Optimize your Facebook ad formats for maximum ROI

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Keeping up with changes to Facebook advertising could be a full-time job. Their 2016 algorithm change minimized the reach of Facebook Pages to friends and family. The most recent changes favor original video content over re-posting others' content. Every new tweak from Facebook makes it tough to know how best reach your audience and market your business.

For businesses marketing on Facebook, we've found that adding a small budget to a post helps your messaging cut through all noise and get delivered to the right people.

Some find it counterintuitive to pay for your followers to see your Facebook posts. Think of it this way: if you created a print ad for a magazine, you would expect to pay that magazine to run your ad in its pages. The same applies to Facebook. To ensure your post that you spent time and money to create gets seen, you need to pay them to display it.

So what are the different types of Facebook ads and which formats are most effective? Read on for handy tips for running Facebook promotions like a pro.

Video ads

Facebook video ad exampleAccording to Facebook, 78% of all mobile data by 2021 will be video. As a result, Facebook values video usage on the platform, especially when serving paid ads to audience targets.

To optimize your branded Facebook video ad, follow these three steps:
  • Choose one key message
  • Keep it short (less than 15 seconds
  • Make it easy-to-understand with the sound turned off

Unsure how to get started? Try one of the apps for creating video content recommended by Facebook, such as Boomerang.

When to use video ads

Videos are a great way to give your audience a taste of your products or services, no matter what industry you serve.

As you start to build your video promotion strategy, it is important to think about how much access you have to original, high-quality video content. For best results, consider recording video promotions of events, like lectures and grand openings, or snippets from behind-the-scenes snippets and other "organic"-feeling content.

Image ads

Facebook video ad exampleA compelling image, particularly professional, high-resolution custom photo, can be a great asset for Facebook image ads. It is recommended to use image ads when the goal is to drive traffic to your website or you are on a tight timeline to prepare the ad content.

While it may be tempting to design an ad graphic with headlines and teaser text, Facebook penalizes ads that have too much text as part of the image. What's the penalty for too much text? Lower reach! Facebook will often not deliver text-heavy messages to as many users in your target audience.

When to use image ads

This ad format is so flexible! You can use high-resolution phone photos if they are crisp and well-lit. There are also free stock image resources if the regular stock subscription is a little out of your price range. Use image ads to promote product shots, happy customers, star employees, and more. Whether your goals are brand awareness or driving leads, image ads can work across the board.

Collection ads

To give users an instant, immersive experience, you could use a collection ad template. These tend to work best for companies that sell products and have professional photography of their merchandise. However, you could use the storytelling template as a branded ad rather than highlighting products.

As with other "Instant Experiences," the whole interaction from click to close, takes place within the Facebook or Instagram app. This type of experience can add validity for your users since Facebook is such a well-known and trusted brand.

When to use collection ads

As noted above, this ad format seems to be built for showcasing products and merchandise. Consider what others in your industry are posting and ensure that your images are as good (or better!) to be competitive. This often means good lighting and staging. Use this ad type when you're launching a new product line or to advertise seasonally.

Carousel ads

Facebook carousel ad exampleThe carousel ads are a flexible format that can utilize multiple photos and/or videos in the same ad. The user engages by scrolling left and right to see the images or videos and can click on any carousel image to visit the link. Compared to a regular image or video ad, this format offers the user an opportunity to engage with the content through the scrolling feature.

Plan on square graphics to meet the formatting requirements.

When to use carousel ads

This versatile ad type can be used for product promos, branded stories, and more. Use this ad type when you have multiple images or videos to include in the same promotion, to help paint a picture and tell a bigger story.

In addition to these formats, Facebook has more ad types that can be used to promote your business. Learn all about ad types and technical specs in their Ads Guide.
Need help with your digital marketing strategy? Talk to us
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Sarah

About the author | Sarah Matlock

Sarah is the marketing manager at TBH Creative, specializing in project management, marketing strategy, and analytics/reporting. She likes to blog about how to keep projects on track, how to interpret marketing data, the latest trends in the industry, and how to engage the online community more effectively.

View more posts by Sarah

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