Some of the facebook advertisers were selected to beta test the new facebook ads manager. I am sure there will be more changes before it goes live for everyone, but here is a sneak peak and my initial impressions.
First a rundown on what’s not in there.
The biggest restriction for running facebook ads is still the speed of loading multiple new ads. This was not handled in the new beta. If you are not familiar with facebook ads, there are many, many variables. Even if you decide to test 3 different titles, with three different images, three different ad copy options, to three different age groups, in three different cites, you will have 3 x 3 x 3 x 3 x 3 possible ads which means you will have 243 different combinations. Because the ad platform is all server based, each time you move to the next screen it takes up to a minute to load, depending on the speed of your internet connection etc. So to run 243 ads will take you at a minimum 500 minutes, or close to 10 hours.
There are software programs that are sold that do this automatically, but the problem is that they are against facebooks terms of service, and they only allow a few variables, and have not allowed for the variables I personally want to test. There are so many demographic different variables to test in facebook advertising, that the options could easily be in the millions when you start adding them up. I am sure this will be handled in later versions of the ads manager, just not yet.
That being said the new ads manager is a huge step in the right direction. In the current ads manager, pre beta, once you have been running ads for a while, you will have pages and pages of campaigns. To navigate to find a certain ad or adgroup would require clicking through multiple pages looking for your ad, which could take a while if your pages are slow to load. Now there is a table of contents that you can slide up and down to find a specific group. You can also sort the adgroups by different variables to more quickly find the one you want. There is also an onthe fly search box to search for ad names that is similar to the search box you use to find facebook friends.
There are also selection boxes next to each campaign in the campaign view, where you can edit entire campaigns, multiple campaigns, or even every campaign, and with a few clicks can change all the daily limits, whether they are active or inactive.
There is also an easy way to change the name of a campaign from this screen which is nice to get them to alphabetize a certain way, assign them a number to keep track of them, or even just to correct the errors you made when you created them.
The graph at the bottom still is a little counter-intuitive to me, in terms of how to scale it. Mine usually is off the scale and appears blank, and honestly I still have not figured out to use it.
One of the nice features is the ability to click on the top of the column, such as campaign, status, budget etc. and have all the campaigns sorted that way. One notable point of that is the ability to bring all the active campaigns up to the top where you can see them, and push all the deleted and paused campaigns, down out of the way.
Below is an image from one of my accounts.
Because of the massive number of variables there are to choose from when running facebook ads, and the fact that they keep adding on more and more, means that it is going to be a while before you will be able to easily manage all aspects of large numbers of campaigns. If you combine this with the fact that facebook is obsessed with quality, and a great user experience, it would not surprise me if we don’t see the ability to manage even most of the variables in large groups for a year or more from now.
Once you are inside a campaign you can also change the ad name easily without having to reload screens.
Once you are in the screens to create a new ad, the screens seem identical.
While I am stating my wish list, I would like to see a listing of possible keywords. I got the list of the top facebook profile keywords, but this obviously changes over time. I would also like to see a list of neighborhoods available.
This new facebook ads manager is a huge step forward, appears to work flawlessly, and will cut down the time of managing large numbers of campaigns dramatically. Facebook is doing an amazing job of keeping their software really clean, intuitive, and pretty bug free.
As a final note, take a look at the volume of searches for facebook advertising vs. myspace advertising vs. google advertising. While not a complete story, it does give some insight to the amount of interest in the subject.
If you need help with facebook ads, just give me a holler.