In April, Facebook announced major changes to the way ads displayed in the right-hand column (sidebar). Those changes began rolling out this week and users will soon be seeing larger ads in the sidebar. In this post we’ll review the change and help you plan out your next steps.
How Sidebar Ads Used To Look
Up until this week, ads in the right hand column would only display with a small thumbnail 100×72 image on the left with ad copy on the right. Because they’re so compact, you could see as many as 7 of these ads at one time which led to high impressions with low engagement, relative to other ad types.
The New Sidebar Ads
Now, you’ll begin seeing ads in the sidebar with much bigger images (up to 3x) with the headline and description below it. The idea is that sidebar ads will be similar to your news feed ads, but with scaled down images.
New Image Specs
Here’s how images will displayed in the new format:
- Offers, Desktop Apps, Links (tied to a Page), Domains (no Page)
- News Feed images:1200×627
- Sidebar images: 245×133
- Aspect Ratio: 1.91:1
- Video ads
- News Feed images: 1200×675
- Sidebar images: 245×143
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Page Like and Event ads
- News Feed images: 1200×444
- Sidebar images: 254×94
- Aspect Ratio: 2.7:1
- Photo Ads
- News Feed images: 1200×900
- Sidebar images: 254×133
- Aspect Ratio: varies
How This Impacts You
This change makes sidebar ads more similar to the high-performing news feed ads and Facebook reports they’ve seen increased engagement for advertisers. It also means fewer ads will display in the sidebar so you can expect fewer impressions from your ads in the sidebar as well as higher CPM costs. Still, the higher engagement rates should make up for this.
Your Next Steps
If you’re running ads with 100×72 images in the sidebar now, they’ll continue display until September 1 when all sidebar ads will switch to the larger format exclusively. When you create new ads however, you can optimize them for the newsfeed placement and trust that they maintain the aspect ratio when scaled down for the sidebar.
For more about advertising on Facebook, check out our Guide to Facebook Ads.
Sam is the Director of Online Marketing at InVision and former Director of Marketing at AdStage. Prior to AdStage, he was part of the AdWords product team at Google, serving as the in-house AdWords expert and advisor to product management, engineering, and UX. Prior to that, he personally managed and grew in-house digital marketing programs with over $300,000 in monthly ad spend.
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