Why the New #Facebook Ads Campaign Layout Handicaps Marketers

Last week, Facebook unrolled a new layout for their All Campaigns Page– which, surprisingly, lacks crucial at-a-glance information for advertisers. Far be it from us to assume what’s going on in Zuckerberg & Co.’s head, but one thing’s for certain: Facebook API tools are now more crucial than ever, especially for managers of large campaigns.

Read on for a comparison of the old and new Facebook Ads layout, and our team’s two cents on why it totally handicaps marketers.

“We’re making improvements…” began Facebook’s pop-up notification, prompting me to “Upgrade now.”  IMHO, these redesigns are far from improvements and upgrades. Like a sucker, I clicked on the green button. And there was no turning back. #Facepalm.

Old Layout

In the former layout, columns from left to right began with Campaigns, Status, and [Daily] Budget. Active Campaigns pushed to the top of the list, and appeared in alphabetized order (one of the few features that carried through to the new layout).

After the basic info & stats followed the meat:

  • Impressions
  • Clicks
  • CTR
  • Spend (for the campaign’s lifetime)

These metrics allow advertisers to make quick account assessments… Is a campaign gaining impressions or clicks? How bad (or good) is a campaign’s CTR? The critical decision-making metrics immediately alerted advertisers where ad-triage was necessary.

A handy line graph also adorned the bottom of Facebook’s All Campaigns page. Though it could become superfluous to account managers with a boatload of campaigns, it was doubtless useful to many marketers and clients.

Fine, Facebook. I have craved other elements and features for the All Campaigns page, but who am I to ask Facebook for anything? Even if I did ask, what good would it do?

New “Upgraded” Layout

A result of the new “improvements” is a FB Ads layout lacking those coveted decision-making metrics. Clicks, Impressions, and CTR have vanished from the UI, as well as that nifty graph at the bottom. Instead, advertisers now only see their campaigns’:

  • Status
  • Start Date
  • End Date
  • Budget
  • Remain Budget
  • Spent

Um… thanks? Let’s unpack the function behind the new columns:

  • An advertiser with his/her ish together knows when a campaign began and when it should end, if they even want to identify an end date.
  • The budget is still there with two more columns that describe what’s remaining and what’s been spent of the budget. I guess that’s helpful, but is the alleviation of us having to perform simple match worth the replacement of CTR, impressions, etc?
  • In short, the new layout’s at-a-glance metrics are useful, but not at the expense of what’s been taken. Advertisers can’t even compare campaigns’ performance on this page!

Instead of offering real metrics of what’s going on in a campaign, Facebook assumes all advertisers want to know (at least, again, at-a-glance) is how much money has been shipped to Facebook, and how much more is they have left to shell out. Kill me now. Neat.

It stands to note that our coveted decision-making data is still available, just one click away from the main dashboard:

Best practices for streamlined navigation suggest we should reduce number the hurdles (aka: clicks) for a user to get where/what they want online… shouldn’t the same hold true for Facebook and the advertising UI? : )

Yet… what of the handy line graph? Gone. Make it yourself in Excel. 


Update (2/23/11) Received a lovely Facebook Newsletter boasting their Updates to Ads Manager:

No, Facebook, this does NOT “improve usability” nor does it “highlight the key information.” Not. At. All.

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