Facebook sidebar ads are making a comeback (at last!)

Since Facebook introduced NewsFeed adverts, the right hand column has been made a little redundant. Whilst the past couple of years have seen a growing emphasis on visual...

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Since Facebook introduced NewsFeed adverts, the right hand column has been made a little redundant.

During the past couple of years we’ve seen a growing emphasis on visual content across all the main social networks, but images on Facebook’s sidebar ads have stayed at a measly 100x72px. That’s finally about to change.

Facebook sidebar ads

Unsurprisingly, users have taken very little notice of them and in almost every Facebook ad campaign I’ve managed NewsFeed ads have categorically outperformed them.

Fortunately for marketeers, Facebook is now rolling out sidebar ads with images that are over twice the size of their predecessors. Just as importantly, instead of cramming seven separate ads into a relatively small space Facebook will now display only one or two ads at a time.

Here are the new dimensions you’ll need:

  • Page Post Photo, Link, Offer, Desktop App and Domain Ads: 254×133px
  • Page Post Video Ad: 254×143px
  • Page Like or Event Ad: 254×94px

Another big change is that the 20% rule will now apply to sidebar ads, so no image will be allowed to contain more than 20% text as calculated by Facebook’s rather frustrating grid (below). This will come into play for new ads from August 1st and existing ads from September 1st.

Facebook 20 percent text rule

So, what impact will this have on results?

With Facebook showing significantly fewer ads in the sidebar, we can expect reach to drop and CPM to increase quite significantly. However, we can also expect click-through rates to significantly increase. As always, the key will be to run sidebar ads alongside NewsFeed ads and carefully monitor the results to find out what delivers the best Cost Per Desired Action. I anticipate the two will be much closer from now on.

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