What Are the Different Types of Facebook Ads?

There are over 2.8 billion monthly active users on Facebook – that’s a whole lot of potential customers and clients to advertise to. With various types of Facebook ads available, it is really important to choose the right ad type for your business – and for the objective you’re trying to meet with this specific campaign.

Creating optimised Facebook ads will help you attract, nurture and convert leads.

At Common Ground, we can help you get to grips with Facebook advertising, and below you’ll find everything you need to know to brush up on all the different Facebook ad types.

This will ensure you are consistently running ads that capture the audience you really want. Tap into those 2.8 billion users and make use of the world’s most popular social media platform. After all, in a world where screen time is on the up and scrolling may as well be an Olympic sport, it doesn’t hurt to use this to your advantage within business…

Understanding the Different Types of Facebook Ad Objectives

Facebook Advertising is, as the name suggests, the overall concept and platform for advertising via Facebook. We are all used to seeing ads interspersed with baby photos, graduation shots and long-distance family updates – and a huge variety of business types use Facebook Advertising to showcase their products or services.

Facebook advertisers range from small, local indie businesses to global corporations; your local butcher to the big dogs at Amazon are all using Facebook to advertise to new and existing customers.

There are various types of Facebook ads used to target consumers at different stages of the customer funnel. The Facebook advertising objective you choose will depend on which stage of the customer journey your target customers are at.

The three key stages of the customer funnel, or customer journey, are:

  • Awareness – to introduce people to your brand or business for the first time and generate interest from this new audience (attracting new leads)
  • Consideration – to remind people about your products or services, and to get them thinking about purchasing from your business rather than competitors (nurturing a lead)
  • Conversion – to encourage customers to complete a purchase, or conversion action, with your business (making a sale)

One of the advantages of advertising on Facebook is ability to be specific about who you’re targeting and where they fall in this customer funnel. It allows you to take a platform that reaches billions (literally) and narrow down your marketing efforts to specifically reach the people you are most interested in.

You can do this by selecting the advertising objective that meets your needs the most. There are eleven ad objectives to choose from. These are:

  • Brand Awareness
  • Reach
  • Traffic
  • Engagement
  • App Installs
  • Video Views
  • Lead Generation
  • Messages
  • Conversions
  • Catalog Sales
  • Store Traffic

The ad objective that performs best for your business will depend on the customer funnel stage you are most interested in targeting.

Table of Facebook ad objectives to show the different types of Facebook ads

Below we’ll delve into each of the different ad types on Facebook that you can use at the awareness, consideration, and conversion stages of the customer funnel.

Awareness Ads

The first type of Facebook adverts are awareness ads. These are used to generate an interest in your brand, product and/or service(s). We use this type of advert to explain brand value. So, which Facebook ad objectives fall into this category?

Brand Awareness Ads

Brand Awareness ads are used to find an audience who will be most likely to recall your ad – thus making them aware of your brand. This isn’t about generating sales in the short term, but about increasing awareness surrounding your brand so that your name is in peoples’ minds.

A good example of this is ‘Facebook Like Ads’. They appear in-feed and ask targeted audiences to Like a specific Facebook Page. These ads are most often shown to the friends of people who have already liked your page: in this way, they target consumers who are similar to your already-captive audience.

Another way to use Page Like Ads is to target a demographic that lives in a certain area – this might be where you’ve just opened your brand new shop, for example!

Reach Ads

Facebook ads with the Reach objective aim to show your ad to as many people as possible in your target audience.

With frequency controls you can manage how often individual people see your ads while still absolutely maximising the number of people who do see your ads at all. This way you can reach a large number of people without individuals feeling bombarded…

You are also able to specify the format for your ad – image, video, carousel, slideshow and more.

Reach ads work well when your target audience is specific: a certain location, age-range or similar. For example, if you were advertising a book aimed at 18-21 year olds, Reach ads can be a great way to generate increased awareness from people aged 18-21 years old.

Consideration Ads

Consideration ads are focused on getting people to look more closely at your business – and encouraging these people to interact with your business to find out more. These ads are for people who are already aware of your business, so here you are nurturing potential leads.

There’s a wide range of different ad types you can use at the consideration stage of the customer funnel including:

  • Traffic ads
  • Engagement ads
  • Facebook Carousel ads
  • Facebook Video ads
  • App Install ads
  • Messaging ads
  • Lead Generation Ads

You should use these types of ads to draw people in further, building interest in your products or services.

Traffic Ads

Traffic Ads are one type of Consideration ad. As with many parts of the overall Facebook Advertising platform, the clue is in the name here: we use Traffic Ads to send traffic to a website or app.

But you can, of course, use Traffic Ads to achieve different on-site objectives. For example, you might want to send traffic to your sales landing page, encouraging people to make a purchase.

Alternatively, you may opt to send traffic to your blog in order to provide your audience with niche information as a way to provide a solution to a pain point which could then lead to a sale, or at least a more engaged potential customer.

Engagement Ads

Engagement ads are, as the name suggests, a way to reach people most likely to engage with your posts – liking, commenting and sharing for the most part.

Page Post engagement ads (known as PPE) ensure your paid content is seen by relevant Facebook users who are likely to interact with it. This interaction leads to further organic interaction from those connected to these users. In turn, you end up with genuine engagement.

You would use PPE ads to boost your engagement rate and increase your audience base by targeting an audience who are already interested in your niche.

Facebook Carousel Ads

Carousel Ads are a type of advert rather than being an ad objective in itself, so can be applied across all three categories. However, this ad type can be particularly effective at the consideration stage thanks to their format allowing your brand to share additional information.

Facebook carousel ads allow for multiple images or videos within a single ad placement which users can scroll through. This is great for showcasing multiple products in one ad – particularly if your business has an offer on where you want to show the most popular discounted products.

Carousels are also great for retargeting ads, helping to re-engage leads at the consideration stage of the customer funnel.

To really utilise carousels in your Facebook advertising strategy, include captivating text and eye-catching imagery as well as a strong call-to-action and well-chosen links. When doing this, make sure the look and feel of your carousel ad matches that of your website, or the page you are sending people to.

Facebook Video Ads

Facebook video ads can be shared across Facebook and Instagram Stories, in-stream on organic videos that people are watching, through the audience network, or simply as a standalone video that shows up in-feed.

Video ads allow you to be more dynamic and interactive in your advertising campaigns. This type of advert also lets you tell a story or provide viewers with more information which, in turn, can build brand trust and better nurture these leads.

Some best practices for Facebook video ads include grabbing the audience’s attention early, using short videos so viewers don’t get bored (5-15 seconds is ideal) and including a CTA as well as a well-optimised title and description.

App Install Ads

App Install Ads specifically drive people to the App Store (or equivalent) to download your business’s app. So, if you have an app, this is a great way to get more downloads by sending users straight from the ad to the download page in one simple click.

If your business is specially app-based, like a mobile game, then this is a clear and obvious objective for your brand to use in an ad campaign.

However, another reason you might use App Install Ads is for offers that are exclusive to your brand’s app. For instance, if you own an online shop, you may want to run an App Install Ads to spread the word about having an exclusive discount code for app users.

Messaging Ads

This ad objective allows you to connect with users via Messenger as well as Instagram Direct and WhatsApp. With Messaging ads, you can communicate in a personal way with both potential and existing customers; making this a great way to develop meaningful customer relationships.

Messaging ads are a perfect way to offer customer support as well as simply acquiring leads by reminding users that you exist, and answering questions.

The main benefits of Messaging ads are the ability to start an ongoing conversation and reach people much more instantaneously than, say, email.

Lead Generation Ads

Generating leads is a huge factor in any advertising campaign. This ad type is specifically aimed at doing just that – collecting information from people who are interested in your brand or product, like newsletter sign-ups. You are then able to use this collected data to further engage with potential leads.

For example, if you use lead generation ads to build your subscriber list, you can then add these newly-acquired leads to your newsletter where you can keep them up-to-date with your latest offers, services and brand activity to ensure your brand stays front of mind.

It is important to get Lead Generation ads right: include an eye-catching image as well as a relevant CTA. Don’t go too hard on the sales-approach either. While it can be tempting to aim for global reach straight away, we don’t want our sales team and website to be overwhelmed by receiving too many leads (sign-ups, to use the same example) at once.

Lead Generation ads are beneficial in that they allow you to collect information without having to create a new landing page or conversion path. It’s all there for you and can be integrated with your existing systems. Facebook Lead Ads work cross-device and can be retargeted, too!

Conversion Ads

Now that we’ve covered the best ad types for the awareness and consideration stages of the customer journey, it is time to explore Conversion ads.

The best types of Facebook ads at the conversion stage will include objectives aimed at turning leads into sales. This includes Store Traffic ads, Facebook Collection ads, and Catalogue Sales ads.

Other ads mentioned earlier such as Lead Generation ads, App Install ads and Messaging ads can also be powerful ad types to use at the conversion stage of the customer journey if your conversion goal specifically relates to increasing leads.

Store Traffic Ads

When we talk about traffic in digital marketing, we are often referring to the number of people who visit your website – but of course, traffic exists in the physical sense too.

Store Traffic Ads are aimed at promoting your brick-and-mortar location to nearby potential customers. These ads allow you to include a CTA that might encourage people to book an appointment, give you a call, or pay you a visit in-person.

You can use Store Traffic advertising to promote your business locally, putting yourself on the map and connecting your physical store to your online presence.

This ad type is particularly useful if you have just opened a new location, or if you are noticing a decline in foot traffic.

Facebook Collection Ads

Facebook Collection ads are designed to improve the ease of the conversion process, ensuring more people convert after interacting with your ad.

With four different templates to choose from, you can create an Instant Storefront, an Instant Lookbook, Instant Customer Acquisition and Instant Storytelling. This allows you to choose a template that best suits your business type and objective. For instance, if you want to drive conversions to your mobile landing page, you may want to opt for the Instant Customer Acquisition template.

Facebook Collection ads take your customers from discovery to purchase in a way that is not only immersive but also an incredibly smooth experience. Facebook Collection Ads achieve this by featuring imagery and videos that give customers the opportunity to browse and purchase without even leaving the app.

Catalogue Sales Ads

Catalogue Sales ads are an important Facebook ad type for online retailers. This objective does exactly what it says on the tin: allows you to choose ad formats that showcase products for your ecommerce store’s catalogue, to generate sales.

You can create a catalogue using Facebook’s Commerce Manager, adding images and information about your products as well as creating product sets and more. From there, choose your ad format (dynamic, carousel, etc.) to display products from this catalogue.

This is such an easy way to create a database of products that you can grab and promote at any given time, which is one of the main benefits of Catalogue Sales Ads. The existence of this catalogue also makes a statement about your brand professionalism, therefore impressing potential customers.

Retargeting Ads

One of the most important elements of the customer journey is making sure that you are nurturing those customers and encouraging them to progress through the funnel. Retargeting ads are, therefore, crucial for nurturing leads and increasing conversions.

Holding onto Facebook users who have already shown an interest in your brand or product is a great way to increase conversions. We use retargeting ads to circle back and show up for people who might have found themselves distracted at some point in the sales funnel, encouraging them to re-engage with our business and hopefully complete the conversion process.

Below are two key ways you can ensure retargeting ads form part of your Facebook advertising strategy…

Dynamic Ads

Dynamic Ads are a brilliant way to retarget customers.

Given their ability to do the hard work for you, they are a great option for advertisers wanting to automate some of the advertising process: use your product catalogue to set up a campaign, then watch as the information changes depending on who is seeing it. This means dynamic ads always have up-to-date information and pricing, as well as being relevant to the user. And the more relevant the ad, the more likely you are to make that sale!

You might use Dynamic Ads via a Carousel, to show someone the items they have ‘abandoned’ in their online shopping basket.

One of the main benefits of Dynamic ads is that they will ensure your ad is always personalised to each individual viewer.

Retargeting Audiences

It goes without saying that setting up retargeting audiences is an important component in creating retargeting ads on Facebook.

Facebook’s advertising platform offers a wealth of retargeting audience options. This means you can create truly specific audience segments depending on your retargeting objectives.

Retargeting audiences on Facebook Ads Manager could be people who have visited your page (be that your Facebook Page or your website) before. You can get specific here, creating audience segments based on particular page visits, excluding those who visited certain pages and choosing a date-range. You can also create retargeting audiences for those who have added products to their shopping cart but not checked out, as discussed in the Dynamic Ads section above.

Other examples of retargeting audiences you can create through Facebook include:

  • People who have downloaded your app
  • Those signed up to your newsletter
  • Imported previous customer lists
  • People who viewed a previous Ad video
  • Loyalty scheme participants

Use your retargeting audiences for your Facebook Ads to make the most of your advertising budget by reaching people who are already engaged, and therefore more likely to make a purchase.

Facebook Advertising: a summary

The different types of Facebook advertising can seem like a lot to get your head around, but all it takes is applying your existing knowledge of advertising and working out your main aims for a particular campaign. Knowing what you want will help you decide which objective to choose, and therefore which ad type and format to go for.

Any business can benefit from Facebook Ads. From local business to those operating across the globe, with the hugely varied demographic on Facebook you are guaranteed to find customers who want to engage with you and your products.

Choosing the right ad type is important, though – you want to make the most of your advertising budget and reach the users who are mostly likely to turn into valued customers. Hopefully the above information has given you a great insight into how Facebook Advertising works, and which ad types to choose for your business.

If this is something you’re looking to outsource, get in touch to see how we can help you with Facebook Ads – we’re experts in Paid Social, and would love to work with you to grow your business and get real results!

Head of PPC

Sam Medlicott

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