How to Select Types of Facebook Ads Wisely

Reading Time: 10 minutes


Stories have been lifting people’s minds to the celestial level throughout human history. And beyond a shadow of a doubt, ads are stories. They began alongside civilization itself. The first ads can be observed in ancient Egypt, Rome, and Greece.

Storytelling on Facebook has a history as well. Did you know that the first type of Facebook ad was mostly used by college students for advertising parties? Called Flyers, these ads were launched in 2004 and cost $10 to $40. That year, Facebook also launched its first cost-per-click (CPC) platform, called Flyers Pro.

The next two events determined Facebook’s fate as a marketing platform:

2005: Apple and Victoria’s Secret give a significant revenue boost to Facebook. These corporate giants become the two biggest revenue generating advertisers.

2007: Facebook partners with Microsoft, which becomes the exclusive provider of banner advertising on the social network.

After that, the company launched Facebook Ads and Marketplace. They also started diversifying the methods of ad storytelling.

Major Types of Facebook Ads

According to Facebook, over 1.5 billion users worldwide are connected to a small business on the social network. This number has been achieved due to many factors, one of which is the great selection of Facebook ad types.

There are many combinations of form and content you can use to advertise your business on Facebook. We consider these options and explain why you should try them all.

This article also includes a few useful tips to help you select the right formats for your marketing strategy. So read this guide till the end.

Photo Ads

Photo ads, also known as image ads, are a time-tested solution that you can’t ignore despite all the other Facebook ad formats. As a Facebook study shows, a series of images can outperform other ad combinations.

The most significant advantage of photo ads lies in their simplicity. They’re easy to make. You can take a photo using your smartphone, come up with a short but powerful copy, and that’s it — your ad is ready to go!

Video Ads

Launched in 2014, Facebook video ads have gained popularity among both users and businesses. No wonder, we love watching videos.

Today, advertisers can upload videos in various forms:

  • Short video. Ads created with GIFs.
  • Vertical video. Full-screen video ads for mobile.
  • Stories. Videos that vanish after 24 hours.
  • In-stream video. Sponsored ads running before, during, or after a video on Facebook and Audience Network.
  • Live streams. Real-time video broadcasts.
  • 360 video. Head-spinning experiences, especially for owners of VR headsets.

Aside from these types of video ads, there are two more ad formats that allow you to publish videos on Facebook: Carousel and Collection.

Carousel Ads

A Carousel Ad can combine up to ten cards that include videos and images. In a Carousel Ad, cards are arranged in a particular order. It’s a perfect way to highlight the features of one product or to showcase a few products from a collection.

If you want to know everything about this ad format, read our guide to Carousel Ads on Facebook. It includes Carousel Ad sizing and specs, best practices, and great examples.

Collection Ads

Collections are similar to Carousels. You can use a Collection Ad to publish up to four video and image cards in one ad. The only difference between Collections and Carousels is in their layout.

While Carousel Ads look like merry-go-rounds, Collection Ads have the form of a grid, with a primary card above the grid. There are four Collection Ad templates you can pick from depending on your goals:

  1. Instant Storefront. Show your product catalog and lead potential buyers to your app or website.
  2. Instant Lookbook. Display products in action, create a digital version of a paper catalog and tell a story to inform people about sales.
  3. Instant Customer Acquisition. Drive users to a landing page or get users to take an action on your app or website.
  4. Instant Storytelling. Tell about your business, app, or website with a short story.

Stories

Stories are customizable photos, GIFs, or videos that disappear in 24 hours. This is one of the most engaging types of Facebook advertising, helping you establish a personal connection with the viewer.

Best Facebook ad types - stories ad

According to Facebook:

  • 58% of users have become more interested in a product or brand after watching Stories.
  • One-third of the most popular Stories on Instagram are posted by businesses.
  • Sharing in Stories will likely surpass sharing in feeds in 2019.

Stories can be posted on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger.

Playable Ads

Have you developed an app or game you want to promote? Then Playable Ads are what you need.

Best Facebook ad types - playable ads

They allow users to experience an interactive preview:

  1. Users watch an opening video that showcases your app in the News Feed.
  2. After watching the video, users experience the game by testing a demo version.
  3. Users can then click a call-to-action button to install the app from the App Store or Google Play Store.

Facebook recommends creating a few variants of a Playable Ad to find out which one works best for your app.

For example, you can record videos displaying different gameplay, offer demos highlighting different levels of your game, try different text descriptions for your ad, and so on.

Lead Ads

Lead Ads are the best type of Facebook ad for lead generation. After tapping on a lead ad, a user can fill out a form to become your customer.

Best Facebook ad types - lead ad

Forms are fully customizable and can include different options:

  • Short Answer. Let users give an open response.
  • Multiple Choice. Let users choose different answers to your question.
  • Conditional. Add extra questions based on a user’s previous answers.
  • Store Locator. Help users find a local store.
  • Appointment Scheduling. Lets users schedule a visit to your store.

You can add up to 15 questions to your lead generation form.

Messenger Ads

Messenger Ads are shown in Messenger. According to Messenger data collected by Facebook, customers and businesses send each other over 10 billion messages every month.

Best Facebook ad types - Messenger ad

The good thing is that creating these ads is easy — you can use an ad you’ve already made for Facebook or Instagram. There are several types of Messenger Ads:

  • Click-to-Messenger Ads. Start a personal conversation by sending Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger ads to a user’s inbox.
  • Sponsored Messages. Retarget users you’ve already talked to by sending ads they may be interested in.

If you want to interact with your customers on a more personal level, Messenger is the perfect tool.

Slideshow Ads

Slideshow Ads are made from three standard Facebook ad units: a series of static images, sound, and text. Facebook offers this format as an alternative to video ads. Slideshow ads can tell a long story quickly and simply.

Best Facebook ad types - slideshow ad

But luckily, video ads also aren’t so hard to make anymore. There’s even an AI that can generate one thousand video ads per week for the cost of image ads.

Offer Ads

Are you selling products and making regular sales to the same customers? There’s a Facebook ad type for that! Offer Ads include special offers and discounts that users can save in their Offers bookmarks.

Best Facebook ad types - offer ad

Once someone saves your Offer, Facebook will remind them about it up to three times. There are two kinds of Offer Ads:

  • Online Offer Ads. Customers are notified when they switch devices — for example, when they log in from a smartphone first and then continue their session on a computer.
  • In-Store Offer Ads. Customers receive an email with details about the offer. They also get notified if they walk near your store and their smartphone has location sharing turned on.

To monitor statistics about Offer Ads, look at Offer Saved in your ads reporting.

Dynamic Ads

Dynamic Ads are image, Collection, and Carousel ads made automatically from product catalogs uploaded to the Facebook Ads platform.

If you sell hundreds or thousands of products in your online store, this is an ideal format that will save you a lot of time — you can install Dynamic Ads once, and they’ll work until you turn them off. 

Best Facebook ad types - dynamic ad

The trick with this ad type is that Facebook itself picks an ad from your catalog and shows it to a relevant audience. Interested in the ins and outs of how this works? Find out how to set up Facebook dynamic product ads and use them effectively in our tutorial.

Post Engagement Ads

Post Engagement Ads are boosted Facebook posts. To boost your post, you don’t have to go to Ads Manager.

Best Facebook ad types - post engagement ad

Just pick your post on your Page’s timeline, click the Boost a Post button under the post, and follow three simple steps:

  1. Select your audience.
  2. Set your budget.
  3. Set the schedule for your ad.

After that, all you need to do is wait for approval.

Event Response Ads

Event Response Ads are used to promote events. Keep in mind that you have to create an event first before you can promote it.

Best Facebook ad types - Event ad

To promote an event, click the Boost Event button on your Event page. Then select one of two options:

  • Reach More People. Choose this option if you want to attract people to your event on Facebook.
  • Increase Ticket Sales. Choose this option if you want to drive people to the website where you sell tickets to your event.

Then choose your audience, budget, and schedule and click Boost. After you create the Event Response Ad, you’ll need to wait a bit for it to be approved.

Page Like Ads

Page Like Ads are used to promote your business Page on Facebook. They consist of a video or image that has an 8:3 aspect ratio and text. Once you create a Page Like Ad, Facebook will optimize the rest of your ads to reach users who are likely to Like your Page.

Best Facebook ad types - Post Like ads
To create a Page ad, click the Promote button on the bottom left-hand side of your Page and follow the instructions.

How to Choose the Best Facebook Ad Types

Do you already know which Facebook advertising formats you’d like to try? We’ve prepared a few recommendations that can help you make the right choice.

Test A Few Ad Formats Simultaneously

In online marketing, everything starts with testing. Digging into the theory by reading tutorials is great. Still, any business is a practical thing.

You can launch a few ad campaigns based on different ad types, receive the results after the first week, analyze them, and start a new test next week. Repeat this process using a few other formats. After that, you’ll discover what works best for your business.

Ask The Right Question Before Testing

Before trying the ad formats you’re interested in, you should learn more about two important aspects of Facebook advertising: objectives and placements.

First, instead of asking What ad formats should I choose? ask yourself the following question: What are my goals?

You see, different types of Facebook ads match different advertising objectives and placements: brand awareness, lead generation, conversions, etc. Choosing formats is about choosing your goals. Once you define them, you’ll immediately understand what ad formats to use.

Second, learn more about where you can display your ads using these formats. There are four placements you can advantage of: Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Audience Network. Keep in mind that not all placements support all formats. For example, if you want to try Stories, you won’t be able to use Audience Network.

Take a Peek at Existing Examples

We bet you follow your competitors’ Pages and companies in other industries with similar business goals. Don’t be shy to check out ads published by these businesses and analyze the results: the types of reactions people leave, the number of reactions, the types of comments, the number of comments, and the time passed since publication.

Best Facebook ad types - take a peek

Yes, we know. Likes and comments don’t reflect the results in the Ads Manager account. As a detective would say, this is only circumstantial evidence.

However, along with running test ad campaigns, this data paints a more detailed picture, which may lead to pretty unexpected and positive results.

Give Precedence to Video Advertising

Video content is getting more popular every day. According to Cisco, 82% of all internet traffic will be video by 2022. This prediction makes sense for several reasons.

The online world is gradually switching from desktop to mobile, which lets users consume more video content than ever. Vloggers are probably today’s most trending group of content creators. And we’ve already gotten used to the fact that watching a video guide is the fastest and easiest way to learn something new.

In this context, launching video ads within different Facebook ad formats may be the right call. There are plenty of types of advertising on Facebook. And you can promote your business, products, services, projects, or any other endeavors with videos.

Not to mention that modern technologies have already dropped the cost of video advertising. For instance, today you can produce awesome video ads without a video-sized budget using artificial intelligence.

The Softcube neural network has already created thousands of Facebook video ads for dozens of companies worldwide. You can try the platform for your business and make ten video ads for free right now.

Your Marketing Success Lies in The Variety

The relationship between form and content on Facebook is always evolving. A small student hub has transformed into the second largest advertising platform in the world.

Today, advertisers can attract new customers and promote their businesses using lots of unique and creative ad forms: simple images, pictures in combination with videos, live streams, automatic ads, and more.

You can run many types of ads on Facebook. No matter what you do online, you’ll definitely find ways of promoting your brand or project. Just be ready to allocate some money, perform a few tests, and enjoy the outcome.

Thank you for reading this guide. We hope you now know everything you need to get started on your Facebook Ads adventure. All the best!

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