When it comes to social media marketing, businesses of all sizes use Facebook’s advertising platform. And why wouldn’t they?

The seemingly never-ending growth of Facebook’s user base presents huge opportunities for marketers who can get their Facebook campaigns right.

According to Statista, Facebook has a staggering 2.41 billion active monthly users. It is comfortably the biggest social network in the world.

The Facebook ads platform is well renowned for the number of options you, as the advertiser, have. These include different types of Facebook ads, targeting, placements and more. To get the most out of your Facebook ads campaigns, selecting the right ad format(s) is imperative. 

This, however, is not often a straightforward decision to make. There are a number of factors to consider such as your objectives, resources, target audience, industry and much more. To help make your decision, this blog will take an in-depth look at some of the various Facebook ad formats available.

Facebook Ad Formats

Women taking a picture with her phone of high rise buildings

Single Image Ads

All ads on Facebook and Instagram require visual assets. Having an engaging and relevant image of your products/services is therefore crucial for this ad format to be successful. These ads allow you to have an image along with an ad description and headline and a clear call to action. 

One of the leading benefits of this ad type is that they can be incorporated with most ad placements, such as feeds, stories, instant articles, right column and more. 

Facebook’s algorithm is said to favour visual content. This means putting in the effort to create the perfect image is worth it.

When should you use Image Ads?

Image ads are beneficial if your primary set of ad objectives match the following:

  • Increase brand awareness: An engaging photo showing off your product/service is a great way to raise awareness and capture a user’s attention.
  • Lead generation and traffic: Image ads are a popular format for getting clicks to your website.

Image ads are also great when you may have time constraints or limited resources. The obvious limitation is that you will not be able to showcase everything about your product/service. Nevertheless, the higher clickthrough rates mean you will get this opportunity once the user is on your website.

Video Ads

Videos Ads on Facebook are a hugely popular ad format with advertisers. According to one study, they suggest that Facebook users watch close to 3 billion hours of video content every day. Furthermore, it says that people are 85% more likely to purchase after viewing a product video. 

Video ads give more freedom to use creativity to show off your offerings in a convincing way. They require more resources but can prove to be extremely successful when done right.

Video ads on Facebook can be used in a variety of ways depending on your objectives. They can be used in stories, in carousel ads, collection, canvas, in-stream and more.

Man recording a woman playing the violin

When should you use Video Ads?

Videos are suitable for almost all businesses. Some of the objectives that they can help achieve are:

  •         Building brand awareness
  •         Drive conversions
  •         Promote video views

Video ads can help achieve a host of other objectives as well, depending on the type of video content, how you use them, and where they are placed. Not all video ads require a professional set up. For many, all you need is a mobile phone, creative apps, editing software, and a few ideas.

Within the Facebook Ads Manager, you can also use the templates provided to create short 10-15 seconds slideshow videos where all you need are the images, as the music is provided by Facebook.

When creating your Facebook video ad, it is best to adhere to the following tips:

  • Mobile focused approach - According to Statista in January 2019, 96% of active Facebook accounts were accessed via mobile. Taking this into account, your video ad should be optimised for mobile. This includes using a vertical format and avoiding horizontal.
  • Design your video without sound - A Facebook study found that 80% of people reacted negatively towards unexpected sounds on videos, they prefer having the option of turning on sound. This means ads should be designed in a way where it is equally as effective without any sound on. It is also important to incorporate subtitles in your video ad, for those that view without the sound on if your videos feature a voice-over.
  • Immediate engagement - The same study says that the first 3 seconds of any video is the most important. They say that 65% of people who watch the first 3 seconds of the video go on to watch for at least 10 seconds. This means that whenever possible, you should try to get your main message across within the first 3 seconds of the video.

Instagram ads also allow for video ads. You can learn more about the differences between Facebook and Instagram advertising here.

People on a carousel ride at an amusement park

Carousel Ads

Carousel ads allow you to create a showcase of up to ten images or videos, each with its own link, within a single advert. Carousel ads are interactive and ideal for generating engagement. 

With this ad format you have more creative freedom and space to get your message across. You can highlight different products/services or different aspects of your offerings, that develop with each passing image/video. Carousel ads are said to be 10 times more effective in getting traffic to a website than static posts.

When should you use Carousel Ads?

Some of the objectives Carousel ads help meet are:

  •         User engagement
  •         Brand awareness
  •         Lead generation
  •         App installs

Carousel ads have quickly become a favourite with advertisers. They can be a great addition to your existing campaigns to tell your story in an engaging way. The flexibility they bring allows you to meet multiple objectives at once.

Dynamic Ads

Facebook’s dynamic ads allow you to automatically promote your inventory to people who have expressed interest in your website, or to reach prospective customers. Instead of creating an ad for every product that you are promoting, you can create an ad template that automatically uses product data from your catalogue.

With these ads you can retarget people who may have acted on your website or app, or a broader audience. You can optimise your dynamic ads based on your goals such as conversions, and then Facebook will show products in ads that are expected to drive conversions.

These ads work best if you have installed the Facebook Pixel on your website and/or the Facebook SDK to your mobile app. These collect data and let Facebook know who to deliver ads to based on their actions.

When should you use Dynamic Ads?

Some of the objectives Dynamic ads help meet are:

  •         Expanding reach
  •         Drive conversions
  •         Increasing website traffic
Woman sitting in front of a laptop using her phone.
Man going through a collection of vinyl records

Collection Ads

Collection ads appear in Facebook mobile feeds and are ideal for retail, travel or ecommerce businesses. They make it easier for people to discover and purchase products and services from their smartphones. 

Collection ads feature a hero (main) image or video and four products under it. You will, however, need to ensure your product catalogue is integrated with Facebook to be able to use this function and add products.

With this ad format, the users who tap on your ad can browse products or learn about specific products without leaving the Facebook app. This full-screen experience helps drive interest and engagement.

When should you use Collection Ads?

Facebook suggests that Collections ads can help meet the following objectives:

  •         Driving traffic to the website and physical store (if applicable)
  •         Increasing conversions
  •         Catalogue sales

This ad format is perfect to convert interest and demand into sales.

When using Collection ads, there are 4 templates to choose from:

  • Instant storefront – Ideal for driving traffic to your website, this template is used when you have a catalogue of four or more products to showcase. This is also used when you want to display items to be viewed in one place.
  • Instant lookbook – Ideal for telling your brand’s or product’s story. This is used when you want to show your products in use.
  • Instant customer acquisition – Ideal for driving traffic to your website. This is used when you have high-quality videos and images showing off your products/services.
  • Instant storytelling – Ideal for brand awareness. This is where you use images and videos to really show off your brand and get your brand story across. The goal is to make people aware of your brand and get them to click to learn more about you using engaging videos and images.

Collection ads on Facebook are a great way of meeting a variety of business objectives, whilst experimenting with different ways to showcase your items to your target audience.

Man working on a canvas painting of the street and buildings in front of him

Canvas Ads

Canvas ads, now known as Facebook Instant Experiences, are a mobile optimised ad format designed to capture the complete attention of the audience. This is solely hosted on the Facebook app. 

Once the user clicks on the ad on their feed, they are subject to a full-screen interactive experience. Users are shown engaging video and photos, can swipe through carousels, they can tilt the screen and zoom in, read reviews and click on call to action buttons to take them to your website, all in one ad.

This ad type can provide advertisers with a creative space to share their brand stories in engaging and interactive ways. Facebook canvas ads are also easy to create as you are able to use one of Facebook’s already optimised templates.

When should you use Canvas Ads?

One huge benefit of canvas ads is that due to the creative freedom you have, this ad format can be used for almost any marketing objectives you may have, at the same time. Some of these objectives are:

  • Brand building and awareness
  • Driving conversions and traffic·        
  •  Video views
  • Engagement
  • App installs

Ready to start advertising on Facebook?

This blog has only looked at the handful of the various ad format Facebook’s advertising platform allows. The options are vast and there is something for every marketing objective you may have. 

If you are already advertising on Facebook, why not experiment with other ad formats? They could make a huge difference and help reach a new audience. Using Facebook’s optimised templates, many ad formats that look complicated to create are actually quite easy.

Want to start Facebook advertising but not quite sure about what the costs should be? Read our blog here to gain more insight into this.

Whatever your choice of Facebook ad formats may be, the marketing team at Williams Commerce has experience with optimising them. Get in touch to find out more about how we can help you.