Facebook did something really unusual last week — it axed one of its ad products, called “Reach Generator.” The social network has been rolling out new ad products at a fast pace since it went public — like Sponsored Stories and Promoted Posts — sometimes at a rate of one each week.Here’s the official reason, from a Facebook spokesperson quoted on the Inside Facebook blog:
“We are simplifying our offerings for advertisers, who can now achieve reach goals through Promoted Posts, a recently launched product which gives businesses the increased flexibility to hand-select and boost posts in the News Feed.”
TBG Digital CEO Simon Mansell, one of Facebook’s biggest ad-buying clients, put a little more detail on that in Adweek. He suggests that Facebook is moving toward automating more of its ad operations (like Promoted Posts). Reach Generator required clients to deal with Facebook’s salesforce —and was thus relatively inefficient:
“I think it makes sense to let the ecosystem that’s around Facebook sell ads (like Promoted Posts) and allow their sales team to be more ‘consultants’ and help brands build experiences which make sense for social,” Mansell said in an email. “If people build good stuff, which inspires, informs and entertains, and Facebook helps brands to measure the affect of this on their businesses, they will make more money than having their sales people trying to sell a specific product like Reach Generator.”
But Britain’s Marketing Week likely hit the nail on the head back in May, when it reported that few advertisers were using Reach Generator:
Brands have been reluctant to trial Facebook’s much-trumpeted new “reach generator” ad format, with only a handful of UK companies signing up to use it in the two months since its launch, insiders have told Marketing Week.
… [A source] adds that he only knows of two brands that have signed up to use Reach Generator in the UK so far, beyond Facebook’s initial test brands, which included O2.
Adweek added more recently that it continued to be the case that clients shied away from Reach Generator:
“We definitely had a bunch of clients who’d been pitched on it by Facebook’s folks, and it didn’t seem like it got a ton of traction,” said Rob Leathern, CEO of social ad firm Optimal, calling Reach Generator a “big commitment” that asks advertisers to put “a lot of eggs in an expensive basket.”
So, “simplifying,” sure. But it’s also not surprising that Reach Generator got the chop if advertisers just weren’t using it.
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