Facebook plans to upgrade its premium ads on February 29, according to leaked reports obtained by GigaOm. The new format will be unveiled at the company's first marketing conference, fMC, scheduled for that date.
What the New Ads Will Look Like
The documents show that the new premium ads should deliver a 40% increase in engagement, an 80% increase in retention, and a 16% increase in fan rate. They will replace Premium Like, Premium Event, Video Comment and Premium Roll, according to Zdnet. Premium Standard ads and Marketplace ads will still be available.
Farming Content for Ads
The documents point to a format that will give marketers far greater leeway in turning content posted to their Facebook Page into an ad. Content that is turned into a Premium Ad, Zdnet believes, based on the documents, can be targeted to any Facebook user, and not just people who have Liked a Page.
According to the published documents, this is how the ad format will work:
A marketer can choose from six kinds of Page posts: status updates, videos, links, questions and events. An ad is then created from the content of the Page post. "Anything you can post on your Page, you can turn into an ad to appear in the right hand column."
In addition, if the person viewing ad has friends who are also fans of the Page, Facebook will automatically expand the ad with enhanced social context about those friends, "at no extra cost".
Fans viewing the ad will also see an expanded interface below it that lets them Like or comment on the post directly from the ad.
Timeline and Mobile
Facebook is also expected to announce a Timeline for Brands feature and a mobile ad offering in the near future, probably at this same conference.
Currently Timeline is only available for user profiles, but Ad Age recently reported that brand pages will launch in beta soon and then be released to more marketers in stages.
Waiting for Mobile
Perhaps the most anticipated development from Facebook, however, will be its mobile ad offering. The Financial Times has reported that Facebook will launch a mobile ad format this March. It will be a unique ad format on mobile, probably following the same model as Featured Stories, it said. Other models might be based on rich media such as video and potentially exploiting the narrow geographical targeting of its users.
This article follows a report last year from Bloomberg, citing unnamed sources, which said that the company is considering putting Facebook's Sponsored Stories ads within the mobile News Feed. It too cited March as the delivery date.