By Megan Deeter

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Facebook recently announced that they are making changes to the way advertisers are charged for ads that are clicked in their Audience Network placements.  Basically, Facebook will now exclude any clicks in which the user bounces back to their original content within 2 seconds.  What does this mean and why does it matter?  As a Facebook advertiser, you are either paying for impressions or clicks, and if you are paying for clicks, in the past, that meant that any clicks on your ad, in any placement, would be a charge.  However, with this new rule, any ads throughout the Audience Network will require the user to stay on your landing page for longer than 2 seconds in order to be considered a viable click, and thus a charge.

What is the Audience Network?

The Audience Network is a placement option on Facebook, that places your ads on any number of Facebook approved publisher sites that users might be on to view content.  Which sites are these?  We’re not currently told that, however, Facebook is planning on releasing more information on what sites your ads are served by the end of 2017.  The Audience Network is a placement that BellTower highly encourages, as your ads are seen outside the world of Facebook, maximizing your digital advertising dollars by extending your reach into more content.  The lack of transparency has been a problem in the past, but the benefits of this placement outweigh the concerns.

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What is a Bounce Back?

When a user clicks an ad, they go to the landing page for that ad.  Sometimes, the user has clicked the ad on accident, whether because the close [x] button was too small, or they pressed it while scrolling the content.  Typically, the user immediately backs out to their original page, and that’s considered a bounce back.  Bounce backs can be common, and it’s important to watch your bounce back rate on analytics such as Google.  A high bounce back rate could indicate the need for creative revisions, or a poor landing page.  You’d want to make singular changes and continue to test them to discover what’s causing your bounce back.

What Facebook has done with this new announcement is creating a cushion for your advertising dollars, permitting you to save money by not having to pay for bounce backs that occur within 2 seconds.  Not all bounce backs happen in that time, but it does provide some accountability to the advertising platform.

Why is this only on the Audience Network?

There are many options when it comes to ad placement in Facebook, so why is the Audience Network the only one being changed?  Facebook’s rationale is that ads in the Audience Network can sometime suffer from the typical things that cause bounce backs, such as a small close button.  However, in-feed ads, both on desktop and mobile, do not have this same problem because of their design.  These ads are built in a way that aligns them with the regular content of the person’s feed, so there are no close buttons.  A user would see these ads the same as the posts of their friends and family, so it doesn’t look the same as an ad on an article that is clearly an ad.

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One argument here would be that you could still have problems with the user accidentally clicking on ads in-feed, either by just scrolling with their finger, or perhaps by not realizing it was an ad.  While the ads are marked as “sponsored,” those indications are purposely small and easily overlooked.  Therefore, a bounce back on in-feed ads can still occur.  Though Facebook’s argument is that this is less likely than in Audience Network, it would be refreshing to see the social media giant apply this same principle to all placements.

If you are interested in Facebook advertising, or have questions about how we can help your current campaign, please contact us!