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Top Developments in Paid Social in 2016

Published: December 21, 2016

Author: Hillary Read

Facebook may still get the lion’s share of the headlines in paid social, but 2016 saw some big improvements from its competitors on the paid social scene.
A few key folks from the 3Q social team put their heads together to list the most important paid social developments from the past year – and what they mean to marketers.

Let’s break ’em down by platform – and, yeah, we’ll start with Facebook, which hasn’t exactly stopped innovating even as it deals with the fake-news fallout of the year.


Sr. Director of Social Brad O’Brien:

  • Order ID & Attribution Checkup. Combines what your measurement tool sees with what Facebook ads reporting sees.
  • Split-testing capability within the UI to do cleaner A/B testing of audiences and bid types.
  • In-Store Measurement to help understand how Facebook interactions influence in-store actions.
  • Advanced Matching on Facebook Pixel to send more conversion volume to Facebook for ad optimization.
  • Expansion of Audience Network to reach more verified Facebook users, off the Facebook platform.

Sr. Social Account Manager Mike Stetzer:

  • Canvas. Facebook is rolling this out to a bunch of other campaign objectives, including Mobile App Installs. Can’t wait to test this for more of our clients.

Social Account Manager Molly Parker:

  • App ads now allow us to optimize further down the funnel for acquisition rather than just installs.
  • Engagement audiences: we can now build audiences based on engagement for video and lead gen.
  • Additional oCPM optimization windows; before we could only see 1 day click, which only looked at conversions from the last day. Facebook opened that to 7-day and 28-day click conversions, which helps give us a much broader view of latency.


Sr. Director of Social Brad O’Brien:

  • Vertical Ad Format takes up more screen space and generates “thumbstopping” creative.
  • Shopping is coming to Instagram to make product ads more “shoppable”.
  • Dynamic Product Ads, a powerful retargeting ad unit, were introduced.

Sr. Social Account Manager Mike Stetzer:


Sr. Director of Social Brad O’Brien:

  • The Mobile App Install objective is now supported.
  • The search feed only targets for keywords (rather than showing in both home and search feeds).
  • The platform allows for monetary text overlays on pins (e.g. calling out price or free downloads).

Sr. Social Account Manager Mike Stetzer:

Assistant Account Director Kendra Pennington:

  • Interest targeting – this really just expanded the way that we can organize campaigns and target different audiences.


Sr. Director of Social Brad O’Brien:

  • Introduction of snap ad extensions to send users off the Snapchat platform to an advertiser’s website or app store.

Sr. Social Account Manager Mike Stetzer:

  • Integration of ads within your friend’s Stories. Snapchat is still within the very early stages as an advertising platform, but hopefully it follows a similar trajectory to Instagram in terms of ease of use/advertising.


Sr. Director of Social Brad O’Brien:

  • Testing of sponsored content on sites beyond LinkedIn to reach more verified users off the platform.
  • Lead Ads are currently in Beta; similar to Facebook lead ads, these will allow collection of leads within the platform.

Assistant Account Director Kendra Pennington:

  • CONVERSION TRACKING – need I say more?!?


Sr. Director of Social Brad O’Brien:

  • Website Conversion Objective, which was a lon- overdue objective to be broken out within Twitter Ads UI.
  • Like Facebook and LinkedIn, Twitter launched the Twitter Audience Platform to reach Twitter users off the platform.
  • Ad Groups introduction, providing an additional layer of optimization between Campaigns and Ads (also long overdue!).

Did we miss any of your favorite social advertising advancements from the past year? Drop a comment!

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