Facebook Ad Creative and Format Comparison – How to Optimize and Improve Your ROAS

With over 22% of total world’s population using Facebook and 76% of daily site visits, there is no rocket science in understanding why Facebook advertising should be an essential part of your digital marketing strategy. It continues to be the most popular social media platform, with over 2.07 billion users today.

Facebook advertising - facebook ads and social media marketing

Facebook is the most targeted form of advertising,” acknowledges the industry pros. The most significant advantage of Facebook ads is the ability to reach your precise target audience. You can reach out to people by their age, language, behavior, interests, location, and other factors. If you know who your customers are, you can leverage the power of Facebook to engage them and convert to quality leads. (However we aren’t able to use partner categories anymore though)

Here is how you can use Facebook for more targeted advertising:

facebook business manager - audience targeting

Another advantage of using Facebook as an advertising channel is its affordability. You can reach 1,000 people by spending an average of $5 only. Why would you spendmore intelevision commercials, radio ads, and other traditional forms of advertising when you can reach the same set of audience in a better & cheaper way with Facebook!

With focused and targeted advertising strategy, you can improve your brand awareness, drive increased web traffic, and get results faster with this powerful social media platform.

According to a study, 56% of the users visit Facebook several times a day. So, you can understand how frequently you can target your audience with what you have to offer. The more they see you, the more likely they are to buy your products.

Effective Facebook advertising is a powerful business tool to drive more leads, sales and revenues. No wonder why 5 million businesses use paid advertising on this social networking channel. Facebook reported significant growth in revenue, a hike of 47% over the last year. This is primarily driven by exponential growth in paid advertising and mobile ad revenues across the world.

All these insights clearly indicate that Facebook ads are one of the most effective ways to improve your Return on Ad Spends (ROAS). The key is to identify the right techniques and tools to deliver the best results.

Different Types of Facebook Ad Formats

Facebook offers a wide range of advertising formats, each with unique specifications, and targeted to achieve differentset of goals. We will discuss here the most popular types of Facebook ad formats, pros & cons, and ad specifications.

Facebook Video Advertising

Facebook images are one of the most widely used forms of advertising, ideal to promote awareness of “who you are and what you do.” It is a simple and cleanformat to communicate your brand message, boosting it with interestingcopy and appealing imagery.

facebook video advertising - feed format ad creative

Pros & Cons  

Pros:

  • Facebook photo ads are easy to create; build an ad directly from the Facebook page by publishing and boosting an interestingpost with an attractive image
  • Captivating images attractthe attentionof people instantly
  • Ideal for new product or service launch
  • Cost-effective

Cons:

  • Static sponsored ads placed on news feed appear similar to the organic posts, and can be easily overlooked when in a hurry

Ad Specifications:

  • Image aspect ratio: 9:16 to 16:9
  • Text size: 125 characters; with a link– headline: 25 characters and link description: 30 characters
  • File format: png or jpg
  • Minimum image height and width in pixels: 600 respectively
  • Aspect ratio tolerance: 3% 

Facebook Video Advertising

Facebook videos ads are a great way to showcase your product featuresand catch the attention of people with sound and motion. The ad format can be customized the way your audience consumes video – from short bursts that people can watch on-the-go to longer videos that narrate a product story – Facebook has it all. Create unique experiences with videos that range from linear to impressionistic to the more focused ones. Facebook video ads are the best way to communicate a sophisticated message in an interestingand eye-catchy manner.

Below is an example of how Vanity Planet, offering high-quality beauty and skincare products online, increased its ROAS by 33% using Facebook video ads that featured real people using the products. Video advertising goes a long way over conventional, static image placements to create a strong brand impression and draw the audiences in.

facebook video advertising - feed format ad creative

Pros & Cons  

Pros:

  • Create video ads of different lengths – from short bursts of brand messages to more sophisticated product tales
  • “Reach people beyond Facebook” with the option to in-stream your videos ads to other reliable sites and apps with Audience Network
  • Reach audience that are costly or difficult to reach on television by targeting young adults aged 18-24
  • Test run your ad by creating mockups
  • Videoad, owing to its dynamic nature, catches the attention of the users instantly

Cons:

  • The likelihood of people to leave Facebook and visit your website after watching the video ad is not high
  • Facebook videos play automatically when you scroll through, but there is no option for auto-play audio. That means no one is hearing you

Ad Specifications:

  • Supports aspect ratios: 9:16 to 16:9
  • Ad copy text: 125 characters
  • Minimum & maximum video length: 1 second to 240 minutes
  • Maximum video file size: 4 GB
  • Immersive and interactive 360° video option available

Carousel Ads

Show more – share more in a single ad on Facebook! The carousel ad format lets you exhibit up to 10 unique images or videos within a single advertisement, with each having its own link. So, you have more space to play around with your creativity – showcase different products, highlight intricate details, or narrate an enthralling story across each carousel card.

A wonderful example of Facebook carousel ad is Chipotle. They used the ad format in an intelligent manner to promote their “Friend or Faux” campaign. The photos compared various Chipotle meals with other fast food varieties, questioning which is “Friend” and which is your “Faux.” The message was simple, straight and interesting.

facebook carousel ads - feed format ad creative

Pros & Cons  

Pros:

  • With carousel ads, you have more space to showcase your products or narrate a story
  • Add up to 10 distinct photos or videos to highlight your brand creatively
  • Versatile ad platform – tell a engaging story, exhibit different features of a product, showcase multiple products, or narrate a process
  • Effective ad format to drive quality leads and sales for your product or service

Cons:

  • It does not deliver result if you build an advertisement that tries to achieve all of the above. Understand your product and your ad objective, and choose the ad format likewise

Ad Specifications:

  • Recommended aspect ratio: 1:1
  • Minimum and maximum number of cards: 2 to 10
  • Image file format: png or jpg
  • Maximum image file size: 30 MB
  • Maximum video length: 240 minutes
  • Maximum video file size: 4GB
  • Text: 125 characters
  • Link description: 20 characters
  • Headline: 40 characters
  • Recommended resolution: Minimum 1080 x 1080 pixels
  • Aspect tolerance ration: 3%

Collection Ads

Designed to improve conversions and sales for your business, Facebook collection ads encourage users to buy by exhibiting different items from your product catalogue, customized for every individual. The ad format makes it simple for people to browse, discover, and buy products or services in a visually immersive manner.

Based on your objective and type of product or service, choose from among 4 different templates for your collection ad: Instant Storefront, Instant Lookbook, Instant Customer Acquisition, and Instant Storytelling. You can get complete details here.

As you can see in the image above, Adidas intelligently used Facebook collection ad format to introduce its new launch – Adidas Z.N.E. travel hoodie. The ad displays an enthralling video showcasing the new product, with 4 product images below, related to the new launch.

facebook collection ads - feed format ad creative

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Use a perfect mix of immersive videos and photos to showcase a new launch, tell a fascinating story, or display items from the product catalogue
  • Seamless browsing experience where the interested users will be takento a quick-loading visual post-click powered by Instant Experience, and that too without leaving Facebook
  • Highly effectiveto generate more leads and conversions because it allows users to easily browse, discover and buy products in an eye-catchy manner

Ad Specifications:

  • A cover video or image using the first media asset from your full-screen canvas
  • Text: 20 characters
  • Headline: 90 characters
  • Image size: 1200 x 628 pixels recommended
  • Video size: 4 MB maximum

Canvas Ads

To offer a visually striking mobile ad experience, use Facebook Canvas format to create stunning, full-screen advertisements. Canvas is powered by Instant Experience, helping to build ads that are mobile-optimized, load fast, and crafted to capture fullattention of your target audience. In canvas mode, users can watch attractive photos and videos, tilt it for an immersive view, zoom in or zoom out, swipe through carousels, or explore lifestyle images with products tagged to them – all in a one single ad!

You can build an Instant Experience in a simple waywith Facebook’s optimized templates, or create from scratch for a one-of-a-kind experience. Depending on your business objectives, choose from different templates– Instant Storefront, Instant Customer Acquisition, Instant Form, Instant Lookbook, and Instant Storytelling. Get more details of the templates here.

Below is an example of how ASUS used Facebook canvas ad, highlighting the theme “end bad gifts” during the holiday shopping season in 2015. The adgenerated a growthof 42% in clicks, with people spending an average of 12 seconds viewing the advertisement. Additionally, 70% of the users who viewedthe canvas ad visited the website of ASUS. Therefore, the success was huge.

facebook canvas ads - feed format ad creative

Pros & Cons  

Pros:

  • Use easy-to-use design templates or create your own unique Instant Experience
  • Full-screen photos, videos or animated graphics for in-depth and immersive brand experience
  • Designed and optimized for improved mobile experience, with ads that load 15x faster than mobile websites
  • Get new customers, promote brand awareness, grow your business or inspire mobile shopping

Cons

  • Building the ad from scratch can be intimidating and time-consuming
  • Full-screen adexperiences may interrupt with the user’s Facebook viewing

Facebook Lead Ads

If your ad objective is to generate more leads, Facebook lead ads can be the ideal investment for you. There are many people who want to hear from your business, but consider it difficult to fill in forms on their mobile phones to get more information. Facebook lead ads create a win-win situation for both your prospects and you.

When a person tapson your lead ad, a form will pop up already filled up with the contact information you have shared with Facebook, and ready to be sent to you. With only a few taps, they will get the business information they want, and you will generate qualified leads! It is an effortless and simple way to build a conversation between you and your prospects.

See how BMW increased its lead generation 2.8 times by using a simple yet direct lead generation adon Facebook.

facebook leads ads - feed format ad creative

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Designed and optimized for enhanced mobile experience; pre-filled up forms make it faster for mobile users to submit their contact information to gain valuable business insights, effectivefor lead generation
  • The forms can be customized to ask the right questions, and get more quality leads
  • Pair your lead ad with Facebook’s optimization products and audience selection option to generate leads that are relevant
  • Since the contact forms are pre-populated, prospects are more likely to finish and submit the forms, ensuring more conversions and few drop-offs
  • Use Facebook lead ads for demo or price quote requests, event registration, newsletter subscriptions, and more
  • Optimize your ads to increase quality leads, maximize conversion, and increase ROAS

Cons:

  • Lack of email management tool; it is a time-consuming process to download leads generated from the ad, upload the same into your email platform, and set up Autoresponders manually
  • The ads do not direct to an engaging landing page that can invoke the users more to take a positive action
  • Facebook lead ads can also generate poor quality leads

Ad Specifications:

  • Recommended image size: 1200 x 628 pixels
  • Ad text: 90 characters
  • Link description: 30 characters
  • Headline: 25 characters
  • Context card button: 30 characters
  • Context card headline: 60 characters
  • Context card: No character limit in paragraph format; 80 characters per bullet in 5-bulletpoint format
  • Required: Website URL link and privacy policy

Facebook Page Post Engagement Ads (PPE campaign)

This type of ad format is ideal to share valuable business information with your audience, inspiring them to take action. The ad provides an insight into as how many people liked, commented or shared your post. This will help you better understand the kind of content or stories your audience loves to offer more of what they like. You can also use the ad to promote your Facebook post beyond your Page to induce more people to take action.

You can use Facebook Page post engagement ads in unique ways – to share stories or updates about your product or business, to build your customer base and brand, or to connect with new audiences and your followers. The key objective is to boost likes and engagement for your post, promoting brand knowledge & experience for better conversions and return on ad spends.

There are different types of Facebook Page post engagement ads as mentioned herewith:

  • Page Post Photo Ads: Use beautiful and enthralling pictures to engage your fans and followers. Post the right photo to get maximum likes, comments and Make sure it has a captivating headline to go with it. See the example of Chez Pierre below:

  • Page Post Video Ads: Nothing drives audience engagement better than enchanting videos! Short yet interestingvideo posts are the best way to create stellar audience experiences.

  • Page Post Text Ads: Short and sweet! That’s what Page post text ads are all about. It is ideal for user engagement and Pagelikes,but does not hold an edge over Page post photo or video ads.

Facebook ad creatives examples

  • Page Post Link Ads: This is another good way of improving Page engagement as well as generating quality leads. Create an ad with a heart-winning photo, video or text, and add a link to your site or landing page to drive conversions. Here is an example of Jasper’s Market:

Pros & Cons  

Pros:

  • The ads are best targeted to boost audience engagement with your brand
  • Promote likes, comments and shares for your Page post within and beyond Facebook, acquiring new customers as well as connecting to your followers in an immersive manner
  • An ideal way to share stories and updates in a natural way, driving enhanced user engagement
  • Great for amplifying your business by building your customer base and brand
  • Cost-effective 

Cons:

  • The “Like Page” button on the side of your ad may only generate likes, even the poor quality ones. Actual user engagement with your page or conversion rate cannot be determined

Facebook Offers Ads

Have fantastic promotional offers or discounts to share with your audience on social media? Use Facebook Offers ads. Boost your sales by creating and publishing attractive adsthat display promotions and discountsto the audience you want to reach and at the right time.

Facebook ad creative - offer ad example

Pros & Cons  

Pros:

  • Facebook offer ads are effective, customizable, and easy to create
  • Can be optimized for mobile viewing on the go
  • Connect with your existing customers as well as acquire new ones
  • Automatic reminders for offer expiry is sent to the users who claim it to ensure they use it on time
  • Maximize conversions, boost sales, and increase your ROAS by encouraging people to take a positive action

Cons:

  • Facebook users tend to claim the offer, but do not often redeem it on time. It all depends on user behavior and interests

Ad Specifications:

  • Recommended image size: 1200 x 628 pixels
  • Offer title: Maximum 25 characters
  • Ad copy text: Maximum 90 characters
  • Image ratio: 1.9:1
  • Your Facebook Page must have at least 50 Likes to be able to create an offer ad

Discussed above are the most commonly used Facebook ad formats today, and how you can optimize them to boost conversions and increase your ROAS.

Square vs. Landscape in Facebook Advertising – The Battle Continues

When you advertise on Facebook, your objective is – to promote brand awareness, market your products or services to a huge audience base, boost user engagement with your ad, drive conversions, and increase you’re “Returns on Ad Spends”, right?

Choosing the right ad format is vital to ensure successof your Facebook advertising campaign. But at the same time, you should determine the right ad size or the aspect ratio of the image or video. This is important to enhance users’ viewing experience and engagement.

From the ancient times of Facebook advertising, landscape ads (16:9) have been most popular, especially for video ads. For images, 4:3 has been the ideal format. However, recently, square ads have gained immense popularity, owing to the immersive viewing experience they offer, especially on mobile devices.

According to a recent study, Facebook has over 2.2 billion users worldwide, with an average of 989 million using it via a mobileapp. The best way to target this exponential mobile user-base is through eye-catchy and engaging Facebook ads that are optimized for the enhanced mobile experience. And to optimize your ad for Facebook mobile users, a square format is most effective to drive increased views and engagement.

A study compared the penetration of square Facebook videos and landscape videos. This report indicated that square videos garner 30-35% more views than 16:9 videos. It further showed that square ads have 80-100% more engagement than the latter owing to their immersive viewing experience. Additionally, square ads cost 8-10% less than 16:9 ads as per the cost of engagementof the advertisement.

So, if you want to garner improved user engagement, higher conversions, and increased ROAS for your Facebook ads, especially for mobile devices, squareformat is undoubtedly on the winning side.

The Bottomline

As you can see, Facebook offers a widespectrum of ad types, sizes andspecifications that meet uniqueneeds of your business. We suggest testing different ad formats to determine which ones deliver optimum results for you. Choose one that performs best for your business, and at the lowest cost. However, many successful marketers use a mix of different ad types and sizes for deeper penetration and reach.

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