An illustrated guide to Facebook ad formats

Despite the turmoil that has hit Facebook in recent weeks, it remains one of the best platforms for small business advertising. And, when you factor in its sister site, Instagram, it becomes even more powerful.

I’m sure you’ve been presented with the option to “boost” a post of yours to increase its reach, but that’s not the only format your Facebook advertising can take. Here’s an illustrated overview of the basic ad formats available to you on Facebook.

Photo ad

The beauty of the photo ad is that it’s simple. It won’t require any fancy video editing, curating, or mapping out what you want to accomplish. Of course, it also works well on Instagram, where you have the option to push several photos out to a “story.”

Video ad

I think we all have a love-hate relationship with videos, so if you’re going to go this route, make sure your video turns on prospects rather than turn them off. You can accomplish a lot more with videos than with static photos and they can be utilized with Carousel ads, which are the next format we discuss.

Carousel ad

Think of carousel ads as a series of cards that the user scrolls through. The cards can be either photos or videos, or a combination of both. One benefit of carousel ads is that they are interactive. If you’re clever enough to pull in prospects with your carousel ad, you can really make an impression on them and convey the message you want them to pick up on.

Slideshow ad

Slideshow ads are like a video comprised of still images. They fade or scroll in and out on the user’s screen. One advantage of them is that they don’t require as much bandwidth as a video, yet can have an impact similar to a standard video. In other words, people on slower connections can successfully view them.

Collection ad

This is perhaps the most interactive ad and it’s for mobile viewing. You can combine videos, photos, product grids, and other elements to create a rich environment for users to explore. “Immersive” is the adjective Facebook uses. You can sell products via collection ads.

Messenger ad

More than a billion people are using Facebook Messenger to chat with one another. You can have your ad placed there. By the way, you can also use Messenger to engage people with your Facebook business page.

One of the messages here is that you can invest as little or as much as you want in designing your Facebook ads depending on the format you choose. If you opt for a powerful Carousel ad, be sure to work with professionals who understand how the ads work and have the ability to give them the polish required to make them memorable.

Find more information on ad formats on Facebook Business.