Ultimate guide to Facebook ad formats and requirements

If you are looking for tools to promote your business, you came to the right place. This article will tell you about a great advertisement tool – Facebook Ads. You will find here a quick intro to the Facebook Ads objectives and audience types, a detailed explanation of Facebook ad formats and requirements, and, of course, top ads examples with the best practices for your campaigns. 

Facebook Ads are a fit for many businesses: from financial services to technology and telecommunications, from electronic commerce to retail. Every company will find its way to promote on Facebook. And despite the differences in business, the rules are the same for practically every industry. To start a successful ad campaign on Facebook, you will need to set the right objective, designate an audience, select preferable Facebook ad formats and create an ad.

Facebook Ads objectives

Facebook provides businesses with different variants of achieving their goals; you just need to decide which goal you are pursuing. To start with, you can choose from three broad categories of objectives:

  • Awareness;
  • Consideration;
  • Conversion.

Awareness campaigns expectedly make people aware of your business. The first objective to choose from – brand awareness – increases awareness of your brand or product among those who are more likely to be interested in it. The second – reach – will bring you as many views as possible of a specific target audience.

Consideration objective has a lot of options. You should use traffic if you want to attract people to your website. Use engagement to engage users into liking or commenting on your post. App installs, and video views are speaking for themselves. Lead generation helps you collect emails and other useful information about interested users. They don’t need to go to your site to share this information; the form pops out directly on Facebook after clicking the ad. However, to interest users in sharing their personal information with you, you should, in return, provide a lead magnet: a discount, a whitepaper, or a free trial. With messages, you can chat with users, appearing in their Direct inbox, for example, asking how a customer’s purchase experience went.

Conversion options offer your potential clients to take action: register on the website or make a purchase, maybe even from catalog sales, or come to your actual store. 

Please note that your objective may change during the lifetime of your business. Your first ads will aim to get people to know you and your product, and your next ads will target an interested audience to make them use your product or service.

Facebook Ads audience types

Facebook is a social media, and it became an inseparable part of people’s lives. Facebook data shows that there are 2.32 billion people who use Facebook every month, so you surely will find your audience. Moreover, Facebook is worth choosing as an advertising platform not only because of the number of users but also for smart targeting options. Age, gender, geo, interests – all of this is available to choose from and use to target specific audiences.

Facebook ad placement

Facebook has a “family” of services. Facebook ads are not only about Facebook but also Instagram, Messenger, Audience Network, Facebook Marketplace. You can choose to advertise at a particular placement or all at once.

Note that you don’t need to have a company profile on Instagram. You just need to have a business account on FB and attach a link to your site to the advertisement. 

Facebook ad formats and requirements

An average human processes a massive amount of information every day: social media, news, emails. And a lot of advertisements as well. So to be noticed, your ad needs to be creative and stand out among others. To help you with this point, Facebook worked out different ad formats so that every business could have more freedom in developing creatives. 

There are the following Facebook ad formats:

  • Photo ads
  • Video ads
  • Stories
  • Messenger
  • Carousel ads
  • Slideshow ads
  • Collection
  • Interactive ads (for apps)

Photo ads

It is the simplest yet not the least performing ad format. It consists of an image and a text. The image should be eye-catching so that the user will notice it in their feed. You can use photos of people using your service or product. If you are planning to create multiple ads, try creating a unique style for your images so the users will recognize your company’s ads. And keep it laconic with text – it will make the ad more effective.

Pardot ad example

Tips from Teamedia for visually striking image ads

1. Use high-resolution images

Blurry images or images with poor lighting may cause people to skim straight past your advertisement, or worse, have a poor experience with your ad.

2. Focus on a single focal point in your image

If there’s too much going on in your image, it may be challenging to understand the message you’re trying to convey.

3. Try using color contrast

Using contrasting colors may cause people to pause while scrolling and take a closer look at your ad.

4. Images with less than 20% text perform better. 

Design Specs:

Supported file types: jpg and png

Image ratio: 1.91:1 to 1:1

Resolution: At least 1080 x 1080 px

Recommended Facebook ad image size:

Minimum width: 600 px

Minimum height: 600 px

Maximum file size: 30 MB

Additional information:

Ad headline: 40 characters

Primary text: 125 characters (if there is no link)

Description: 30 characters

Video ads

There is no need to explain what a video ad is. They’re ads in the shape of videos. Video ads are best used for brand awareness and consideration campaigns. This is why we started the article by looking through objectives: everything, even ad formats, is tied to them. 

If your marketing objective is to get traffic to your site, then Facebook video ads are one way to grab the attention of potential site visitors. Moreover, Facebook tracks how long a person watches a video, which means you can use that information to create a retargeting audience.

Video ads have two types:

  • In-Stream: your ad will appear in a middle of a video the user is watching (these have a 10-second video limit);
  • Feed: users will find your video ad in the feed, where they spend most of their time.

The requirements below are suitable for the second type of video ads.

Zenreach ad example

Tips from Teamedia for video ads

If you’re using videos in your ads, designing for mobile is vital. Take a look at these tips from Teamedia:

1. Keep videos short

Your videos should be 15 seconds or less so that people are more likely to watch until the end.

2. Capture attention quickly

Put the most compelling part of your video at the very beginning to grab interest. We suggest you do this within the first three seconds.

3. Use vertical or square video

Most people hold their phones vertically, so choose a vertical or square ratio to cover the most screen area. Try 4:5 vertical video ads.

4. Feature your product or business message early

Showcase your product or business straight away so that people see and remember it.

5. Design for sound off

People choose to watch videos with sound off in many situations, such as public places. Use text, graphics, and captions whenever possible.

Design specs:

Video Ratio: 16:9 to 9:16

Upload videos without letterboxing (the black bars at the top and bottom or sides of a video)

Video requirements:

Video File Size: 4GB Max

Length: Minimum of 1 second and a maximum of 241 minutes

Additional information:

Ad headline: 40 characters

Primary text: 125 characters

Description: 30 characters

Video thumbnail image no more than 20% text

Stories ads

Share your business story! Stories are photo or video ads but in a different ratio. 

Tips from Teamedia for stories

Tips to check:

  1. Show yourself from the start

    Most effective ads use branding and key messages right at the beginning.
  2. Speed up the ad

    You can use animation or video to engage the audience.
  3. Add some noise

    80% of stories with voiceover or music perform better at the bottom of the funnel compared to ads without sound.
  4. Match text to keyframes to draw attention to the main point
  5. Draw attention to your call to action

    Which is usually “Swipe Up” in Stories.

You can also find there a gallery of Stories for your inspiration.

Babbel ad example

Facebook and Instagram Stories size:

1,080 x 1,920 pixels

Most people hold their phones vertically, so we recommend 9:16 to capture the whole screen.

Stories can be viewed on Facebook, Instagram, and even Messenger.

Messenger ads

Show your ad as a message from your company straight in a person’s Messenger. After clicking this ad, the user can go to your website, app, or chat with your company. This is the quickest way to hear questions from potential clients and answer them straight away. You can also send individual messages retargeting those clients who had been in contact with your company.

One more category of Messenger ads is Destination ads. These are shown in the feed with a call-to-action “Send message” or “Learn more”.

Taken from adespresso.com

Design Specs:

Supported file types: jpg and png

Image ratio: 1:1

Recommended resolution: 1080 x 1080 px

Additional information:

Ad headline: 40 characters

Primary text: 125 characters

Description: 30 characters

Carousel ads

What if your offer has so many features you want to tell about that one image is not enough? Use ten! Actually, in Carousel ads, you can use from two to ten images or videos, each with a different link. This way, you can show your product from different angles or in different colors or moreover show other products, if you have many.  

parcelLab ad example

Design specs:

Supported image file types: jpg and png

Suggested video file types: MP4, MOV, GIF

Image requirements:

Max image file size: 30MB

Recommended image size: 1,080 x 1,080 pixels

Recommended image ratio: 1:1

Video requirements:

Max video file size: 4GB

Length: Maximum of 240 minutes

Aspect Ratio: 1:1

Additional information:

Ad headline: 40 characters

Primary text: 125 characters

Description: 20 characters

Slideshow ads

If you think that video production is a time-consuming and expensive process (and in most cases, it is), you should pay attention to this type of ad. Slideshow is actually a video made of images with added text and music. You can upload a ready-made slideshow or create one using existing images of your product in the Facebook ads manager. A significant advantage of these ads is that these videos are lightweight, so you can be sure that every user will have an opportunity to watch an ad, even with an unstable internet connection.

Tips from Teamedia for slideshow ads

Use slideshow to explain how your software works. You can choose a different image for each step of the work process.

Charter College ad example

Design Specs:

Number of images: between 3 and 10

Supported file types: jpg and png

Image ratio: 16:9, 1:1, or 2:3 (automatically crops to 1:1 if images are different sizes)

Video Guidelines:

Supported file types: .MP4 and .MOV

Recommended length: Maximum 15 seconds (duration changes depending on the number of images used)

Aspect Ratio: Between 9:16 to 16:9

File size: Up to 4 GB max

Audio guidelines:

File types: WAV, MP3, M4A, FLAC, and OGG formats

Additional information:

Ad headline: 25 characters

Primary text: 90 characters

Description: 30 characters

Collection ads

Display your products to your clients using the main image or video and a collection of smaller images. The video may show how to use your product or reveal its main features. If potential clients are interested in one of these things, it would be easy for them to click on the corresponding image below and access full-screen Facebook Instant Experience ads. It is handy for E-commerce companies. 

Adidas ad example

Design specs – use templates based on your marketing objectives:

Get new customers

Sell products: grid layout

Sell products: lifestyle layout

Showcase your business

Facebook ad image size requirements:

Ratio: 1:1

Resolution: 1080 x 1080 px

Interactive ads

This type will be helpful for advertisers with an app. Your objective is, for sure, App installs. How do you convince people to do it? Let them play! With the help of these ads, you can create an interactive video showing what can be done in your app without downloading it. You can read more here.

Angry Birds ad example

People spend about 4 hours a day on their phones: using apps, sending messages, and viewing ads. Facebook made it easier to reach mobile audiences. Now you can be sure that your ad is displayed correctly on mobiles and everyone will get as much information as you wanted.

Instant Experience (formerly “Canvas”) is a full-screen landing page. The main advantages of Instant Experience are fast page loading and the ability to use almost any ad format.

Image requirements:

Recommended image size: 1,200 x 628 pixels

Image ratio: 1.91:1

Instant Experience requirements:

Aspect Ratio: Tolerance : 3%

Video requirements:

Recommended length: up to 15 seconds

File size: Up to 4 GB max

Additional information:

Ad copy text: 90 characters

Ad headline: 45 characters

Facebook Ads best practices and top 7 Facebook ad examples

Now that we’ve described the ad formats Facebook allows to place, and we can move to the more practical stuff. To start with, you can read one of our previous articles: Facebook Ads best practices for tech companies and SaaS. But before you click that link, stay here; we found some working ad examples. 

1. Trello

Trello ad example

This ad has a good slogan, “turn meetings into do-ings,” as Trello is a software product that aims to increase efficiency and organization of any business. Imagine that a person checks their feed in a boring meeting and finds this ad. This is a 100% hit in insight!

2. Blinklist

Blinklist ad example

If you still think that Carousel ads are for e-commerce clothing shops, look at this ad. First of all, this is an excellent way of showing that you have plenty of options to choose from. Secondly, Blinkist uses its own design, which matches its company’s style and catches an eye.

3. Asana

Asana ad example

Asana is a work management tool just like Trello mentioned above. In this case, they use metrics in an ad, and people love seeing figures. Especially when it’s a sale. Wait, the text says that’s not a sale. Wow, is it a joke? Maybe, but they are pretty serious about the productivity problem, and it looks like they know how to solve this.

4. BigCommerce

BigCommerce ad example

BigCommerce is a SaaS eCommerce platform featuring customer groups and segmentation, search engine optimization, web hosting, and much more. It’s a Shopify competitor, which is more known actually. That is why BigCommerce decided to act on it and mention the competitor in their ad. That’s bold!

5. Grammarly

Grammarly ad example

It is clear that this ad is for those who are sometimes unsure if they are writing this work-related message correctly. That is for everyone. No need to worry now. Grammarly will be there for you if you would like to type anything.  

6. Fundrise

Fundrise ad example

This message looks a bit like clickbait, and it probably is. If you are providing something you have offered (even with just $500), then it’s clickbait in the best meaning possible: this ad will bring you clicks! 

7. ConvertKit

ConvertKit ad example

Surely you know what retargeting means. When you “meet” your potential client online for the second time, you need to stand out with your ad. Like these guys, for example, using a creative retargeting ad to promote their product to people who have visited the website.

Summing up

Now that you know the basics of Facebook ad formats and requirements, you’re ready to use Facebook for your advertising campaigns. As with all things in business, you’ll want to test which objectives and ad formats work well for your business. You’ll want to develop an ad strategy that makes sense for your business, so you get the best ROI from your efforts. Ads are all about learning, so you should adjust the format and placement as you learn more about your audience and their habits. If by the end of this article you realized that you are not ready to puzzle out this system or that you don’t have enough time, Teamedia is ready to help! Our team of PPC professionals will keep an eye on your ads and optimize them at every possible moment. To conclude, Facebook is an advertising machine full of possibilities, and you just need to grasp them!