announcement of the Acceptable Ads service claimed it would be working with Google and AppNexus to distribute ads, however, both companies have since disavowed their relationship with AdBlock Plus and its new business strategy.

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Your site’s speed on mobile devices will soon be a factor deciding how many people see your Facebook ads, according to an announcement from the social network this week.

In Facebook’s words:

“Over the coming months, we’re working to improve ad experiences for people by considering website performance and a person’s network connection in our ad auction and delivery system.”

While it isn’t clear exactly how site speed and page performance will be implemented into Facebook’s algorithm for displaying ads, the social network is already introducing features to help brands deliver content more quickly across Facebook.

In addition to the use of Accelerated Mobile Pages, Facebook is introducing prefetching to help users see the content they are interested in as quickly as possible. This week’s announcement explains that prefetching starts loading mobile content in the Facebook in-app browser before a user ever clicks a link.

According to their estimates, this speeds up mobile site load time by as much as 29 percent and decreases the rate of site abandonment during the loading process.

The new Facebook help page dedicated to prefetching goes a bit more in-depth about how the system actually works:

“For each News Feed mobile ad, Facebook attempts to predict how likely a person is to click on an ad. If the prediction score meets the requirements, we prefetch the initial HTML page when the story first appears on a person’s screen. This content is cached locally on the person’s device for a short amount of time. If the person clicks on the ad, Facebook loads the initial page from the cache. The initial page then makes regular web requests to the publisher’s server to load the remainder of the page. We currently only cache the initial HTML page. Keep in mind that the CSS, Javascript or images on the website are not cached.”

Ultimately, Facebook’s changes are aimed at improving their overall ad performance and increasing engagement with ads. Advertisers with slow-performing sites tend to also underperform in many ad metrics.

While Facebook’s new feature will improve content delivery speed across the board, the company also offered five tips for tuning up your site:

  • Minimizing landing page redirects, plugins and link shorteners
  • Compressing files to decrease mobile rendering time
  • Improving server response time by utilizing multi-region hosting
  • Using a high-quality Content Delivery Network to reach audiences quickly
  • Removing render-blocking javascript

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Facebook operates one of the largest ad services on the internet and they claim they have finally figured out how to beat ad blockers with two new changes to their ad platform.

To start, the company has announced they have created a way to get past ad blocking extensions on desktop to show ads to everyone who visits their site – even if they don’t want to see them. The company was unwilling to say how they have accomplished this, but most likely they have created a way to ‘cloak’ their ads so they are not able to be targeted and blocked by popular ad blockers.

While Facebook is blocking ad blockers on desktop devices only, they are most likely working to do the same on mobile in the near future.

To compensate for this, Facebook is trying to make sure the ads users see are more relevant and useful to their lives by giving new control over what ads are shown in their news feeds.

The new ad control tool was released today and lets users add or remove interests from an “ad preferences” list to show what topics they are most interested in.

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“When they’re relevant and well-made, ads can be useful, by helping us find new products and services and introducing us to new experiences—like an ad that shows you your favorite band is coming to town or an amazing airline deal to a tropical vacation,” Andrew Bosworth, VP of ads and business platform for Facebook, wrote in a blog post. “But because ads don’t always work this way, many people have started avoiding certain websites or apps, or using ad blocking software, to stop seeing bad ads. These have been the best options to date.

To help refine their ad service, Facebook commissioned research firm Ipsos MORI to survey users from around the world to determine why users are ad blockers have become so popular. The majority of those surveyed said the main reason they started using ad blockers was because advertising often disrupted their browsing experience.

“While people want a personalized online experience, they dislike ads that are disruptive, however personalized,” wrote Adam Isaacson, research director of Ipsos Connect. “Those that block the content on the page, that pop up with sound and that slow the content on the page were all seen to be disruptive by our qualitative sample.”

The hope of the new changes to Facebook’s advertising service is that giving people more control will make users more interested in the ads their shown and provide a more seamless browsing experience. While many will complain about the move to thwart ad blocking software, the ability to choose what you’re shown will hopefully make the change easier to swallow.

Facebook Video has quickly grown to rival YouTube, so it is unsurprising that video ads have also become a major part of Facebook’s advertising platform. But, as more and more companies share their ads on Facebook, it is becoming significantly more difficult to stand out.

To help companies make the best ads possible for their platform and best engage their audience, Facebook took it upon itself to test out their video ads to see what is best in the eyes of consumers.

Facebook showed 965 video ads targeted to the United States and Europe to a panel of consumers in a way that mimicked Facebook News Feed on mobile and asked the participants to evaluate each ad based on four factors: first impressions, branding, messaging, and video features.

Let’s break down the biggest findings of the report:

Engage Users Fast Without Audio

The majority of marketers aren’t taking how users watch videos into account when they create their ads, according to the report. Despite the fact that videos play silently in the News Feed by default and many users watch without sound entirely, only 24% of the ads were comprehensible without ads.

Additionally, only 23% of these ads included brand messaging that was easy to understand within the first 10 seconds of video and less than half (46%) featured recognizable brand links.

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Brands that ensured their ads quickly established their messaging and were understandable without sound were drastically more popular among respondents than those who didn’t.

Keep Your Messaging Clear To Spark Engagement

Videos that were intended to create a conversation and succinctly communicated a brands’ message were also more liked by participants in the study.

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For more insights from Facebook’s study, read the report here.

While most users still think of Facebook as mostly a way to interact with their friends, post selfies, and share information, many businesses and marketers are starting to realize just how powerful Facebook’s advertising platform is.

While Facebook ads can be an incredibly powerful way to boost your content and your brand’s recognition, it can be hard to stand out among the over 3 million advertisers on the platform.

Creating the perfect ad to rise above the noise and grab the attention of your audience means balancing several different factors, including the optimal amount of text, creating images and videos with the perfect dimensions, and knowing where to best reach users on the page.

For a brand just getting started with Facebook ads, it can all be a little overwhelming. Thankfully, WebpageFX recently shared the infographic below, which details everything you need to know to make the perfect Facebook ad.

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Want to make the perfect Facebook ad for your business and guarantee you reach your audience? TMO can help. Contact us and we can review your advertising efforts and tell you how to optimize them to get the most out of your advertising.

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Facebook is overhauling its Video Metrics section of Page Insights with several new improvements and features to improve how it allows users to track video engagement. To start with, the company is completely redesigning the entire interface to the Video Metrics section. But, it is also launching a few highly requested metrics to better gauge how users are watching videos on the platform.

Since Facebook has launched the video portion of its platform, it has allowed Page owners to track total view counts on videos. However, it did not provide any information on how long people watched for or if they clicked away at some point in the video.

Now, Facebook will display the total minutes viewed watching a video, so Page Owners can tell if they are losing viewers mid-watch and get a better perspective on the effectiveness of their videos. The company says it was the number one most requested feature.

In addition to this, Page owners are also now able to track views more closely with the new 10-Second Views metric, which shows how many viewers watched for at least 10 seconds. This is big for two reasons. On one hand, Facebook has received criticism for counting any view over three seconds in their video counts, compared to YouTube’s harsher 30 second standard for view counts.

The new 10-Second Views metric is also important because Facebook announced last summer that advertisers will only be charged for ad views if their video was watched for more than 10 seconds.

Alongside these view-length metrics, Facebook also rolled out an interesting new metric that gives Page owners a better idea of exactly how users are watching their videos.

Within the Insights view of individual videos, Page owners can see the amount of people that viewed a video with the sound on vs with the sound off. This lets Page owners get an idea of their audience and how their videos are being interacted with.

For example, if the majority of views are coming from users with the sound off, there is a good chance your audience is primarily watching videos at work, school, or in another public space where sound shouldn’t be turned on. You can take this into account with your future ads by being sure to optimize sub-titles and perhaps take a more visual approach with your content.

These changes allow Page owners and advertisers to gain a much deeper insight into how their ads and videos are performing, and that means allowing them to make even better ads and videos for their audience. If you want to make sure your ads are really successful, you should consider giving these new video metrics a look.