MENLO PARK: Facebook has responded to pressure from advertisers for greater simplicity in its ad sales structure and is planning to halve the number of formats on offer.

"We want to have one ad structure that exists across objectives and content placements," said Fidji Simo, product manager of ads, during a press conference reported by AdExchanger.

"It's going to make it a lot easier for advertisers to set up campaigns," she added.

In future, ad purchasing will be based on "six or seven" marketer objectives, such as driving foot traffic to a real-world store or generating "likes" for a company's page, with distribution geared to placements seen as most likely to achieve these.

"We think it should be focused on allowing you to just craft your message and automatically show you the best social context that's available," said Simo.

Among the existing 27 formats, online-only Offer ads, Questions ads and standalone Sponsored Stories placements are destined to disappear.

But the company will retain others with a more particular focus. So, Mobile App Install ads, aimed at app developers, and in-store Offers, designed for brick-and-mortar retail promotions, will stay.

Facebook said the streamlined system would not affect pricing on its ads and also indicated it would continue to support the existing segmentation between desktop and mobile buys.

Zachary Reiss-Davis, of Forrester Research, welcomed "the first steps from Facebook-centric offerings to advertiser-centric offerings", but he warned that the company would have to move fast to put the news ideas into practice.

"Facebook still thinks of itself primarily as a media outlet," he said, when it should "recognize that its real value lies in its customer data and help marketers use that data to achieve specific business goals tied to the customer life cycle".

Data sourced from AdExchanger, Forrester Research; additional content by Warc staff