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A guide to Facebook ad types

Published: January 29, 2013

Author: Molly Shotwell

Today’s post is by Louise Steiner of Weave the Web Consulting.
Since its IPO in May 2012, Facebook has been under continued pressure to demonstrate that it can turn ‘likes’ into $$$ and generate revenue for its’ shareholders. For Facebook, this translates into coming up with innovative ways of raising revenue from advertising; as a result, Facebook rolled out over a dozen initiatives during 2012 to diversify ways to make money from its users.
This post presents a summary of the various types of ads currently available on Facebook, as well as some suggestions on how to get the ads working for you.
Why Use Facebook Ads?
Facebook Ads are a great way to increase the exposure of your brand, increase engagement, and drive traffic to your Facebook Page or an external website or sales page.

Some things you can use Facebook Ads for:

– To increase your fan base
– For brand exposure
– To promote online or offline events
– To advertise local businesses
– To sell a product, program, or service with an external website or sales page
– For lead generation
Types of Ads Available On Facebook
1. Marketplace or Traditional Ads
2. Sponsored Stories
3. Like Statement Ads/Engagement Ads
4. Page Post Ads
5. Promoted Posts
1.  Marketplace or Traditional Ads
Marketplace Ads are the ads we are used to seeing in the right sidebar on Facebook. These types of ads are typically designed to drive traffic offsite, to a website or sales page outside of Facebook, but they can also be used to send traffic to a Facebook page.
They typically don’t have any type of ‘share’ or ‘like’ aspect to them, and can be precisely targeted by audience.
With Marketplace Ads, you will create your own ad copy and select your image and headline, all of which are going to be important factors in determining how many people click on your ads.

When To Use Marketplace or Traditional Ads

– To take visitors to an external website, sales page or sign-up page
– To increase brand awareness
– To target ads precisely

Example of a Traditional Ad, as it would appear in the right sidebar:

2.  Sponsored Stories
Sponsored Stories are Facebook’s answer to word-of-mouth marketing and will typically include a ‘like’ button and show friends who have liked the ‘story’ being promoted. Sponsored Stories are shown to friends of fans and are triggered by the fan taking action, such as liking a page, commenting on or sharing a post, installing an app, joining an event, or liking/sharing a website.
Sponsored stories can appear in the newsfeed or in the right-hand column where you see other ads, and they typically convert better than Marketplace Ads.
Sponsored Stories are simple to set up, with the ad copy and image being taken directly from the post or page you have selected to advertise.

When To Use Sponsored Stories
– To promote your Facebook Page, app, or event
– To get your site shown to like-minded people and generate ‘likes’ — the idea being that if fans like your page, they will probably have friends who will also like the page

Example of a Sponsored Story, as it would appear in the right sidebar:

3.  Engagement Ads
Engagement Ads will typically say “Click ‘Like’ To/If…” or something similar and are a great way to increase your fan base quickly. Engagement Ads will also display friends who have already ‘liked’ your page; this social proof is a powerful motivator in encouraging their friends to also ‘like’ your page.

Users have two options if they decide to engage with an Engagement Ad:

– They can click on ‘like’ within the ad, without being taken away from their current page. But as a result of the ‘like’, the advertiser’s page’s status updates will in future be shown on that person’s wall.

– They can click on the ad itself or the image, and they will be taken to a page of the advertiser’s choice within Facebook (for example, an opt-in page that has been set up within your Facebook page).

With Engagement Ads you create your own copy, headline, and image, all of which will need to grab users’ attention and to speak to your target audience. The copy should always include a call to action.

When To Use Engagement Ads

– To get ‘likes’ for your page
– To send traffic to an Opt-In page within Facebook
– To have the ‘like’ button integrated within the ad
– To include social proof of displaying friends who have already liked your pa

4. Page Post Ads

Page Post Ads are the most social  types of ads, which will in turn generate greater engagement with your page.
A Page Post Ad is basically a status update on your wall that has been turned into an ad. The ad will automatically display the ‘like’, ‘share’ and ‘comment,’ buttons within the ad, which will make it easy for users to engage. If someone clicks ‘like,’ that action will show in their newsfeed for their friends to see. Page Post Ads can be highly targeted by audience, and they can reach beyond just your fans and friends of fans.
The ads will appear in the right-hand column of Facebook and in the newsfeed. Although the copy for the ad will be drawn directly from the status update, to be effective and generate engagement, the copy and image selected for the status update are once again going to be important factors in drawing users into taking action.
Tip:  If you include a video in your status update, this will also appear in the ad, which will in turn help drive engagement.
When To Use Page Post Ads
– To promote something of value to your business, such as an opt-in for a free report or sign-up for a webinar.
– To generate maximum social engagement via the like, comment, and share buttons
– To reach beyond fans and friends of fans
– To target your ads precisely

Example of a Page Post Ad as it would appear in the newsfeed:

page post ad facebook
5.  Promoted Posts
With Promoted Posts, advertisers are paying to have their status updates appear in more fans’ (and friends of fans’) newsfeeds. Facebook has stated that on average, only 16% of fans will see a status update from a page in their newsfeed; Promoted Posts are a way of increasing that reach. Promoted Posts will only be shown once in your fans’ or friends of fans’ newsfeed.
When you create a Promoted Post, basically three different ads are being created, if you choose to promote to fans and friends of fans. (Two ads are created if you promote to fans only.) Here are the three types of ads:

1.  The post will appear in the newsfeed of fans – it will only appear once

2.  The post will appear in the newsfeed of friends of fans, if you select to promote to fans and friends of fans

3.  A Sponsored Story will be created that will appear in the right sidebar for fans and friends of fans.

Promoted Posts are set up directly from the status update box; you will have a choice of budgets, depending on how many fans you want your Promoted Post to reach. The budget set is the total amount you will spend for your Promoted Post over a three-day period, which is the maximum time a Promoted Post will run for.

Note: You will need 400 fans in order to create a Promoted Post and 5,000 fans to take advantage of the targeting options available.
When To Use Promoted Posts
– To increase Engagement: You can use promoted posts strategically to increase engagement on your page, prior to promoting a money-generating event.
– To promote a post that includes a lead generation opportunity, such as a webinar or other event, a free report with an opt-in, a competition, or special offer.
Setting up a Promoted Post from the status update – only available with 400+ fans:
promoted post status
Targeting a Promoted Post – only available with 5000+ fans:

As you can see, there is an ad for every situation, and whilst there is a degree of overlap between the various ad types, each one serves its own purpose. Putting together a well-thought-out Facebook ad strategy can drive traffic and raise the visibility of your brand.
On a final note, change happens rapidly at Facebook, and I’m sure it won’t be long before the information in this post will be outdated! Also, I have not touched on mobile-only ads as these are a blog post in their own right, but mobile ads are definitely an area to watch. I have no doubt 2013 will reveal some interesting developments in this area of Facebook Advertising.
Louise Steiner marketing– Louise Steiner is an online marketing consultant with a passion for helping SMBs reach more customers online with tailor-made digital marketing strategies. Her goal is to simplify and demystify the world of online marketing for business owners, in simple, plain, jargon-free language. Find more of Louise’s posts on her personal marketing blog.

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