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Quick Overview of Facebook Ad Types

It seems like every few weeks Facebook launches a new type of ad. While some ad types are only available to premium advertisers, this guide will describe each of the current ad types for brand Pages available to smaller scale marketers.

Sponsored Stories:

The easiest way to think about Sponsored Stories is that they are a group of ads generated by Facebook that highlight actions taken by users on the platform. It is important to remember that these actions on Facebook organically generate stories in the News Feed of friends, and Sponsored Stories is simply a way to magnify the reach of different types of stories. All Sponsored Stories are eligible to be shown in the News Feed or on the right rail. Advertisers can choose to show the ad just in the News Feed, just on the right rail, just to iOS users or Android users, or just on iPhone, iPod, or iPad. Page Like Story A Page Like Story allows Facebook to create an ad when a user likes your Facebook brand Page. Page Post Like Story This story will show when a user likes a post published to the brand Page Timeline. The Page Post Like Story will show to friends of users who have liked any post on the brand Page Timeline. Offer Claimed Story This story will show to the friends of a user who has claimed on offer you are promoting on your brand Page. Specific Post Sponsored Stories These 3 types of Sponsored Stories allow the marketer to choose which post they want to highlight activity around.
  • Specific Page Post Like Story - Specific Page Post Like is the sister ad type to the Page Post Like Story with the ability to only highlight Post Likes made on a specific post.
  • Specific Page Post Comment Story - Specific Page Post Comment allows the marketer to highlight comments on a specific Page Post.
  • Specific Page Post Share Story - Specific Page Post Share Stories allow for targeted promotion of shares on a specific Page Post.
Wall Post Story This Sponsored Story allows marketers to turn “on” an ad that will allow Facebook to create an ad out of the most recent Page Post. While this ad type is similar to both Page Post Ads as well as Promoted Posts, this ad type will dynamically change as content is published to the brand Timeline.

Other Types of Facebook Ads:

Although Facebook’s favorite ad types are Sponsored Stories, they offer many other types of ads for marketers to take advantage of. Many of these ads allow marketers more control over the targeting or copy. However, some of these ad types are not eligible to show in the News Feed. Promoted Posts Similar to Page Post Ads, this ad type is accessed directly through the admin access on the brand’s Timeline. Created by Facebook, the primary goal of this ad type is to increase the reach of Page Posts made to the brand Timeline among current fans. Marketers simply click into a post they want to feature, enter the budget, and Facebook does the rest. This convenience does not allow marketers to have as much control as other types of ads. Page Post Ads Page Post Ads are ads created to feature a specific Page Post, similar to Promoted Posts, but this ad type can be shown to users who are not among current fans. Page Post Ads provide marketers with the ability to target any users on Facebook using parameters such as demographics or interests. Page Post Ads offer the same placement options as Sponsored Stories. Fan Ads Facebook’s Fan ads drive users to either the brand Timeline or a custom tab on the brand Page. This ad type has traditionally been used to gain fans for the brand Page with the ability to choose body copy and image as well as targeting. Because of the ability to drive users to a custom tab, these ads can also be used for promotions or contests to drop users on the relevant custom tab. Marketplace Ads Marketplace Ads send users to landing pages outside of Facebook. Advertisers have used this ad type in the past when sending users to brand websites for conversion. Marketplace Ads allow marketers to choose headline, body copy, and images as well as targeting. Facebook Exchange Ads Similar to Marketplace Ads, Facebook Exchange Ads direct the user to a landing page outside of Facebook. These ads are run through a display provider operating on the Facebook Exchange. Because these ad types are run through a display exchange, marketers can utilize retargeting just like other display ads, but they do not have access to Facebook’s ad targeting. Facebook Exchange Ads tend to have a higher conversion rate than Marketplace ads.

Which Ad Type Should I Choose?

In the face of all the different ad types offered by Facebook, it is easy to wonder where to start. Like any other form of advertising, the ad type you use should be dictated by your marketing goals. Is your goal to help users get more engaged with your content on Facebook? Try Page Post Like Sponsored Stories or Page Post Ads. Is your goal to build a larger Facebook community by gaining more fans? Try Page Like Sponsored Stories or Fan Ads. Is your goal to drive users to your site for conversion? Try Facebook Exchange Ads or Marketplace Ads. When you have strong marketing goals and strong social media goals, the right ad type will be the one that helps meet those goals.    
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