Types of Facebook Ads

April 18th, 2013 by Douglas Thomas

Types of Facebook AdsAs Facebook has become a more robust advertising platform, a broad smattering of ad units have shown up all over the platform. Almost every kind of content can be advertised on Facebook, from a text status to a Facebook app to a web site, leading to increased interaction and ultimately stronger organic performance of the content. It’s important to keep in mind the same things that drives high organic action rates: the importance of EdgeRank, the necessity of AWESOME, and the value of truly social campaigns.

Marketplace Ads

types of facebook ads

What will Facebook report on in the Ad Interface?

The ads most people are familiar with on the social media network are Marketplace ads. These ads, usually showing in the sidebar of the News Feed, a Profile, or a Fan Page, are the constant companion to the Facebook user. Marketplace Ads compete with FBX retargeting as well as traditional advertiser-created ads. The thumbnail image can be up to 100 px by 72 px, The headline is 25 characters long, and the body copy is up to 90 characters long.

There are five main types of content that are promoted via Marketplace Ads:

types of facebook marketplace ads This example, displayed on the soft blue of a profile or fan page, links to a traditional landing page. These ads are among the most common, but be wary of ad blindness and the cognitive disconnect between users moving from Facebook to your website.
types of facebook marketplace ads This ad, found on the News Feed sidebar, brings you to a different site, but uses the social proof from the Facebook fan page to entice users to trust the site. This is easily set using OpenGraph meta tags.
types of facebook page ads The traditional Facebook ad links to a fan page. These ads can drive likes without clicks and can land on a specified tab. These ads default to reporting only on Page Likes.
types of Facebook app ads Facebook also offers display ads for Apps. This ad lands on the app page, showing the number of monthly users as social proof.
types of facebook event ads Facebook also has Event ads, using Event Responses as the point of conversion.

Interestingly, Marketplace ads have begun showing in the News Feed itself as well. This should lead to higher click-through rates, especially on Mobile devices, which did not traditionally have Marketplace ads.
types of facebook ads in news feed

Sponsored Stories

Sponsored Stories are posts that promote single posts showing both in the News Feed and in the sidebar. In most cases, Sponsored Stories bolster a successful organic post; however, “Dark Posts” are great ways to test content, demographics, or targeted personas without affecting other aspects of your organic Facebook marketing. Sponsored stories are traditionally to increase interaction, but strong targeting combined with a clear organic strategy can garner “real” leads as well.

Some selected Sponsored Story ad types:

types of facebook status ads Text posts can do well on Facebook, especially when they prompt user interaction by asking a question.
types of facebook image ads Image posts are best when the post has a striking, square image. Links can be added to the post, but are best placed early for higher click-through to the landing page. Images can’t be over 20% text, using a 5×5 grid overlaid on the image.
types of facebook link ads Link posts, while common, are some of the lowest-reponse posts due to the limited kinds of solicited actions users can take on the post.
types of facebook video ads Video posts take up space like a smaller image post, but because of the high engagement needed to watch a video online, may not get as high of engagement rates.

Like Ads

Like ads are a subset of Sponsored Stories. Unlike most other ads, these ads are created and triggered by user interactions with your content. Like ads are an inexpensive way to target people who may be brand aware through their online friends’ activity. Created as a companion to Marketplace Ads or Sponsored Stories, these ads are much less controllable than standard Sponsored Stories, but lead to more organic interactions.

Examples of Like Ads:

types of facebook page ads The main type of Like ad is the Page Like Ad. This shows in the sidebar and in the News Feed. These ads let targeted friends of your existing fans see real proof that someone they know likes your page. With a quality thumbnail, you can reach single-digit click-through rates on these ads.
types of facebook post ads Post Like Ads can extend the reach of your posts, ensuring that friends of fans can see interactions taking place on your page.
types of facebook event ads Events, Apps, and other content is also shared, highlighting actions by a user’s friends on Facebook content such as RSVPs.

Promoted Posts

facebook ad typesPromoted Posts and Pages are a simple way to set up Sponsored Stories, letting even the least savvy advertiser get a piece of the Facebook ads pie. Promotions are wholly untargeted, which can be a blessing in disguise for large pages with diverse fan bases and no need for location targeting — the only way to target a Promoted post is to target the organic post itself.

Promoted Posts and Pages are a shortcut for businesses that don’t have the time or energy to manage a full Facebook campaign.

Modern Facebook Targeting

What Facebook Promotions lacks is the hallmark of advertising on the social network: the targeting that allows an advertiser to hone in on specific psychographics and demographics to ensure that your ads perform significantly better than the average of 1 of every 2000 impressions leading to a click.

Some examples of targeting methods:

types of facebook ads targeting: location Location
types of facebook ads targeting: language Languages: This is the language setting of the user’s Facebook account.
types of facebook ads targeting: age and gender Age & Gender
types of facebook ads targeting: relationship “Interested In” & Relationship Status
types of facebook ads targeting: education Education users list, including targeting of specific colleges or majors.
types of facebook ads targeting: workplace Workplaces users currently are listed as working at.
types of facebook ads targeting: interests The workhorse of Facebook targeting, Interests are pulled from a user’s likes, statuses, and site interactions. #Hashed interests are broader categories which may include misspellings or a set of liked pages. Unhashed interests are largely individual Facebook pages, though with “little words” like and and the removed.
types of facebook ads targeting: broad categories Facebook Broad Categories: These are more general groups of interests that Facebook has grouped together for easier targeting. These also include temporary demographic groups, like “Birthday in 1 Week” and “Recently Moved.”
types of facebook ads targeting: partner categories 3rd-Party Partner Categories from companies such as Datalogix, Acxiom, and Epsilon, which use real-world actions, transactions, and accounts to categorize users.
types of facebook ads targeting: connections Connections and Friends of Connections to Pages or Apps that you are an admin of.
types of facebook ads targeting: custom audience Custom Audiences from advertiser-submitted email, phone number, or Facebook ID lists
types of facebook ads targeting: lookalike audience Lookalike Audiences generated by Facebook to match custom audiences, either inclusively or attempting to closely match the audience’s interests.

Facebook has become a robust ad platform with complex, interrelated, and mutually beneficial ad formats. For even the smallest business, the Facebook platform is a toolkit for social media interactions, driving brand awareness and ultimately real revenue.