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Facebook Is Testing Its Fancy New Mobile Ads

Facebook first showed off the new ad at Cannes Lions back in June.


Facebook is testing a new, content-heavy mobile ad that wraps a lot of the company’s existing ad formats like image carousels and autoplay video into one product.

The ad looks like a Facebook post, but opens into a full screen ad that operates like a mini version of an advertiser’s website, allowing users to scroll through multiple pages of videos, images and text. There are opportunities for users to click away to an external site, but the ad content is primarily hosted on Facebook.

Here’s an example of what the the new ad format looks like.

This look isn’t entirely new. Facebook showed off something very similar to advertisers at Cannes Lions back in June, but said the ad was a just a mockup. It’s easy to see why Facebook is headed in this direction. For starters, the ad looks much better than a traditional sponsored post within News Feed; Facebook is working with publishers and brands to generate more high-quality content, and ad material is no exception. Plus, it’s likely that the company can charge marketers more for an ad that includes multiple photos and videos (not to mention a full-screen takeover).

Facebook is also pushing to host more content as a way to keep users from clicking away to other sites. It is already doing this with news articles, and it’s building a commerce portion of the site to host products as well. These new ads do something similar, but with an advertiser’s website. Ultimately, marketers still need a return on their investment, so it’ll be up to Facebook to prove that hosting an advertiser’s content is a significantly better experience.

Facebook is only testing the format with a small group of advertisers — Michael Kors, Gatorade, Mr. Porter and Carrefour Spain among them — so there’s a great chance you won’t even see these ads on the app any time soon. Expect Facebook to roll them out slowly.

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