You may have seen the news recently that Facebook is testing ad-free page designs on the desktop. Facebook has confirmed to several publications that the testing is taking place and they seem to be determined to find a layout which works.
The new page designs which are being tested out are shown below in some screenshots. They closely align with the mobile page re-design which was rolled out last September.
The call to action button has been made more prominent and the new proposed layout looks clean with a new navigation menu on the left to make it easy to get around the page fast.
Page information boxes have been moved to the right in the examples we have posted and the right-side ads have been removed altogether. Facebook is testing out several different variations of the design at the moment so what you see above may not necessarily be what they eventually go with.
While many people are shocked that Facebook would want to run with an ad free design at all, the reality is that it actually makes perfect sense. Desktop page ads are important for Facebook however they are not a significant contributor to Facebook’s overall ad revenue.
Desktop ad revenue contributed just 18% in the first quarter of 2016 and the remaining 82% of revenue came from mobile ads. So if you are running Facebook ads, mobile is the better option for maximising exposure.
While we don’t have specific data for desktop ads on Facebook it is safe to say that the right-rail ads would have been the minority contributor out of all the advertising Facebook runs. Compared to News Feed ads, there is no real reason to spend much money if any money at all running ads on the right hand side of the page in Facebook.
So it makes sense for Facebook to cut them out completely and take the chance to implement a new design for pages which will put content front and centre. It is also important to note that just because Facebook is looking at pulling right column ads from pages does not mean they will be pulled from the desktop home page or personal profiles.
The changes we have seen at the moment only apply to business pages.