Platform News September 2018

Posted on September 26, 2018

Facebook started to update its video metrics, WhatsApp started its Business App for small and medium-sized enterprises and YouTube launched a test of Stories - A lot has happened on the platforms over the past month! Read more about the latest features on Facebook & Co.


Facebook introduced a new ad format, called Playable Ads: It lets users try out a gaming app before they buy and install it. Playable Ads can help advertisers to drive higher-intent installs from people who have experimented with the game and are therefore more likely to play after installing. The new format is available for all advertisers using the app install objective in the Facebook Newsfeed. Along with Playable Ads, Facebook is about to roll out retention optimization and minimum return on ad spend (ROAS) bidding. With retention optimization advertisers can reach users most likely to play their game, helping gaming developers better monetize their apps. While retention optimization is still in testing, Facebook will roll out minimum ROAS bidding soon. It lets advertisers set a minimum spend to find players most likely to make in-app purchases.

Updates to advertising possibilities on WhatsApp: A few months ago, the Facebook owned Messenger WhatsApp started its Business App for small and medium-sized enterprises. The app helps companies to manage their WhatsApp communication. Now, Facebook began to test an API for bigger companies to manage their customer dialog on the messaging platform more effectively. Companies with an API access can make use of notifications, e.g., to send out boarding passes or shipping confirmations. While it is possible to answer client requests within 24 hours for free, the API gives companies the possibility to send Sponsored Messages after 24 hours. This ad format will not be bookable via Ads Manager. Analogous to Click to Messenger Ads, Facebook will roll out Click to WhatsApp Ads. The new format opening a conversation within WhatsApp will be available within the Ads Manager and is supposed to be rolled out in September.

Rollout of Instant Articles as a standalone placement: Facebook’s placement option Instant Articles where ads are shown within publisher content on the platform was until now only available as part of Placement Optimization. It can now be chosen as a standalone placement within campaigns. Nevertheless, it is still recommended to use Instant Articles within Placement Optimization, along with other placements to better optimize the delivery of your campaigns.

Facebook introduced three updates to Split Testing: First, it is now possible to use Split Testing for the Brand Awareness Objective. Second, split tests can be carried out for campaigns that are already running to constantly improve the results. Third, advertisers can test more than one variable at the same time (e.g., which creative works best for which audiences?).

Facebook started to update its video metrics: The platform removed old metrics and added new metrics for advertisers. Known metrics like the 3-Second Video Views and 10-Second Video Views will now show unrepeated seconds for more consumption measurement accuracy. Facebook will also remove redundant metrics, namely 30-Second Video View and Video Percentage Watched, the platform already introduced a new measurement feature called 'Video Plays'. This measurement metric will show how many of the Video Impressions are actual played to have a clear differentiation between Impressions and Video Plays. You can find more information about video metrics here.

New events for value-based Lookalike creation: In 2017, Facebook launched value-based Lookalikes to better enable businesses to leverage what they know about their existing customer base to reach new people likely to spend more on their products or services. Since the process of identifying high value customers was often complicated, Facebook will offer new event sources for creating value-based Lookalikes – now available from web, app, catalog, or offline event sets. This should help advertisers to make the process of assessing customer value automatic, more accurate, and in real-time. The new extension will be gradually rolled out to Ads Manager and via API starting in September.

Facebook will remove some ad targeting options: As announced earlier this year, Facebook will remove some ad targeting options to prevent the misuse of its ad platform. To protect users from discriminatory advertising, Facebook will remove more than 5,000 targetings. While these options might have been used in legitimate ways to target users interested in a product or service, they also could have been used to exclude audiences that relate to attributes such as ethnicity or religion. Therefore, the platform will limit the ability for advertisers to exclude specific audiences in the future.


Due to the popularity of vertical videos, YouTube adapted its web player to the ratio of vertical: Videos originally intended for mobile will now appear on desktop in an appropriately enlarged frame and without black bars on the sides. The web player will automatically adjust video’s aspect ratio to suit a computer’s screen size. Videos in standard 16:9 will be affected, as well as vertical videos and videos in 4:3 format.

After Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook now YouTube launched a test of Stories too: The format will be in the same look and feel as Instagram or Snapchat Stories. It will be shown on the start screen in the symbolized profile picture of the user. YouTube Stories are in full screen format (ratio 9:16) and only available for 24 hours. At the moment it is not possible to comment or reply to Stories, but that could change in the future, same applies to advertising possibilities.

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