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20 Major Facebook Advertising Updates in 2015

Facebook is constantly releasing advertising products and features. It tough to keep track of all the new elements and updates. To help you get the most out of your Facebook advertising campaigns, I’ve compiled a list of all the major changes and features that occurred in 2015. January and December were all quite on the advertising front, but every other month of the year had at least one important announcement. Check out all 20 Facebook advertising updates in 2015 below.

February

Relevancy Score Creation

Facebook began providing a 1 to 10 scaled ad relevancy score, which is based on the positive and negative feedback (likes, comments, shares, etc.) expected from the ad based on its relevancy to the target audience

Dynamic Product Ads Launch

Facebook launched a new ad type, Dynamic Product Ads, which allows ecommerce brands to more easily promote their products on Facebook. Advertisers upload a catalog of products and either manually set targeting, use Custom Audience (i.e., email list or retargeting site visitors) or let Facebook automatically target users. If Facebook manages targeting, ads will shut off automatically when product is out of stock.

Standardization of Impressions Metrics

In an effort to standardize impression metrics and provide more value and transparency, Facebook moved from a "served" impression to a "viewed" impression (vCPM). With this change, advertisers are now only charged when an ad (or any part of an ad) makes an appearance on screen. A served impression, while defined differently by various networks and organizations, is essentially when a user has an "opportunity to see an ad" but not that they actually saw.

Ads Manager App Released

Facebook released an app for managing advertising campaigns on the go. With the new app, you could track ad performance, create new or edit existing ads, edit budgets and schedules, and receive notifications.

March

Topic Data Released

Facebook opened up their firehose of data to a handful of brands through a partnership with DataSift, and released a new insight product called "Topic Data.” Topic Data shows what users are saying on Facebook about events, brands, subjects and activities in an aggregated and anonymized way (so you can't see exactly who said it, just trends about these topics). Data could be used to increase Facebook ad spend on a certain topic, used to stock or tweak products, or make other operational changes.

New Resources for Marketers

Facebook released a few new resources for training and education purposes. Blueprint is a training and certification program that helps marketers learn how to take full advantage of Facebook for their companies and clients. Learn How is an online learning center with videos, images, FAQs and step-by-step instructions for small businesses and marketers.

April

Geo-Targeting Capabilities Update

With this update, advertisers can exclude people by selecting a radius around an address. Additionally, targeting can be set to reach only those that live there, those visiting, or those that recently visited. This was a great addition for travel agencies, visitors bureaus, restaurants, or any businesses looking to maximize their ad spend through customized and highly targeted campaigns.

May

Native Ad Improvements

Facebook released new tools for managing native ads through the audience network. New tools include: templates for creating efficiencies and consistency across fonts, sizes, images, etc.; management tools for automizing campaign optimization; and horizontally scrolling ads, which creates more ad space and opportunities.

Call Now & Get Directions Buttons Released

Two new CTA buttons allow local businesses to drive in-store actions and traffic. Both buttons are found in the bottom right corner of ads. Tapping the “Call Now” opens the user’s phone to dial the business. Tapping “Get Directions” will launch their maps app.

Mobile Carousel Ads

Previously only available on desktop, carousel ads were placed on mobile devices in May of 2015. Carousel ads let advertisers show multiple images and links in one ad unit. Users scroll horizontally through the different images and links.

June

Ad Manager & Power Editor Improvements

Facebook made some major improvements to their clunky Ad Manager and Power Editor interfaces. Ad Manager received metrics reporting, more customization and filtering with regards to reporting and more power for editing campaigns in bulk. Power Editor received a facelift, and some additional functionality for editing and searching across campaigns.  

Lead Ads Pilot Launch

A brand new ad unit, Lead Ads, was released to make filling out forms on mobile easier. User information, such as name and email address, is auto-populated from their Facebook profile. With just two clicks, the user has submitted their information without having to leave Facebook. The pilot program proved so successful, Facebook rolled it out to all advertisers in October.

July

Improved Accuracy of CPC Metric

In the past, Facebook had measured CPC as the cost of any click on a Facebook ad, which included clicking to Like, comment, share, continue reading or visit the site. That changed in July when clicks began getting reported only when users clicked on a link. That link could take them to a site, allow them to install an app, or view a video on another site.

August

Dynamic Product Ads Expansion

Facebook added new features to Dynamic Product Ads, which were first released in February. New features included: cross-selling functionality, which is essentially retargeting to show related products/accessories for a recent purchase; conversion optimizer; and inclusion in Audience Network to sell outside of Facebook.

September

Mobile Ad Format Test

Facebook began testing a new mobile ad unit, which looked like a typical Facebook post, but then opened into a full-screen version that operates like a website, allowing users to scroll through pages of images, videos and text. The mini-site can include links to other content, but Facebook's intention is to host all content on Facebook's app, thus keeping users on the site as much as possible.

Instagram Ads in Power Editor

Instagram ads can now be created from Power Editor or Ads Manager for driving website traffic, app installs, video views and other objectives. You create the ads in the same way you do other Facebook ads, then add Instagram as a channel when setting the ad creative.

Awareness Optimization Feature

Direct response is important for all brands, especially ecommerce, but what about those looking to build awareness of their business? Facebook released a new feature allowing advertisers to optimize their campaigns for increased awareness and brand recall, in addition to driving traffic and sales.

October

Dedicated Shopping Section

Facebook added a dedicated shopping feed section where users can find products outside of their newsfeed that are customized to their unique interests. Only companies involved in Facebook’s Product Page trials were allowed to show products in this new shopping section.

November

Inclusion and Exclusion Targeting

Previously, Facebook only offered "OR" targeting, allowing advertisers to reach people that like Cheetos OR like Oprah. As of November 2015, advertisers can reach people that like both Cheetos AND Oprah with new targeting features. Additionally, they can now exclude certain people that they do not want to reach.

Local Awareness Updates

Two new products allow businesses with multiple locations to more effectively and efficiently manage ad campaigns. For businesses using Location Pages, ads can now dynamically pull in location and business information from each store for more relevant messaging. New Insights allow businesses to see the percentage of people nearby who have seen their ad, and receive other localized data to help optimize campaign delivery.