Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not a subscriber? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Rachel Metz

A View from Rachel Metz

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.

  • June 6, 2013

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.

Want to go ad free? No ad blockers needed.

Become an Insider
Already an Insider? Log in.
Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to MIT Technology Review.
  • Print + All Access Digital {! insider.prices.print_digital !}* Best Value

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    The best of MIT Technology Review in print and online, plus unlimited access to our online archive, an ad-free web experience, discounts to MIT Technology Review events, and The Download delivered to your email in-box each weekday.

    See details+

    12-month subscription

    Unlimited access to all our daily online news and feature stories

    6 bi-monthly issues of print + digital magazine

    10% discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Access to entire PDF magazine archive dating back to 1899

    Ad-free website experience

    The Download: newsletter delivery each weekday to your inbox

    The MIT Technology Review App

  • All Access Digital {! insider.prices.digital !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    The digital magazine, plus unlimited site access, our online archive, and The Download delivered to your email in-box each weekday.

    See details+

    12-month subscription

    Unlimited access to all our daily online news and feature stories

    Digital magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Access to entire PDF magazine archive dating back to 1899

    The Download: newsletter delivery each weekday to your inbox

  • Print Subscription {! insider.prices.print_only !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six print issues per year plus The Download delivered to your email in-box each weekday.

    See details+

    12-month subscription

    Print magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    The Download: newsletter delivery each weekday to your inbox

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.