Starting out on Facebook advertising

Rob Chilver and Kate Neilan

The Types of Facebook ads

Starting out on advertising through Facebook? There are lots of different ad formats to choose from, each with their own formatting and best practices. When running your ads you can choose from a mixture of any of the ads below.


These are the standard ads that are in your News Feed. They’ll appear around every two or three posts. They can be a static image or a video with an image that usually appears rectangular. It can have a headline, some text and a button, such as ‘sign up’, ‘learn more’ or ‘book now’.

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You can include multiple images in a carousel, as seen in an AirBnB ad below.

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Mobile Feed

These are similar to the desktop ads except appear on the News Feed while on mobile or in the Facebook app. More and more viewing of Facebook is taking place on mobiles or in the app so may be best to focus on these over desktop.

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In a similar way to the News Feed ads on Facebook, these are the ads that appear every two to three posts on Instagram. They are made up of a photo, text and a ‘Shop Now’ link. It is the only way to share a link in a Instagram post other than including it in your Instagram profile link.

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Instagram Stories

Appearing on Mobile, these are portrait in style and appear in between your friend’s post. Users can swipe up in the app and be taken to a website hosted within Instagram’s in-built browser, such as a product page for your book on Amazon.

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Messenger Home (Mobile only)

Appearing at the bottom of the Messenger app on mobile, these are small rectangular images with text.

Right Hand Column (Desktop)

These are the small ads that appear on the right hand side of the desktop version of Facebook.  They are not as noticeable as the larger ads that appear in the main News Feed so they tend to be cheaper and you can get more views but are not as effective as the larger formats.

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Marketplace (Mobile)

These are ads that appear within Marketplace, Facebook’s version of Gumtree or Craigslist. It’s mobile only and appears once someone has scrolled down the first few items on sale.

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Other examples that do not appear on Facebook or Instagram itself

Instant Article (Mobile)

Facebook launched a new mobile friendly page for website to use called Instant Articles. These are stripped down, mobile friendly pages that launched almost instantly that news websites such as The Guardian have used. An Instant Article advert appears on these pages. As they are designed to load quickly, the adverts are fairly stripped back and basic.

Audience Network

All of the above appear on a Facebook owned site or app, such as Facebook or Instagram. Audience Network ads can appear elsewhere, such as on a website or in an app that has chosen to accept adverts from Facebook. You can reach a lot of people on a variety of different websites and apps but just remember you can’t specify EXACTLY where your advert may appear.

Quick Links:

Facebook favors images over text - so how much text does your image have? Use this tool to check if your ad will be approved 

Need the specifications for making your ads? Sprout Social promises that these will ALWAYS be up to date!