March 13, 2017
Implementing new ad types in our PPC platforms is key to staying competitive and innovative. However, new ad types are unpredictable and easier to mess up. I recently made a functionality mistake with a new Facebook ad type that I was testing. It wasn’t horrendous by any means, but someone that was being served the ad called out the issue in a Facebook comment directly on the ad. That’s definitely not a situation I want to be in again. I realized that my mistake was based in my flawed approach to implementing new PPC features. I subconsciously made two poor assumptions that led to my mistake. My goal for this post is to help you avoid similar scenarios by avoiding the same assumptions.
A few weeks ago, I began testing Facebook’s new video ad capability. Specifically, we now have the ability to insert gifs as videos, rather than using either a static image or a true video.
To create the ad, I went through the normal Facebook ad creation steps that I always do.
I was checking my work along the way, of course, but the mistake I made was more unpredictable as it was related to the new features.
I checked the Desktop preview of the ad, via the Power Editor and all the copy checked out. The gif was working perfectly. Overall, I was happy with the ad.
As I mentioned previously, the mistake I made was actually pointed out to me by a user that commented on the ad. The comment said, “Why is there not a signup button or link?” (The ad was for an upcoming webinar) If you’re familiar with Facebook ads, you probably think that’s a strange question because clicking on the ad should take the user to the correct link. It sounded as if the user was clicking the ad and was not being sent to the final URL that I assigned the ad.
As it turns out, the ad type was so new that it wasn’t supported on feature phones. I saw the ad preview in the editor for the Desktop version and assumed that my ad was good to go, and it wasn’t. I didn’t cover all my bases. I didn’t check the mobile and feature phone previews before launching my ad. I had launched dozens of ads in the past and had stopped checking all the previews for the sake of saving time.
Of course, I decided that I needed to prevent mistakes like this in the future. I had to figure out when I could’ve prevented this mistake in the creation process. I determined that there are 2 main assumptions I made during the creation process, which we should all avoid when working with new features:
- I assumed that my setup process for existing features was sufficient for new features. I created the ad and checked my work in the same way that I do for all Facebook ads. This was a silly mistake because the new feature wouldn’t be “new” if there wasn’t something different about it. Thus, the setup process should also be different. That might mean that you ask more than one other person to QA your work or it might simply mean that the process includes extra steps.
- I assumed that the new feature had all the kinks worked out. The video/gif ad type didn’t function the same way on desktops as it did on feature phones. (I imagine Facebook is already working to change that.) Innovative ideas are rarely, if ever, rolled out in perfect form. Tweaks must always be made and new functionalities are usually added, which gives us the 2.0 or 3.0 versions of technologies.
Staying innovative is difficult because of the inevitable uncertainties that come with new technologies. Many companies fail to innovate because they’re fearful of those unknown factors associated with leading the way. As PPC advertisers, avoiding innovation is not an option. We have to innovate and implement quickly, and we want to do it flawlessly. Learn from my Facebook blunder. Don’t make assumptions about the process or the functionality of new PPC ads, features, or tools.