What is the best Facebook ad format?

What is the best Facebook ad format?

Facebook is the most popular social media platform for advertising thanks to Facebook Ads. As shown by the figures in Facebook’s financial report, companies spent more than $9 million on Facebook ads during the second quarter of 2017 – an increase of 47% from the same period in 2016. With its 2 billion monthly active users, Facebook has a global, large and diverse audience. It also offers a range of ad formats with different advantages, numerous targeting options and lots of opportunities for creativity.

Businesses can easily be tempted to use a single ad format that seems efficient for them and keep it for each one of their ad campaign. However, leveraging different ad formats could also be a good solution. Indeed, each ad format has special features helping to focus on the right audience for your business based on defined objectives. That’s the reason why it is important to build a strong media strategy and plan beforehand.

First, adopt a full funnel strategy using different objectives to reach differentiated profiles…

Facebook is a useful tool to drive personalized marketing. It enables to target the ad on the right audience in other words people who are most likely to buy your products or services. Targeting can be done using demographics, location, interest but also behaviors, lookalikes, etc. By reaching several sub-audiences, the impact on global audience will be stronger.

Before defining a target audience, you should identify you campaign goals depending on the sales funnel stages (e.g. brand awareness, consideration or conversion) and based on the best metrics for the ad to maximize ROI. (see the chart below)

For example, is your objective to raise awareness on your next event and increase video views? Or do you need to drive traffic to your website?

Facebook Ads : marketing objectives

After selecting your campaign objective suggested by Facebook, it is time to choose the ad format based on the defined goal and the target audience.

… Then, choose the right creative formats based on your adapted objectives

Facebook offers a wide range of ad formats. (click here to learn more). Let’s have a quick look at the main formats, their specifics and how they could align with business objectives:

  • Photo ads

Photo ads are a simple format featuring a photo and text description. They are a great way for building brand awareness as they usually get high engagement (likes, comments and shares).

Photo ad example

  • Video ads

Video ads allow to convey a large amount of information in a quick and engaging way. Besides, as Facebook pushes video content to the detriment of images, video ads can be helpful to build brand awareness, reach the right audience and make video views. For example, choosing a video designed to appeal to customers as part of the discovery stage could be a good way to grab attention and increase brand awareness. Video ads must greatly be considerate as they get very high engagement for low cost.

Video ad example

  • Carousel ads

Carousel ads allow to broadcast up to 10 images and videos with different links in a single ad. They can be useful at all stages of the sales funnel, just as in the discovery stage as the conversion one. Indeed, they are ideal to showcase different products or features for brand awareness or retargeting. Moreover, they have significantly high CTRs.

Carousel ad example

  • Canvas ads

Canvas ads offer a full-screen format composed of engaging photos, videos and text. They allow to tell a story for an immersive and rich experience. As this format is optimized for mobile, it loads instantly to better catch the audience’s attention. Canvas ads enable interaction between users and the images and videos leading to more link clicks, view rate and time spent on the ad.

Canvas ad example

  • Collection ads

Collection ads combine an image or a video with four recommended products below it. This mobile format allows to showcase multiple products making it easier for discovery. This ad format aims at driving traffic to e-shop and sales.

Collection ad example

  • Lead ads

Lead ads are ideal to drive visitors into the consideration stage. When they click on the ad, a form will pop up allowing businesses to gain lead’s contact information. This type of ad format is most effective when it is part of a retargeting campaign for an audience such as past visitors or people who already watched a video. They are a good way to get high CTR.

Lead ad example

Benefit Cosmetics’ case example

In 2016, for the launch of its new brow collection, Benefit Cosmetics built a Facebook ad campaign to raise brand awareness on the new products.

As part of the campaign’s kick off, Benefit launched video ads expressing the brand’s fun and bold personality. Later, to encourage purchase consideration, the brand used ‘Custom Audiences’, one of Facebook’s targeting options, to retarget people who viewed the video ad. Once this target audience was segmented by age, each group could have carousel ads displayed in their news feed with personalized images and product recommendations.

This campaign was a real success as it enabled to increase brand lift and recall by 14 points.

Below, an illustration I made for you to visualize the Benefit Cosmetics’ Facebook ad campaign strategy for the launch of new product collection:


Finally, one thing to remember is that there is no best ad format on Facebook. Each ad format owns specific features and offers different benefits. Businesses should then leverage Facebook Ads and build a full funnel strategy using different objectives and formats to reach differentiated profiles.

Please note that each business aims at different objectives and audiences; ads formats do not have the same results for everyone. It is then highly recommended to test the formats to review the target audience’s reaction and their results.

Overall, you should consider advertising on Facebook as a strong digital marketing lever. And among all ad formats, video and mobile are the fastest growing ones.