Automated Ads, which is geared toward small and midsized retailers, represents Facebook's latest attempt to simplify the ad creation process.

Facebook Inc. launched a new ad tool on Tuesday called Automated Ads that it says can, “take the guesswork out of creating effective ads that can run on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Audience Network.”

Here’s how the tool works: The Automated Ads platform asks how the Facebook user would like to grow her business. She then selects from a variety of options, including “get more website purchases,” “get more leads” or “boost an Instagram post.” The system then asks her to describe her business type, such as “shopping and retail,” and all the ways the merchant does business, such as “online” and “in person.”

After selecting how she wants her ads to help her objective, the Automated Ads system creates up to six versions of an ad that include Facebook’s suggested call-to-action buttons, text and other creative details based on information from the retailer’s page. Once the campaign is active, Facebook tests the ads to determine which is the best-performing version.

The system offers advertisers audience-targeting recommendations based on information it gathers from the retailer’s page, as well as a recommended budget that the platform says is most likely to get the retailer results based on its goal (a retailer can also enter its budget to prompt Facebook to share its estimated results).


Automated ads provide retailers with notifications that show how their ads are performing and how they can improve them by, for example, refreshing an image.

Facebook also introduced three new video editing tools that retailers can use to edit existing video: automatic cropping, video trimming and image and text overlays. The tools, which are available in Facebook’s ads manager platform, aim to help retailers reduce the resources needed to create videos for Facebook.

Facebook’s launch of the new ad tools comes at a time when Facebook is reaching a saturation point in its most lucrative advertising markets—the United States and Europe. That’s leading it to look for potential growth areas, which includes driving more small and midsized advertisers onto its platform.