Facebook—and social media in general—has changed quite a bit these past few years. Before, it was seemingly easier for businesses to get exposure without paying for advertising. Now, thanks to various Facebook updates designed to improve user experience, business accounts are more limited in reach, thus pushing companies to pay to play, which can be very confusing even to marketing pros.

First, you have to find the right target and objective. Then you have to create the ideal copy and creative to persuade that same target to take action. And then there is choosing a Facebook ad type. Should I choose carousel or video? Should I use collections or just a single image? The ever-increasing amount of variables available makes it that much more complicated. Use this content to guide you in choosing the right type of Facebook ads, objective, targeting, and more. Let’s get started!

Creating a Strategy

Before discussing the many Facebook ad types, it’s important to lay a strong foundation: your Facebook ad strategy. This is the ideal time to brainstorm your ideal target market and how they behave and to set up goals.

Start by thinking about your usual customer journey and how it may affect your budget, cost per conversion, and amount of exposure it may take for a user to convert. For instance, if your products are expensive, it may take more brand exposure than a single ad to close the deal. Also, in that case, you may be willing to spend more per conversion than if your product is cheaper.

For example, if you are selling diamonds costing $1000, a conversion costing $100 won’t hurt you. However, if you’re selling fashion jewelry costing less than $20 per piece, a $100 conversion wouldn’t make sense unless you are just trying to get brand recognition. Take all of those factors into consideration and align them with your goals to create a powerful Facebook ad strategy.

Choose the Ad Type that Is Aligned with Your Goals and Target

Facebook ad types are aligned with objectives. You can find many of the ad types in almost all objectives, but keep this in mind when choosing your ads. See the list of all objectives below:

  • App Installs
  • Brand Awareness
  • Conversions
  • Engagement
  • Lead Generation
  • Reach
  • Store Visits
  • Traffic
  • Video Views

Collection Ads

Available for Conversions or Traffic Objectives

Collection ads are designed to provide users an enhanced mobile experience. They work really well for eCommerce and are only available for Facebook newsfeed placement. Collections enable retailers to showcase a top image or video, accompanied by four lower thumbnails of product images. Once users tap on the ad, it expands, showing them more product options to shop. When another product is tapped, the user is taken directly to the product page, which creates a very efficient shopping experience.

You can also opt for using a Canvas to create a different shopping experience. Just make sure to create a product catalog, which is a requirement for this type of ad. They use that feed to dynamically or selectively show products extracted from that feed.

  • Image Size: 1,200 x 628 pixels recommended
  • Image Ratio: 1.9:1
  • Headline: 25 characters recommended

Carousel Ads

Available for Brand Awareness, Conversions, Reach, Store Visits, and Traffic

Carousel ads are a great way to showcase multiple products in one ad or showcase one product broken down into multiple images. You can also add a different text under each image to better describe the product or insert a call to action. Sometimes I like to add messages like “Free Shipping” or “Few Left” to create urgency.

This type of ad also allows you to test different products to see which one users like the best, by setting the carousel to showcase the most popular image first. Pro tip: You can also set the product to be dynamically selected if you have a catalog! In this way, your products will always be rotating, to avoid having users get bored of seeing the same products. Finally, use them in your remarketing ads to dynamically show customers the last products they added to cart.

  • Recommended image size: 1080 x 1080 pixels
  • Image ratio: 1:1
  • Text: 90 characters
  • Headline: 40 characters
  • Link description: 20 characters

Canvas Ads

Available for Conversions, Brand Awareness, Engagement, Traffic, and Video Views Objectives

Canvas ads are another type that provides an excellent mobile experience. They load faster than others and allow advertisers to not only sell products but also tell their story in different ways. You can use some of the templates you see below or create a Canvas from scratch with a mix of videos, images, and text.

Use an image or a video as the main face of the ad. Once the users tap on it, it will open to a full Canvas experience. As mentioned above, you can use Canvas with Collections to A/B test different formats.

  • Text: 90 characters
  • Headline: 25 Characters
  • Newsfeed description: 30 characters
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 or 1:1
  • Video: H.264 video compression, high profile preferred, square pixels, fixed frame rate, progressive scan
  • Audio: Stereo AAC audio compression, 128kbps + preferred

Final Notes

With so many different types of Facebook ads available, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. There is, indeed, a lot to learn but, once you know the basics, it really comes down to trying and testing different things until finding something that works. This doesn’t mean there is only one right answer or one right ad type—use several types of ads at the same time to get the best results. I usually always like to have a remarketing campaign active while combining it with a conversions campaign.