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The 5 Types of Facebook Ads: How to Choose the Right Ad Format

By Chantal India, on 10 December 2020

Facebook ads have evolved from simple clickable images to full on multimedia experiences. With all of the options available, it can sometimes be challenging to pick the one that best fits your marketing objective. A single ad, or a combination of multiple different types might best suit your needs.

We’ll cover each of the five options and how they work, as well as how to narrow them down for your specific project. And with 1.8 billion monthly Facebook users, it’s certainly worth the extra effort to get your Facebook marketing strategy down pat.

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The 5 Types of Facebook Ads_ How to Choose the Right Ad Format

5 Types of Facebook Ad Formats

1. Image Ads

Image ads are an excellent format for showing off your products and engaging users. By using high-resolution imagery with people using your products, you can generate a natural feel to your ads as they appear in people’s feeds. And by keeping your images focused on a single point and with minimal text, users will be drawn to your product.

Image ads are simple and straight to the point. Facebook accepts just about all image types, so long as there is minimal text on the image itself. JPG and PNG are recommended.

2. Video Ads

Nothing grabs attention quite like video ads. Video adds a dynamic aspect to your advertisements that get your message across in a memorable and compelling manner. Facebook video ads can be used in News Feed, in-stream (while people watch other video content) or in a Facebook story. Uploading your video in the highest resolution and in aspect ratios of 9:16 or 16:9 are recommended.

3. Carousel Ads

Sometimes a single image or video just isn’t enough. Carousel ads allow you to display up to ten images or videos within a single ad all with their own links. Carousel ads are perfect for product features, demos, collections, or for telling a story. Facebook can also optimize the order of your images/videos based on performance.

Common ways to use Carousel ads are product demos, product highlights, showcasing specs about a product, and a way to tell stories. Although they're popular on Instagram, Carousels also have a place on Facebook, and can attract users who are into interactive content or who want to learn more.

4. Instant Experience

An immersive, full-screen experience, Instant Experiences open when an ad is clicked on a mobile device. This type of marketing highlights high quality content through images, videos, carousels, slideshows or collections. An Instant Experience looks like an external website or landing page but it is all contained within the Facebook app. This means users never have to navigate outside of the app. This option is great for telling a story about your brand.

5. Collection Ads

Collection ads feature an image or video with a grid of related imagery below. This could be media showcasing a primary product with accompanying images of accessories, a collection of products or a set of new releases. This ad format is like a digital storefront as people can move to make purchases with one click and a quick loading shopping experience, all without leaving Facebook.

How to Choose the Right Facebook Ad Format

Now that we’ve covered what Facebook ads there are to choose from, how do you select the right one for you? First it's imperative that you clearly define your campaign goals and build your ad strategy around that, not the other way around. For example, are you trying to drive more sales or grow your followers? Or maybe increase downloads of your ebook? The answer may be all of the above, but finding the right tool specific to your unique business is crucial to Facebook ad success.

The 5 Types of Facebook Ads: How to Choose the Right Ad Format

Facebook ad types overlap quite a bit in terms of their utility. Source: Facebook

Create Awareness and Introduce your Brand

For getting more eyes on your products and for a quick, impactful way to introduce your brand, video ads are the perfect option. In feed videos are typically short and try to capture users' attention as they scroll, which means you’ll need to make these as compelling as possible. Longer format videos are also an option for telling more in depth product or brand stories. A Facebook study also found that people who were shown a video and then a static image had more impact on conversions than any other combination of ad types.

Showcase Products and Drive Traffic

Carousel ads are especially useful for ecommerce brands as they can easily showcase their various products. Each product can link to its own landing page which also increases click-through rates. Or conversely, a carousel ad can be used to spotlight a single product from different views and highlight features. Carousel ads are also fantastic for interactively explaining a process or telling a story, encouraging people to swipe through and learn more as they go.

Create a Memorable Brand Experience or Product Immersion

If you’d like to put a specific product on a pedestal and dive deep into its benefits and features, try using an Instant Experience. The full screen format is perfect for when more involved storytelling is necessary. Likewise, Collection ads can help you present a focused topic and use additional imagery to support and cross sell.

Drive Purchases and Product Awareness

Instant Experience ads work well for helping people move from discovering your brand and products towards actually making a purchase. There are four Instant Experience ad templates:

  • Instant Storefront - Akin to having an online storefront right on Facebook. People can browse everything you offer in one place and also click through to make a purchase on your website.
  • Instant Lookbook - Helps you tell a brand story while simultaneously leading towards a sale, or can be a digital version of your physical catalogue.
  • Instant Customer Acquisition - For driving conversions on a mobile landing page or for encouraging desired actions on your website or application.
  • Instant Storytelling - A more engaging experience for people to gain a deeper understanding of your brand. In essence a way for people to be introduced to you and perhaps want to know more by clicking through.

Fast Traffic Builder

If creating an ad quickly is your goal then an image ad is the way to go. This includes simply boosting an existing image post. To build awareness around a single physical product, image ads are also very effective at getting your message across quickly and easily. Compelling and creative copy is also key to piquing user interest, but remember, less is definitely more.

Whichever combination of Facebook ads you ultimately decide on, you’ll be learning and evolving your marketing strategy as you go. It all comes down to what product or service you offer and which ad type best communicates your message—there is no one size fits all solution. By experimenting and testing the various options we’ve covered here, you can discover which ads give you the results that meet your Facebook marketing goals.

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Chantal India

Social Ads Strategist at Cyberclick