This ad format allows the advertiser to create a carousel of images or videos that the viewer can move through by clicking on a set of arrows. E-commerce retailers use this format frequently because it gives them the opportunity to show off multiple products in a single ad. Because the carousel format allows multiple images or videos, it can work well for any advertiser that wants to show off more of what they have to offer.
Carousel ads need at least two cards, made up of images or videos, in order to run. The maximum number of cards supported is 10. As with image and video ads, you have 125 characters at the top. You have a little more room for your headline at 40 characters, but you lose space in your link description with only 20 characters. To see some creative ways other advertisers are using the carousel format, check out the Facebook Creative Hub and select Carousel. You can also learn more about carousel ads in Facebook’s Guide.
If you’re not quite ready to run video ads, slideshow ads are a halfway point between advertising with images and videos. You can get started by selecting three to 10 images, with recommended image ratios of 16:9, 1:1 or 2:3. Each image should have a similar image ratio so make sure to crop them all the same way prior to creating the ad. You’ll only have 90 characters of text up top, and then a headline of 25 characters and link description of 30 characters.
Creative Hub also has examples of brands using slideshow ads, but personally I am not a fan of how they look. I’d recommend creating your own slideshow in software like Animoto or Lumen5 and running a video ad instead.
These ads used to be called canvas ads, and are more complicated to set up. But if you have the image and video assets to create one, they can give your audience a more in-depth experience with your brand and what you’re advertising. An Instant Experience ad opens a full screen after someone interacts with your ad on a mobile device. They can include images, videos, text, links, carousels and more. You can also link multiple Instant Experiences together.
The Facebook Canvas/Instant Experience Format
When I worked at an advertising agency, we saw a lot of success using this format to advertise the opening of a haunted house and the new rooms they were featuring. Think of an Instant Experience as a mini webpage that opens from a Facebook ad. So if you sell Lightroom presets, you could use a video showing before and after images using your product. When viewers click the video, it could open to a fullscreen experience showing more before and after examples, client testimonials and links to your ecommerce store.
Facebook also offers Instant Experience templates for advertisers who want to experiment with this format. Learn more about the Instant Experience Ad format and its specs here.
The Different Types of Ad Objectives
Now that you know some of the most popular Facebook ad types, let’s talk about the objectives that you can select for your ads. Your objective is what you want people to do when they see your ads – for example, driving traffic to your website.
Facebook divides the different objectives available into three stages: Awareness, Consideration and Conversion.
Under Awareness you can choose:
- Brand Awareness: aims to reach the people who are most likely to remember your ads and increase awareness for your brand. This is similar to running a TV ad in that you wouldn’t expect to make direct sales from this kind of ad.
- Reach: aims to show your ad to the maximum number of people within your audience. Again, this is similar to a TV ad because you’re looking for new eyeballs on your photography work or studio, not necessarily direct sales.
Under Consideration you can choose:
- Traffic: optimizes the delivery of your ad to the people who are most likely to click through to your website. My recommendation is to send traffic to the most relevant page on your website to make a sale or booking. If you’ve created a landing page, this is a perfect opportunity to use it!
- Engagement: optimizes to deliver your ad to the people who are most likely to comment, share, like, respond to events or claim offers.
App Installs: this was one of the ad types we didn’t discuss, but if you have an app for your photography business, you encourage people to download it.
- Video Views: optimizes the delivery of your ad to people who are mostly likely to watch it.
- Lead Generation: this is another ad type we didn’t discuss as it requires more setup. However, you can use this format to collect names and emails, similar to a landing page on a website.
- Messages: aims to get more conversations with your Business Page via Facebook Messenger.
Conversion objectives all require advanced setup. They are:
- Conversions: optimizes for specific actions people take on your website, and requires an advanced setup of the Facebook Pixel.
- Catalog Sales: requires you to have an ecommerce catalog data feed from your website imported into Facebook. This is an advanced tactic and I only recommend it for high-volume ecommerce retailers.
- Store Visits: promotes foot traffic to people who are nearby your business location.
To learn more about Advertising Objectives, visit the Facebook Help Center.
Where Your Facebook Ad Can Be Seen
Facebook has become an immersive experience, and therefore your ad can show up in more places than just the News Feed. Your ads can be seen across a number of “placements,” on and off Facebook.
On Facebook your ads can appear in:
- The News Feed: this is where we are commonly used to seeing ads on both our desktops and our mobile devices.
- The Right Column: as it is named, this is the right-hand side of Facebook where suggested groups, sponsored ads and Marketplace highlights appear. This placement is only available on desktop.
- Instant Articles: these are news content that open, like an Instant Experience, in a fullscreen mobile browser or in Messenger without leaving Facebook.
- In-stream video: this is a placement that interrupts a video watching experience, much like a commercial.
- Stories: are ad placements that appear for people browsing stories on Facebook and Instagram.
- Marketplace: this placement appears on the Marketplace home page or when someone browses Marketplace in the Facebook app on their phone.
Facebook also offers placements on the Audience Network, which is an off-Facebook, in-app advertising network for mobile apps. Your ads can appear as banners, rewarded videos (where a viewer watches a video in exchange for a reward in an app) or as an instream video.
Your ads can also appear in someone’s Messenger inbox, either as a sponsored message or in the Home tab of Messenger.
Overall, there are two different approaches to placements: automatic or manual. Facebook recommends using automatic placements, and until you get comfortable running your Facebook ads, I recommend doing the same.
How to Set Up a Facebook Ad Campaign
I’m going to walk you through a Traffic campaign setup, but the process for many of these Campaign Objectives is similar. Go to http://www.facebook.com/ads/manage and click on the green Create button.
Click on the Traffic objective. Name your campaign something that will help you differentiate it if you end up running multiple campaigns. You don’t need to worry about creating a Split Test, it’s an advanced feature. Campaign Budget Optimization is also an advanced feature for people running multiple ad sets. If you have a single audience you want to target, you’ll probably only have one ad set so you don’t need to worry about Campaign Budget Optimization.
You’ll now notice on the left side of the screen that your Campaign Objective has been checked off and you have been moved down to the ad set level. This is where you will begin to work on targeting your audience, defining your budget and setting your schedule.
First, you will need to decide where to drive your traffic. The most common destination is your website and this is what I recommend choosing for the Traffic objective.
You can also choose to use Dynamic Creative or create an Offer. Dynamic Creative is an advanced feature that is really helpful for brands testing ad copy and images at scale, but might be overwhelming if you’re just starting with Facebook ads. My personal experience using Offers in ads is that they have been buggy when customers have tried to claim them, so I stay away from this feature.
Next, you will be able to create your audience by selecting their location, age range, gender, language, behavior, demographics and interest.
Once you have defined your audience, you will set your placements, budget and ad optimization.
Once you have completed this section, click the blue Continue button to create your ad! Here you will choose from the various ad types we discussed earlier.