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In a Surprise Move, Facebook Introduces Traditional Banner Ad Units

Published: April 1, 2019

Author: Avril de Poisson

   Experts Predict Extremely Poor ROI; Traditional Brand Advertisers Are Thrilled

In news that rings of “everything old is new again,” Facebook announced today that traditional banner ad units are now available for select advertisers. That’s right, the 468×60 banner is coming to your Facebook feed today.

And while the news comes as a shock to marketers interested in things like tracking conversions and ROI, it appears this decision is a move to go after the huge sums of money spent indiscriminately on TV, print, and digital by the big-name advertisers.

Pressure from the Big Brands

Tara Fisher of the tech website Demode said, “The ad agencies representing the big names in consumer products, retail, and automotive have hundreds of millions of dollars they have to spend for each of their their clients. They have been doing TV for 70 years, but when it comes to digital, all they have ever really known is banner ads. My sources tell me they were adamant about staying the course with banners and not learning anything new.”

Excitement at the Legacy Advertising Agencies over “More Impressions!!”

Beatrice McGillicuddy, SVP of Client Spend at 8,300 person agency Zeroi Global, is thrilled about the new options. “This new format allows us to increase efficiency by using the same amazing banner creatives we are using on existing campaigns, and it allows us to show the clients just how cutting-edge we are when we tell them that their ads are now appearing on the Facebook!” McGillicuddy said.
When pressed about the results the banners might bring for advertisers, McGillicuddy said, “I’ve been told  by some whippersnappers that Facebook offers targeting, tracking and creative options that may be more powerful and effective than anything in the history of marketing – but that’s something for marketers focused on fringe concepts like ROI, ROAS, and CPA.  In the real world of digital marketing, everybody knows the name of the game is impressions – and these new banners give us more impressions to brag about in our quarterly PowerPoint presentation to the client.”

How the Banner Campaigns Will Work

The banner units will only be available in Awareness campaigns, and launching them automatically turns off all conversion tracking (“Why bother?” one Facebook engineer told us).
To get started, advertisers will select the campaign objective “Throw Money Away”:

Next, they will be required to acknowledge the pure stupidity of this decision and confirm their intent. The screenshot below makes it clear that while Facebook is allowing people to use banner ads, they don’t think it is the best idea.

What’s Next? Rumors Swirling about Other Possible Ad Options

Since the news of the banner ads, rumors have begun swirling about other possible options for advertisers. Fisher said that she has been told the fast food industry has been pushing hard for the ability to launch “virtual sidewalk sign spinners” through Facebook, and that the automotive industry is begging for a digital version of their go-to “inflatable wacky dancers.”
Stay tuned for more updates on this story as they develop.

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