We know first hand how difficult Facebook Ads can be. Just when you think you’ve got the basics down, a new hurdle is thrown your way and it’s like starting all over again. This couldn’t be truer when Facebook update their ads manager pretty much every week. So how are we to make sense of it all?

Here at Blend Commerce, our marketing team has been researching, collecting and putting together a blog series where each month, we break down the important Facebook Ad updates you need to know. We’ve also got some that you should look out for in the future.

September 2019 Facebook Ad Updates

We’re still continuing to see new updates to the Facebook Ads Manager interface this month, but Facebook has also really pushed out updates on their Business Manager as well, with the aim of creating a coherent and efficient platform.

Here are the main updates we’ve seen in September:

  • New Auction and Reach and Frequency Campaign Creation Process
  • New Business Asset Groups Feature
  • New System Users Feature
  • Request Clients to Share Assets with you
  • New Notification Icons
  • New Copy and Duplicate Feature
  • New Instagram Stories Templates
  • Introduction of Royalty-Free Music Archive for Instagram Stories
  • New Placement Grouping
  • New Instagram Explore Placement
  • Introduction of In-Stream Video Placements for the Traffic Objective
  • New Automatic Crop Square button
  • Create Ads from Instagram Branded Content Stories
  • Some Ad Level Fields have moved
  • More extensive customization by Placement
  • New Leads optimization for Messages Objective
  • Add Tags to your ads
  • More appearance changes to Ads Manager

New Auction and Reach and Frequency Campaign Creation Process

When selecting the Campaign Objective, you now have two tabs you can choose from. Auction and Reach and Frequency. You'll notice that Reach and Frequency have less objective options than Auction. We believe this is to help show users which objectives are best for your goals. If you're looking to convert potential customers and get new leads make sure you pick an objective in the Auction tab. But if you're trying to reach more people to increase brand awareness and traffic to your store then look at the objectives in the Reach and Frequency Tab.

After further investigation, the Auction tab is the campaign creation process we are all familiar with. But if you pick an objective in the Reach and Frequency tab there are a lot of differences which we’d detailed below:

1. You don't select a lifetime or daily budget at the campaign level.



2. You pick the Facebook Page and Instagram account in the ad set level

3. When you update your budget on the right-hand side, Facebook will estimate results for you based on the audience type. The budget you select is how much your ads will spend over the schedule you select. (Basically the same as Lifetime budget.) The estimates also include your reach, CPM (Cost per mille or cost per 1,000 impressions), frequency and what percentage of your target audience you will target. There is also a Reach & Budget graph which shows you how many people you can reach based on your budget. If you go more in-depth here you can also look at Frequency, Spend per Day and Placement Distribution.

4. You can only create an audience or use a saved audience. This means you can't retarget anyone who have engaged with you already. It’s primarily for reaching new audiences.

5. The audience you pick has to have a minimum of 200,000 people.



6. You select the Ad Formats at the Ad Set Level. There are also new Ad Formats you can use like 360 Photo which can be used on Facebook mobile feeds only, 360 Video which can be used on Facebook News Feed only, Stories Carousel which allows you to use Vertical Images or Videos for Instagram Stories only and Instant Experience which allows you to use images or video for Instagram Stories only. 

7. The only placements you can use are Facebook and Instagram. As you can see in the video when selecting all the ad formats it changes which placements we can use. We recommend having two separate campaigns, one for Instagram and one for Facebook if you want to test all these ad formats.

8. Optimization for Ad Delivery is picked for you. In this instance, for the Traffic Objective Link Clicks is chosen. It’s important to note link clicks doesn't necessarily mean someone is going to your website. They could click your CTA but not wait for the website to load, the could also be clicking on your Facebook Page or the ad content.

9. You can select a Reach and Frequency Balance. You can choose from Balance which shows ads no more than 2 times every 7 days, Higher Reach shows ads no more than 1 time every 7 days, Higher Frequency show ads no more than 7 times every 7 days or Custom. Also, ads will be seen a maximum of 2 times per person which is good for reducing ad fatigue.

10. Ad Creation is still the same (thankfully!)



As this is brand new we haven't had a chance to test it but we'll definitely look at this over the coming months and report back. Our first initial thoughts are it's quite overwhelming. There is a brand new way of creating a campaign and it's currently not been announced or explained by Facebook which makes you question whether the update is ready.

From what we can see this really gives you some good transparency on how your budget impacts your reach and targeting of your audience. It's a truly insightful way of reaching new audiences using a range of new features like ad formats and optimization options. What we can't say is how this new feature will actually perform and whether it will be beneficial or not. Our immediate thoughts are this is a great campaign structure for new or small businesses looking to increase their brand awareness on Facebook. However, for larger businesses who want to see people on their website and purchasing, should really stick to the auction tab.

New Business Asset Groups Feature

The New Business Asset Groups feature is officially live on Facebook. You can now easily group together your client's Page, Ad Account, Pixel and Catalogue and set permission for users in your business manager all in one place. The will make it easier to bulk add permissions to users in your business manager but in order to set this up, you need to have access to these assets anyway so it isn't useful for the initial setup with your partner.

You can read more about it here.


New System Users Feature

System Users may be something you've heard about recently but we've discovered that it's not available for all business. Before you can use this new feature you must own a Facebook app that is associated with your Business Manager.

System users will appear in the Users section of Business Manager (underneath People and Partners) and they represent servers or software making API calls to assets owned or managed by Business Manager.

There are 2 types of system users you can see:

  • Admin System User: Who can create system users, add accounts, assigns permission and more.
  • Regular System User: Who can only access the assets they have permission to.

System Users

Facebook recommends you create one system users for each type of access you need, but you take care when using the Admin System User so you can safeguard your permissions and assets.

We don't have an app so it's hard for us to say how useful this will be, but we wanted to include this as it is an update to Business Manager. If anyone reading this wants to find out more here are two great reading material sources:

Request Clients to Share Assets with you

There is now a new way for you or an agency to request access to a client's assets. As you can see in the video all you need now is their Business ID and the Name and Email associated with their business manager. After you input this you can then select the assets you want your client to share with you, if applicable, you can also request access to your partner's payment methods.

You then come to the Confirm and Review page where after selecting ‘Yes’, a request will be sent to your partner. One snag here is that you need an admin to complete the requests and share the assets with you, so make sure you let your clients know this.



After your request is sent you partner will be able to approve the request and provide access to all the assets you have requested. They will also be able to modify the request and provide some access to the assets you've asked for, or they can deny the request and you won't get access to any of the assets.

We're really keen to use this new feature as we feel it's going to help with the onboarding process of our clients, especially if they only have to click one button to give us access to all their assets. One downside is a client could modifying the request without the need too which could lead to some complications down the line but overall this is a great way to make the process easier for both client and agency.

If you need more guidance on this, take a look at this article here.

New Notification Icons

Facebook has also made updates to the Business Notifications you receive for your accounts, ads and pages. You can now switch between all three categories, view all notifications or customize what you see.

New Notification Icons

There are also notification icons to help signal what needs your attention first. Here's a hand table Facebook has created:

Notification Icons

This now also means if you’ve recently published a new campaign with multiple ads and are wondering if they've been approved you can click the notification bell, then click Ads. If your ads have been published successfully you'll see a green tick and a brief description of the action. However, if there's something wrong, you'll see the Error icon and a brief description of the issue.

We think these new notifications will give us a good indication of how our ads are performing. It's especially great for those of us who struggle with understanding Facebook Ads as it gives a clear indication of what you are looking at and if there's something you need to action.

You can find out more about this here.

New Copy and Duplicate Feature

Previously if you wanted to duplicate an ad you had to click on the box next to it, click duplicate and then click confirm. Facebook obviously felt this process wasn't efficient enough because you can now use copy and paste on your keyboard to do the same thing. You still have to click the box need to the ad you want to duplicate first but now if you Copy (Ctrl C / Command C) and Paste (Ctrl P /Command P) it will automatically duplicate the ad.

This is really quick and helpful if you want to duplicate an ad in one ad set, but if you want to duplicate an ad to a different ad set, you still have to use the old method. We tried to copy an ad from one ad set and paste into another but you get the error message you see in the image below. We hope Facebook will enable this because it would really make this copy and paste function useful!

Copy and Paste

New Instagram Stories Templates

You can now create Instagram Stories Ads from Templates. You can choose from a variety of templates to create Instagram Stories ads from images of any shape, change the text, colours and media to add additional visual appeal to your ads. To start using this feature, select Instagram Stories under Placements. Then select the option to edit your placement.

Stories Template

We think this will be really helpful as previously it was difficult to optimise your ad for this placement. We've also noticed it tells you how many characters will fit in your ad so you can make sure no information is cut off. However, we'd really like to see the Instagram Stories Placement support more ad visuals like collections or the variations you can create when using image or carousel ads within the Catalogue Sales objective. This would really allow us to take our ads to the next level.

Introduction of Royalty-Free Music Archive for Instagram Stories

When you customise your Instagram Stories placement you'll now/soon have access to a variety of royalty-free music. As we don't have this option yet we can't report on how it works but we can see how audio would draw more attention to an ad. What really would be great is if Facebook gave access to their collection of royalty-free music to all advertisers so that they could use it on all of the ad content. Think how nice it would be to add audio to a video ad used in a Traffic campaign.

New Placement Grouping

Next time you edit your ad placements in Ads Manager, you may see they are now grouped by how people experience your ad across platforms. For example, Feeds like Facebook and Instagram will now appear next to each other.

The idea of the new update is to give the users a better understanding of what aspect ratios work best for each set of placements, for example, Feeds usually work best in a 1:1 aspect ratio but Stories work best in a (9:16). This means if you have a particular visual you can select the placements that work best for this easily by seeing how they are grouped.

Placement Category

This may be helpful for some users but there are a few issues we have with this. You can customise your ad for placements within Ads Manager already e.g. you can crop or have a different image for the same ad if you customise the placement. It's also not immediately obvious how you can select ads for a particular platform, for example, if you just want to advertise on Instagram. Facebook has combated this by having tick boxes which you can opt-in and out of in a section called Platforms which appears above Placements, however, this is quite small and we think it will be overlooked by advertisers.

Facebook has detailed this out more here.

New Instagram Explore Placement

Last month we told you to look out for when you could run ads on Instagram Explore. Well, it seems this update is now here. Ads will run in the feed that appears after people tap a photo or video of people, brands and businesses they don't follow in the Explore.

To run these ads lookout for Instagram Explore in the Feed Placement category. It seems you can't use this placement for the Catalog Sales Objective, we assume this is so that the ads appear to be related to the content on Instagram rather than directly trying to sell a product from a website. There also appears to be no customised placement for Instagram Explore but we assume they will use the Instagram Feed aspect ratio.

Instagram Explore

Introduction of In-Stream Video Placements for the Traffic Objective

You can now use the In-Stream Video Placements for campaigns using the traffic objective. This placement will allow your image or video ad to be shown to people while they're watching videos. You can select this placement by using automatic placements or if you want to test it's effectiveness use edit placement to select it. Do remember this placement is limited to Single Image or Single Video only. You won't be able to use Carousel Ads or Collections Ads here.

In-Stream Video Placement

New Automatic Crop Square button

When you use a Single Image Ad Format and upload an image you may notice a button with the phrase “Automatically crop to square” next to it. Although a small update, this will help in the long run of speeding up the creation process as we can automatically crop our visuals to be suitable for Mobile News Feed Placements.

Automatic Crop

Create Ads from Instagram Branded Content Stories

When an Instagram creator tags you as a business partner on their story, they can also give you permission to promote it. This means marketers can easily use influencer posts and turn them into ads. This feature is available for brand awareness, reach, video views and link click campaigns. We’d love to hear from any of you that have used this feature. Comment below to tell us your experience.

Some Ad Level Fields have moved

When you’re creating an ad, you may notice that some of the fields have moved or look a bit different. Things you need to enter like text and destinations are now all grouped together. We think this is a good idea and will help make the ad creation process more intuitive.

Ad Fields

More extensive customization by Placement

You can now change how your ad looks in different placements by editing the media, text, colours and more. Look out for this option in the media section when you next make an ad. Along with the Instagram Stories Templates, you can really see Facebook is integrating Instagram more with Facebook Ads by allowing you to easily optimise Instagram Placements with these new features.

Customised Ad Placement

New Leads optimization for Messages Objective

When you create a Messages campaigns you can now select Leads as the Optimization for Ad Delivery. This means you can now create ads that open with an automated 'questions and answer' experience to help qualify leads.

Lead Messages Ads

We can see how this may be beneficial if you want to start qualifying the leads you get through Messenger, but we feel that Facebook Bots like Octane.ai are still better equipped to do this for you as you can create better, detailed conversations to have with your leads. To us, this really stands out as a move for Facebook to compete with these Facebook Bot companies but also to make this new technology accessible to all users of Facebook Ads Manager.

Add Tags to your ads

You can now add tags to your ads to make your ads viewable when users search for particular things. It's an optional feature so you don’t have to use them but it would be helpful if Facebook gave some more indication on how these tags help improve your reach. The best way to find this out currently is to split test two ads, using tags on one and not on the other than seeing which one gains more reach or more results. We’ll be sure to test this with our clients shortly but if you’ve already done this, let us know how it went in the comments below.

View Tags

More appearance changes to Ads Manager

There have also been some small changes to the appearance of Ads Manager and Business Manager that you may not have noticed.

The Inspect Option is now clearly displaying on Ads Manager and is being included in the new navigation experience.

Inspect Tab

When creating a campaign the interface has changed appearance slightly. Note the boxes around the different sections to help divide up the page and the recommendation of other objectives you could use depending on what you want to achieve.

Campaign View

We should expect to see more updates like this throughout the rest of the year until Ads Manager and Business Manager are fully up to date with all the changes Facebook is making. No matter how small they are, we should still keep an eye for them just in case Facebook changes the way one of their well-known features works.

Things to Keep an Eye Out for

As always along with the updates, there are several speculations, announcements and rumours! Therefore we like to keep an eye out for these just in case.

Here are the potential updates to look out for in September:

  • Facebook announced the removal of ‘thousands’ of outdated Detailed Targeting
  • Facebook to introduce a new design system
  • Facebook’s Off Activity tool doesn’t delete user data.

Facebook announced the removal of ‘thousands’ of outdated Detailed Targeting

Facebook announced they will be removing thousands of outdated and infrequently used interest targets such as old movies and band names and other older cultural references.

For anyone creating a new audience, you won’t be able to select the detailed targeting that is being removed. But for anyone with existing audiences, you will start being notified that you need to remove these flagged options. We’ve seen with our clients that any detailed targeting used that is going to be removed is flagged up with a "!’ inside a yellow triangle and a yellow box explaining why.

Detailed Targeting

It’s unlikely these changes will really affect advertisers in any big way apart from having less detailed targeting options or removing options they might be using. If anything it might actually make this process easier for marketers as the detailed targeting they can use is up to date and is used widely across all of Facebook.

Source: Marketing Land

Facebook to introduce a new design system

Facebook is introducing a new design system that will bring craftsmanship, coherency and efficiency to the Facebook business tools we use every day. Here's what we can expect to see:

  • They're creating a "beautiful and modern design language" with frameworks for colours, shapes, icons, typefaces and movement to allow users to raise the design quality across all business tools.
  • The new styles will start applying across all business tools to give us a coherent experience overall. Much in line with the new ads manager.
  • From the design changes, Facebook hopes to help marketers be more efficient by taking a more logical approach to navigation and workflows.

It'll be interesting to see what changes Facebook makes and we'll be sure to report on them when we see them!

Source: Facebook

Facebook’s Off Activity tool doesn’t delete user data

Is Facebook deleting their user data? The short answer is no. The new transparency tool will let users clear their information from their accounts, but the data will still exist.

Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan and Director of Product Management David Baser have said: “We’ll remove your identifying information from the data that apps and websites choose to send us. We won’t know which websites you visited or what you did there, and we won’t use any of the data you disconnect to target ads to you on Facebook, Instagram or Messenger.”

Facebook admits it expects the Off-Facebook Activity tool to have some impact on its business. The most likely scenario is that if users really start utilising this tool, we will lose ad targeting data which means for us marketers there may be a potential drop in the number of people we can target.

Source: Marketing Land

There we have it! All of the latest updates you need to know for the coming month and some that could definitely be interested to see in the future.

If you ever want to find updates for yourself, just google “what’s new in ads manager’. Facebook has a whole page of new and past releases that you can look at. You can find those here.

You can also view Release Notes from Facebook within Ads Manager itself. If you click the question mark icon in the top right-hand corner, you’ll see a box that says “Check out the latest release notes for Ads Manager, View Now.” After you select ‘View Now’ you’ll see all the notes in the right-hand menu just like below:

What's New in Ads Manager

Most of this month’s ‘to look out for updates’ were found this way and haven’t yet been officially released on Facebook’s “What’s New in Ads Manager” page.

If you have any comments or questions, just leave a comment on our blog. Equally, if you’d like to learn more about how Blend Commerce could help grow your business with Facebook Ads, send us an email here.

Want to soar above your competitors?

CVO is the way to do it. As CVO and Shopify experts, we work with large eCommerce brands like yours, increasing their metrics and revenue. Enquire today to find out how we can help you.