What with Instagram being one of the fastest growing social media platforms, and intrinsically linked to Facebook Ads Manager, you would have thought that square Facebook adverts were the norm.
But you would be incorrect.
Sure, you could always boost an existing organic post that included a square image, but you could never set up an advert for Facebook or Instagram that used a symmetrical quadrilateral shape – a somewhat oxymoronic platform decision, considering Instagram was built around square images.
That is, until now. As Facebook says: “squares take up more space in the timeline and generate more engagement”. Well, duh.
At last, we digital marketing types can use squares for specific social media campaigns. Perhaps this new update snapped the Facebook Business servers recently? Oh, almighty square, come down from heaven above and bless me with your marketing goodness.
It was only natural to create an advert using my newfound tools. Once I’d cropped my selected image to 800px x 800px, the result is, well, largely as you’d expect. The image, especially on the mobile and app versions of the networks, makes the post more impactful, delivering a much more in-your-face approach.
How this stands up when every advertising agency is running square adverts is hard to say. But as with the digital age, when something new arrives – usually unexpected or at a moments notice – play with it, test it and use it. If the results are worse than with the existing set-up, you can always revert back. If they work well, even if this is a holiday period before the crowd jumps in, it pays to be among the first.
I’m yet to try out square adverts with Facebook’s prescriptive text-on-image rules, but I would speculate the 20% text allocation still applies. As you can see in the advert previews depicted in this blog, a dark background makes the square aspect ratio work well, even on Instagram stories.
For now, I’m revelling in yet another new digital marketing tool to help drive greater awareness and I would recommend the use of the new option. Who knows what Facebook has in store for our advertising delectation, but rest assured, there’s probably something new tomorrow. And the day after that. Plus, the day after that. And…