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Your Ultimate Guide to Types of Facebook Ads
Facebook advertising can be overwhelming for business owners. I don’t blame them—there are more than 1,300 targeting options, 15 objectives to choose from, and 6 main ad formats available. Unless you’ve got a team dedicated to cracking the best Facebook ad combinations or some seriously insane social media skills, your Facebook advertising strategy will probably be mediocre at best.
Facebook Ad Objectives
Facebook Ad Formats
Dynamic Product Ads
Lead Form Ads
There are two distinct things business owners tend to lump together as “Facebook ad types;” ad objectives and ad formats.
Facebook ad objectives and Facebook ad formats are two extremely different things:
Facebook ad objectives = Your goals
Types of Facebook Ad Objectives
The most important thing business owners need to understand about Facebook ads is that Facebook shows your ads to the people most likely to complete your objective. That means selecting the right objective is paramount for success.
There are three parent types of Facebook ad objectives and they all have different purposes: awareness, consideration, and conversions.
Each ad objective is designed to target a different stage in the sales funnel.
That wasn’t an accident. Facebook deliberately designed its ad platform to be able to serve ads at key micro-moments in the buyer’s cycle.
Once you identify where in the buyer’s cycle/sales funnel you’re targeting, your objective pretty much chooses itself.
Within those three objectives are 15 micro-objectives. It’s these that you’ll actually pick for your ad creation.
The 15 Facebook Ad Objectives to Choose from in the Ads Platform:
Awareness Ad Type: Over 1.8 billion people use Facebook every month. We’re willing to bet the majority of those people don’t know your company exists. Targeted towards the very top of the sales funnel, awareness ads build top-of-mind awareness and interest in your product or service. These discovery ads are perfect for you to tell your company story and connect with new prospective customers.
The awareness ads available to you include:
Brand Awareness – Encourage discovery of your brand
Local Awareness – Encourage discovery of your local business (limited targeting options, targets based on proximity to business)
Reach – Show your ad to the maximum amount of people possible (limited availability)
How to Use Awareness Ads:
Awareness ads are meant to help people discover your brand. They’re good for building your base audience and creating awareness of your brand. If you’re a business owner, you should invest in high-quality imagery and creatives for this stage. Infographics, 15-second videos, Did You Know creatives, and photos that really pop are all great examples of ads that typically perform well, as long as they truly are high-quality. The idea is to build awareness, which means your ad creative needs to be memorable.
Sneaky trick: A sneaky way to test if an ad is memorable is to show it to an employee who would qualify as your target audience and then ask them to describe it an hour later. Don’t tell them what you’re doing.
Consideration Ad Type: Get people to start thinking about your business, product, or service, and look for more information about it. The consideration ad type is targeted towards the top-middle of the sales funnel. Consideration ads are great for most of your on-site (and in-app) content, including blog posts, coupons, video testimonials and
how-tos, and email newsletters.
Types of consideration ads include:
Traffic to your website – Send people to a page on your website
Engagement – Drive engagement with your company
Page Likes – Increase Facebook page likes
Post Engagement – Increase engagement with a specific post
Offer Claims – Get people to claim an offer
Event Responses – Get people to attend an event
App Installs – Generate app installs
Video Views – Generate views on a video
Lead Generation – Acquire new leads via a lead form Facebook users can fill out right on the platform
Messenger Ads – Send people advertisements right into their Facebook Messenger account.
How to Use Consideration Ads:
As a business owner or marketing manager using this Facebook ad type, I would recommend identifying your top content and amplifying it. Funnel people to that lead-generating blog post with an infographic traffic ad. Got a great special? Create an offer ad people can’t resist. Is your email newsletter your biggest source of leads and sales? Create a lead generation ad to get more subscribers.
Sneaky Tips: No matter how great your content is, people won’t click on an ad that sucks. Invest in high-quality images or else you’re wasting your money. Second tip: make sure the landing page you send people to has a fast loading speed. You’d be surprised to see how many people abandon a website page when it takes too long to load.
Conversion Ad Type: Conversion Facebook ads encourage people to carry out a specific action or purchase your product or service. I.E., conversion ads’ main goal is to convert users. They’re targeted towards the very bottom of the funnel and are aimed at directly increasing your bottom line. Conversion ads are the easiest to measure results, but also tend to cost much more than the other ad types. A few examples of conversion ads include sending users directly to a contact or product check-out page, sending people to your store, or complete event registration fill-outs.
Types of conversion Facebook ads include:
Conversions – Drive an action on your website
Product Catalog Sales – Drive product sales
Store Visits (Limited Availability) – Drive foot traffic to a store
How to Use Conversion Ads:
Conversion ads are used in conjunction with your Facebook pixel, which is a snippet of code that follows users around the web. This pixel not only enables you to remarket to website visitors, but it also enables you to track behaviors on your site. We suggest business owners and marketing managers place conversion codes on thank-you pages or other relevant pages that mark your goals.
Sneaky Tip: If you’re just starting with conversion ads, leave your targeting relatively broad, and let Facebook do the work finding users most likely to convert. When your ad set is done, you can collect the data and plan your next campaign accordingly.
When creating these types of Facebook ads, you have a few options of how that ad is presented, or the format. Keep reading to find out the different types of Facebook ad formats you have to choose from!
Types of Facebook Ads Part Two: Ad Formats
Now that you’ve chose your ad objective and type of Facebook ad, it’s time to move to the second step:
Choosing the image or creative you use.
The human brain processes an image in 13 milliseconds and takes in about six newspapers’ worth of data every day. That means you have an extremely limited window of opportunity to catch your target customer’s attention and make an impression. This is why the ad format you choose for your Facebook ad campaigns matters so much.
What Is a Facebook Ad Format?
A Facebook ad format is the way your ad is presented creatively. Each ad objective has different ad formats you can choose from, and not all ad formats are available for all ad objectives.
Ad formats you can currently choose include:
Dynamic Product Ads
Facebook Ad Formats: Video Ads
Not to be confused with the ad objective Video Views, video ads are pretty self-explanatory. They’re ads in the shape of videos. Video ads are best used for brand awareness and consideration campaigns.
“With over 50% growth in video viewing on Facebook, businesses like yours are driving awareness and sales with Facebook video ads.”
Ad Objectives that Allow Video Ads
Video Ad Tip: Facebook prefers native videos, so your videos get up to 30% more views when you upload them directly to Facebook instead of linking from somewhere else.
Facebook Ad Formats: Photo Ads
Arguably the “easiest” type of ad format to create, Facebook photo ads consist of one image, a call to action, and usually a link.
Ad Objectives that Allow Photo Ads
Product Catalog Sales
Photo Ad Tip: The best tip to make a good photo ad? Use powerful imagery. This means realistic photos that tell a story, capture attention, and leave a lasting impression. Invest in digital design through social media management services, or at least use a free photo tool to create captivating images.
Facebook Ad Format: Slideshow Ads
Slideshow ads are when you use a slideshow of photos to tell a story. You can either create a slideshow on your own and upload it as a video, or use the slideshow creation tool available in Facebook ads manager. Facebook has really stepped up its game with slideshow ads, and now offer branded formats, music, text overlays, and other fun additions.
Ad Objectives that Allow Slideshow Ads
Slideshow Ads Tip: Use the highest-quality images you can find, and use your most captivating images first. Pay especially close attention to your thumbnail (the image displayed before the play button is clicked); it’s the most important image of the bunch because it has to capture the user’s attention from the getgo.
Facebook Ad Formats: Carousel Ads
A carousel ad is a format that shows a number of “cards,” each with a different image and the ability to link to a different destination.
Ad Objectives that Allow Carousel Ads
Product Catalog Sales
Carousel Ad Tips: Even though the carousel Facebook ad type was created with product catalog sales in mind, carousel ads are also a great option for generating awareness with numerous photos or encouraging consideration with a variety of relevant links.
Facebook Ad Format: Canvas Ads
Facebook calls canvas ads “full-screen ad experiences built for bringing brands and products to life on mobile.” They are interactive, fully-immersive ads that eliminate the need to go off the app for information by combining photos, videos, GIFs, text, and CTA buttons, it delivers what some call a “microsite-like experience” that allows people to click, scroll, swipe, and tap to engage with brands right on the Facebook platform. See more about and examples of Facebook canvas ads here >>
Ad Objectives that Allow Canvas Ads
Canvas Ad Tips: This is a great ad format to go old-school on. Get out the scissors, print and cut out mockups, lay out all the elements on a table (like a real, live table), and take in the entire experience. Is it cohesive? Does it flow? Seeing the entire project laid out will give you a broader perspective than seeing parts on a screen.
Facebook Ad Format: Dynamic Product Ads
Facebook dynamic product ads are similar to most other dynamic ads. They automatically promote products to people who have expressed interest on your website, in your app or elsewhere on the internet. You upload your product catalog and set up your campaign once, and it continues finding the right people for the right product for as long as you want.
Ad Objectives that Allow Dynamic Product Ads
Product Catalog Sales
Dynamic Product Ad Tips: Have clear, quality images in your ads, and make sure your product catalog on your website is tight. Since Dynamic ads continually auto-populate, broken links, out-of-date items, and wrong pricing are deal breakers.
Facebook Ad Format: Lead Form Ads
Lead form ads are pretty much what they sound like–when people click on your ad, a form (that you’ve already created) pops up. You can customize the fields of information, or you can go with a template created by Facebook.
Ad Objectives that Allow Lead Form Ads:
Lead Form Ad Tip: Use the lead form ad as a way to gather email addresses for an email newsletter. Email marketing is one of the best–and cheapest–ways to get leads and sales.Using Facebook’s lead form ads are a great way to build that email marketing list, sort of like an alley-oop.
Length of top performing videos on Facebook worldwide from 2017 to 2019, by reaction type (in seconds)
Most watched Facebook video publishers worldwide as of March 2019 (in million views)
View more blogs by Betsy McLeod
Updated. February 2022