At first glance, Facebook advertising looks a little overwhelming.

With dozens of ad types, targeting options and placements and 11 different sales- and brand-related objectives, it’s enough to make your head spin.

Not to mention the fact that it’s hard to know what types of ads Facebook users will actually engage with.

Download our FREE 2017 Facebook Consumer Study

To offer a little clarity, we’ve put together a quick and dirty guide to the Facebook ad types that work best for retailers:

 

Start with one or browse through all–then make the call on what your business needs.

Carousel Ads

Goals: Clicks to Website, Brand Awareness

Interactive and visually appealing, Carousel Ads are perfect if you’ve got multiple products you want to promote or an array of services you need to build awareness of.

They’re also mobile friendly, and they can be placed right within the newsfeed, making their click-through-rates better than most.

Carousel Ads are also great for marketers, as they allow a sort of A/B testing—well, A/B/C/D/E testing, really. By promoting five different posts or products at once, spotting trends and determining what best resonates with customers is easy.

Here’s what a Carousel Ad looks like:

Facebook Carousel Ad Type for Retailers

Carousel Ad Specs

Here are Facebook’s Design Recommendations for Carousel Ads:

  • Recommended image size: 1080 x 1080 pixels
  • Image ratio: 1:1
  • Text: 90 characters
  • Headline: 40 characters
  • Link description: 20 characters
  • Your image should include minimal text.

 

Canvas Ads

Goal: Clicks to Website, Website Conversions, Brand Awareness

This is as interactive as it gets in the Facebook advertising world, allowing customers to get up close and personal with your images and products by tilting, swiping, zooming and more—all with just their fingertips.

Fast (Canvas loads quickly, as much as 10 times faster than the standard mobile web), seamless and available only on mobile, it’s a great way to engage customers and get them excited about what you have to offer.

Here’s a peek at what Canvas Ads can do:

Facebook Canvas Ad Type for Retailers

Canvas Ad Specs

From Facebook’s Canvas Ad Design Recommendations (photos):

  • Image Ratio: 1.9:1
  • Image Size: 1,200 x 628 pixels recommended
  • Your image may not include more than 20% text
  • Text: 90 characters recommended
  • Headline: 45 characters recommended
  • Note that the feed unit may have either an image or video

 

Videos Canvas Ad Design Recommendations:

  • Text: 90 characters
  • Headline: 25 Characters
  • News Feed description: 30 characters
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 or 1:1
  • Video: H.264 video compression, high profile preferred, square pixels, fixed frame rate, progressive scan
  • Audio: Stereo AAC audio compression, 128kbps + preferred

For technical video requirements, see Facebook’s Canvas Ads guidelines.

Dynamic Ads

Goal: Website Conversions

These are some of Facebook’s most powerful advertising methods for spurring sales. Based on your own website data, Dynamic Ads offer a form of remarketing, letting you reach users based on past actions they completed on your website or within your store.

You can target users based on the content they viewed on your site, items they added to their shopping cart, products they purchased and more.

It does require installing the Facebook Pixel on your site—but we’ve got a pretty good guide for getting that done. It’s not as complicated as it sounds.

Here’s an example of a Dynamic Ad:

Facebook Dynamic Ad Type for Retailers

Not only are Dynamic Ads simple to set up (as long as your feed is optimized for Facebook), Facebook has added several new features over the years that add immense value for retailers:

  • Cross-Selling Functionality

For example, if a shopper purchases a skateboard on your website, retailers can feature items such as helmets, knee pads or wheels to that customer.

  • Conversion Optimization

When you optimize ads for conversions, you’ll get fewer but higher value impressions. You’ll also see more efficient spend on your Dynamic Ads.

  • Connect Shoppers Beyond Facebook

Native video and unique formats for interstitials are showing up across other publisher sites.

Learn more about Facebook’s past updates to Dynamic Ads:

Facebook Dynamic Product Ads Introduces Cross-Selling & Conversion Optimization

Dynamic Ad Specs

Dynamic Ads are identical to other ad formats, but you create the template in Power Editor. Select “Promote a product catalog” for your objective, and generate your ads based on the feed you have either integrated with the platform. For more details on how to set up Facebook Dynamic Ads, check out our guide:

The 2017 Guide to Facebook Dynamic Ads

Lead Ads

Goal: Lead Generation

Forget setting up tedious opt-in forms or landing pages on your site in order to capture leads.

Facebook Lead Ads were designed to make the mobile signup process easier by automatically populating contact information that people have provided to Facebook including email addresses.

Lead Ads allow Facebook users to sign up for things like newsletters, price estimates, follow-up calls and business information, which can be extremely valuable to retailers looking to expand and improve their customer interaction.

Here’s how a Lead Ad is displayed:

Facebook Lead Ad Type for Retailers

 

The most effective way to retrieve lead information is to set up lead ads to sync with a CRM solution from one of Facebook’s integrated marketing platforms.
Facebook currently partners with:

 

Through these integrated marketing platforms, retailers can collect lead information in real-time, helping them maintain communication with their customers.

They can also collect leads in real-time by setting up a custom integration between the CRM and the Facebook API. (Or you can download lead information manually into a CSV file.)

Garnered contact information can also be used to create Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences, ultimately allowing retailers to remarket to current customers, or find and approach new ones that share similarities with people who have filled out your form.

While this approach may not drive immediate results in terms of sales, it increases the likelihood of increased conversions in the future.

Rather than targeting specifically based on interests or behaviors, retailers now have the ability to focus on individuals that have, in one form or another, already engaged with their brand.

Pro-Tip: Advertisers with the Facebook pixel implemented on their website can also set lead ads to be shown to people who are likely to sign up for information and are also able to measure cost-per-conversion from lead ads.

“With every campaign you plan on running, you need to first ask yourself what your objectives are,” says Casey Edwards, Social Marketing Manager at CPC Strategy. “If you decide to run a lead ad, your goal probably isn’t revenue. It’s email signups, gathering information, and finding value in various conversion types.”

Lead Ad Specs

Here are Facebook’s Design Recommendations for Lead Ads:

  • Recommended image size: 1,200 x 628 pixels
  • Image ratio: 1.9:1
  • Text: 90 characters
  • Headline: 25 characters
  • News Feed description: 30 characters
  • Your image should include minimal text

 

Video Ads

Goal: Video Views, Brand Awareness

Advertising via video is extremely popular in today’s mobile world. Great for selling, building awareness or just simply entertaining and engaging a customer, video ads are some of the most powerful tools in a modern marketer’s arsenal.

Facebook’s videos are particularly powerful, offering retargeting capabilities that help you hone in on customized audiences that you can later target with other advertising strategies down the line. Throw in the fact that Facebook videos get more than 8 billion views every single day, and the potential in these ads is pretty much undeniable.

Here’s how a video ad looks in the newsfeed:

Facebook Video Ad Type for Retailers

 

Video Ad Specs

Here are Facebook’s Design Recommendations for Video Ads:

  • Text: 90 characters
  • Aspect Ratios Supported: 16:9 (full landscape) to 9:16 (full portrait)
  • Mobile in feed: Videos will be rendered as is up to 2:3, with masking to 2:3 for aspect ratios between 2:3 to 9:16
  • Desktop in feed and desktop player: For desktop in feed, vertical video will continue to be letter-boxed to 1:1. For desktop player, vertical video will be 9:16 with no black bar letter-boxing
  • Recommended Aspect Ratio for Vertical Video: 9:16 (full portrait), ensuring core content falls in the 2:3 mask for mobile News Feed
  • Video: H.264 video compression, high profile preferred, square pixels, fixed frame rate, progressive scan
  • Format: .mp4 container ideally with leading moov atom, no edit lists
  • Audio: Stereo AAC audio compression, 128kbps + preferred

 

For the Technical Requirements, head to Facebook’s Design Recommendations page for Video Ads, or check out our full guide to Facebook Video Ads.

Domain Ads

Goals: Clicks to Site, Website Conversions, Testing Creative

Ideal for attracting leads and driving traffic to your brand’s website, Domain Ads are some of Facebook’s most-used ad types. The ads can point to your homepage, an optimized landing page or even a specific product, purchase area or opt-in form.

Domain Ads are cheap, but they’re not very customizable.

You can only change up the title, add a short description and put in the URL. They’re also not mobile-friendly.

They can, however, utilize re-targeting strategies as long as you have the Facebook Pixel properly installed on your website–and they are a great way to test out new creative without committing to a campaign with multiple placements since they only appear in the right column.

Here’s what a Domain Ad looks like in the wild:

Facebook Domain Ad Type for Retailers

Domain Ad Specs

Here are Facebook’s creative recommendations for Domain Ads:

  • Text: 90 characters
  • Domain link: 1 line
  • Image aspect ratio: 1.39:1
  • Image specs in ad: 600 pixels x 315 pixels

 

Offer Claim Ads

Goals: Traffic, Conversions

Designed for promoting some sort of sale, offer ads are perfect for brick-and-mortar retailers and e-commerce ones alike. These ads can either offer a discount code for online purchases or a barcode that can be used in-store. The user simply clicks the ad, redeems the offer and uses it toward their purchase.

Here’s an example of an Offer Ad:

Facebook Offer Claim Ad Type for Retailers

Offer Claim Ad Specs

Here are Facebook’s creative recommendations for Offer Claim Ads:

  • Recommended image size: 1,200 x 628 pixels
  • Image ratio: 1.9:1
  • Offer title: 25 characters
  • Text: 90 characters
  • Your image should include minimal text

 

Collection Ads

Goal: Clicks to Website, Website Conversions

Brand-spanking new, these ads, when clicked, drive users to what Facebook calls a “collection”—an amalgam of videos and images laid out full-screen in a seamless, grid-like display. Users can click any image to see more detail or purchase the product through the advertiser’s site or app.

Here’s what a Collection Ad looks like:

Facebook Collection Ad Type for Retailers

One thing to keep in mind as you create collection ads–you need a minimum of 8 unique products from different product groups, or you’ll see this error message:

unnamed

Collection Ad Specs

From Facebook’s Collection Design Recommendations (photos):

  • Image Size: 1,200 x 628 pixels recommended
  • Image Ratio: 1.9:1
  • File image type(s):
  • Your image may not include more than 20% text.
  • Headline: 25 characters recommended

 

Video Collection Ad Design Recommendations:

  • Video: H.264 video compression, high profile preferred, square pixels, fixed frame rate, progressive scan
  • Audio: Stereo AAC audio compression, 128kbps + preferred
  • Headline: 25 characters recommended
  • Video Aspect Ratio: 16:9 or 1:1
  • We strongly advise against using vertical video (2:3) for this format type
  • Length: 120 minutes max
  • Thumbnail image ratio: Should match the aspect ratio of your video.
  • Your thumbnail image may not include more than 20% text. See how much text is on your image.
  • Minimum resolution: 600 x 315 pixels (1.9:1 landscape) / 600 x 600 pixels (square)
  • File size: up to 4GB
  • Frames: 30fps max
  • Bitrate: No limit to bitrate file if you’re using two pass encoding, as long as long as your file doesn’t exceed 4 GB. Otherwise, 8 megabits per second for 1080p and 4 megabits per second for 720p.

 

Conclusion

There is no “best” Facebook ad format for all retailers–however, we typically recommend retailers start with Dynamic Ads. Not only will you have the best opportunity to get a return, but they’re incredibly easy to set up. And typically, whatever results you have with Dynamic Ads will foreshadow how well other ad types will perform for you.

Relevant Posts

 

How Facebook Users Engage With Your Ads

The Facebook Consumer Survey 2017
 

About the AuthorLeanna graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University (NJ) in 2012 with a BA in Creative Writing and lived in NYC for two years. In 2014, she returned to her home state of California where she enjoys eating too many fish tacos, skipping winter, and writing quality web content for CPC Strategy. Follow her on Twitter @slylikeasmeagol. See all posts by this author here.