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Facebook to Refresh Ads In Effort to Boost Their Relevance

Facebook is simplifying its ad formats, which could mean less annoying targeted ads are in the offing.

A couple months ago, an ad featuring a picture of a sunglasses-clad Boo, the “world’s cutest dog,” appeared on the righthand side of my Facebook News Feed. “Isn’t he stylish?” asked the ad copy, which was for a website called Fabdates.com. “Find men as classy and adorable as this. Have them take you on fancy dates. On us.” Below that was an ad for Mormon Newsroom, which is the official news site for the Mormon church.

For me, at least, Facebook ads don’t always hit their target.

I like cute dogs, and I like news, but I wasn’t interested in either of those ads, and I didn’t understand how my Facebook activity would indicate that I might be.

Fortunately, this might be getting better soon–Facebook said Thursday that in the coming months it is eliminating more than half of its 27 different advertising formats, such as ads that allow brands to ask questions (since companies can also just do this in a normal page post), in an effort to cut out redundancies and make it easier for advertisers to figure out the best way to get their messages across. The company will also start having advertisers determine their objective for their campaign from the get-go, for which Facebook can suggest a set of ad formats, rather than having advertisers move through a long series of steps that begins with picking an ad format.

The hope is that making things less confusing for advertisers should make it easier for advertisers to target the right consumers, leading (hopefully) to more relevant ads.

“All this stuff is great for advertisers, but I really think a lot better for users, too,” said Brian Boland, director of product marketing.

Of course, these changes aren’t just meant to make it easier for brands to advertise on Facebook and more enjoyable for consumers to see (and, presumably, respond to) these ads–they’re meant to enhance Facebook’s bottom line. Chances are, we’ll get a better idea of how this is going by keeping an eye on our News Feeds and checking out the next few quarterly reports.

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Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

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