Advertisers are prone to focus much of their attention on Facebook’s News Feed, and rightfully so. More than 700 million people use News Feed daily, making it the most valuable destination on the social network. Last month, Facebook unveiled a simplified redesign that shines a much brighter light on your content and News Feed ads. Now the company is taking a similar approach in enhancing its ads in the right-hand column.

Facebook hopes to boost the value of its sidebar ads by making them more visually consistent with those that appear in News Feed. The updated ads will use the same proportions as desktop News Feed ads and will appear larger. However, fewer of them will be displayed creating a better ad experience. Early tests revealed that ads in the right-hand column saw up to 3 times more engagement from people with the new design.

The sidebar revamp also helps simplify life for advertisers. As you know, Facebook currently offers more than 10 different types of ads. Because the updated sidebar ads mirror the overall shape of desktop News Feed ads, you will no longer have to choose separate images for News Feed and right-hand column placements. You can upload the same image for both and Facebook will handle size adjustments for placement.

You’re understandably eager to take advantage of the new ads, and even if you haven’t been given access yet, you’re probably already considering tweaks to your existing campaigns. Before you start making changes to your Facebook Ads strategy, consider these best practices first.

Know Your Goals

Facebook campaigns are unique, and each ad type can help you achieve a different goal. For example, if your goal is to increase conversions, you’re not going to run a Facebook Page Like ad. Before you even open the Ads Manager you need to consider what outcomes are important to you. Do you want to increase awareness for your Facebook Page or website? Do you want to drive event responses or app installs?

Consider your goals, identify your objectives, and then let Facebook recommend an appropriate ad based on your decisions. Last month, the company rolled out a new campaign structure that makes it easier for you to organize, optimize, and measure your ads. When it comes to devoting time and money to something, it’s never okay to just wing it. It’s important that you start this process by knowing what it is you want to get out of it.

Know Your Audience

Similarly, who do you want to target? Facebook has made it incredibly easy to reach specific groups of people, but that won’t help if you don’t know who you want to see your ads. With improved Cored Audiences targeting options, Facebook’s targeting features are now built into all of its ad buying interfaces. This enables you to reach precise audiences based on location, demographics, interests, and behaviors.

For marketers, getting the right message in front of the right people at the right time is key. Successful execution of this can result in more traffic for your website and increased sales. Don’t let your message fall on deaf ears by targeting the wrong group of people. Put time into developing your target audience and make sure that the people in charge of your Facebook Ad campaigns are made aware.

Make Your Ads Stand Out

If you’re reaching the right audience, half the battle is already won. The other half is ensuring that your Facebook Ad stands out. This means using actionable language and enticing offers. Create ads that capitalize on current events and create appropriate connections between you and your audience.

Additionally, make sure that your ad catches the eye. People are more likely to click on ads if they see something they recognize. Use rich visuals, brand logos, and bright colors. The Facebook homepage is crowded, and though sidebar ads will begin to appear larger, they still need to be able to capture the attention of visitors who come only for the News Feed.

According to Facebook, some advertisers will begin seeing the new sidebar ads option later this month. A complete rollout will take place later this year. The company will continue supporting the old and new formats for sidebar ads during the transition.

[Image credit: Philo NordlundVery Quiet, Evan Blaser]