Cannes Lions

Facebook Launches Online Creative Hub in Bid to Simplify Creation of Ads

Will Provide Tips on Best Practices, Allow Remote Collaboration and More

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Facebook's new online Creative Hub.
Facebook's new online Creative Hub. Credit: Facebook
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Facebook ads, like those on many platforms, started out relatively simple. But as Facebook has rolled out ad products at a growing clip, some of the products have changed the way brands and agencies need to approach creative, especially in mobile.

To help marketers keep ads coming, not to mention make the shift to mobile advertising, the company is now introducing Creative Hub, an online platform for agencies, brands and anyone involved in the creation of ads on Facebook, really, to share, review, test and create ads on Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram. Facebook is billing it as an online space meant to foster collaboration.

The move is an effort to help creatives build ads more easily, said Mark D'Arcy, chief creative officer at Facebook's Creative Shop. "Before this, we didn't have a great interactive workspace," he said. "But building, experimenting and playing with form in mobile is really important. It's important for us as an industry to figure it out."

The Creative Hub will show the range of formats that creatives can choose from, along with ad specs, including ones on both Facebook and Instagram. It will also serve as a platform where creatives can scan case studies and best practices, look for tips on various targeting techniques, work simultaneously in real time on campaigns with colleagues and clients in other parts of the world, and get tips on design and how to grab attention in a news feed-based environment. Another feature will let people to create and test mock mobile ads.

Facebook will describe the platform, which is scheduled to go live on Tuesday, at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Creative Hub, in a sense, augments Facebook's Creative Shop, which under Mr. D'Arcy's leadership helps brands and agencies understand how to use Instagram in their campaigns. Its employees collaborate with brands and agencies around the world to craft campaigns that combine Facebook and Instagram's social environments, data and technology with advertisers' creative ambitions and business objectives. Like all of Facebook, Creative Shop has increasingly focused on mobile and exploring new ways that brands and agencies can push the bounds of the smaller screen.

The move comes as more and more people are using Facebook on mobile devices, and as Facebook expands its network internationally with a particularly mobile focus. More than 1 billion people access Facebook via mobile every day, according to the company. Globally, people spend more than 50 minutes a day using Facebook, Instagram and Facebook Messenger, it said.

Creative Hub "is really a manifestation around the enormous growth of mobile," said Mr. D'Arcy. "There's this accelerating growth of engagement in mobile, with the ability to reach people at different times for different reasons. But creativity helps you reach those people."

Recent mobile-minded ad formats include Canvas, an immersive ad format that goes beyond the standard video format, introduced at last year's Cannes festival. And in an effort to reach its "next billion" users, Facebook last year began focusing on ad formats for developing markets, locales where people often don't have the latest smartphone and where they are often jumping on the internet through those phones with a 2G connection. Its Slideshow ad format is a series of images of the marketers' choosing -- they can be photographs or stills from a video ad -- designed to render well when video can't.

As clients and agencies seek to reach people in more international markets, and as the agencies and clients themselves may be in all parts of the world, different possibilities for creative requires a centralized site where anyone working on the campaigns could easily access the work, according to Facebook.

At Cannes, Facebook will also be introducing enhancements to Canvas and Slideshow and a beta API of Audience Insights, an insights and targeting tool.