Facebook to make side-bar ads much bigger, similar aspect ratio to News Feed ads

While Facebook has said that the ads will be larger, there will be fewer of them, thereby not overwhelming a user's page view.
By Ananth Baliga  |  April 9, 2014 at 4:44 PM
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MENLO PARK, Calif., April 9 (UPI) -- Facebook has said it will update and increase the size of ads appearing in the right-hand column of its Web site, hoping to increase engagement among users.

The new side-bar ads, which will be visible later this month, will have the same aspect ratio as the ads appearing in the News Feed, only smaller. This means that advertisers can use the same ad for both sections without having to re-format the ads. And because they are larger, Facebook will presumably charge more for them.

“For advertisers, this means a simpler way to create ads and an enhanced visual creative canvas on the right-hand column of Facebook,” the company wrote in a blog post.

The side-bar ads have been a problem for Facebook in the past and have been seen as a nuisance. With the larger ads, Facebook hopes to make them more appealing to both users and advertisers and says that initial testing showed a three fold increase in engagement.

In replicating its News Feed ad format, the right-hand column will have ideas with better quality and ones that are more noticeable. The side-bar ads have had a gotten a reputation for being less than striking or eye-catching.

"Facebook has been promising for a while that it will discontinue the rather cheesy ads it's been running in the right-hand bar," said Altimeter digital advertising and media analyst Rebecca Lieb. "This new product is more premium and I'd venture a guess that it will prove more effective too."

The change will only appear on the desktop version of the site, since the right-hand column does not appear on the mobile version. The social network's advertising business grew 76 percent year-over-year to $2.34 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013.

[Facebook Blog] [CNET]

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