Facebook has recently introduced a host of changes to the home page, specifically to the right-hand side ads – these are now bigger, aligned differently, and allow you to like the page directly.
Here’s a quick comparison of old versus new:
The new right-hand side ads have the same overall shape as regular news feed posts – which increases user engagement by up to 3 times, according to Facebook News.
But why is making an ad look like a post so effective?
Let’s explore the psychological concept of schemas, which are mental frameworks that help us organize and interpret information. For example, a child might develop a schema for a bird as having a feathered body, wings, short legs and a beak. So whether the child sees a crow, an ostrich or a seagull, the schema helps him/her understand that these are all birds. Schemas are also called building blocks of knowledge.
Similarly, most Facebook users have developed a schema for a regular post or status update from their friends or family on the news feed. My schema would go something like this – A funny/interesting/sad text description, large image below, a button to like or comment below that. You’ll notice that the new Facebook ads follow the same schema! This could be why we’re more inclined to look at these ads, as they confuse our existing schemas for Facebook posts versus ads (my old schema for Facebook ads – boring, lots of text, small image)
So, with the new ad design, I might automatically associate some qualities associated with regular posts (interesting, funny, engaging content) with the ad, and read it anyway. However, we constantly adapt our schemas based on new information, so this is bound to change in the future!
What do you think of Facebook’s ad re-design? I’d love to hear 🙂