February 6, 2013

4 kinds of Facebook ad types compared

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Understand the nuances of Facebook ads to find the best fit for your objectives

Target audience: Nonprofits, NGOs, cause organizations, social enterprises, businesses, Web publishers, bloggers, social media managers, individuals.

John HaydonFacebook ads differ from almost every other type of Internet ad in at least two important ways:

1) Facebook ads target the interests expressed by users in their profile details, the pages and groups they like, and updates they post on their Timeline (new job, new relationship, new baby, etc.).

2) Facebook ads also scale word-of-mouth marketing to a massive degree by leveraging the recommendations between friends – a network of 140 billion connections Facebook calls the “social graph.”

Nonprofits and other organizations considering Facebook ads can look at this summary of four different types of ads, with an example of each, plus a handy chart at the end of this post:

Marketplace ads


1A Marketplace ad is an ad located in the right-hand sidebar of Facebook on desktop browsers (not available on mobile devices).

Marketplace ads allow you to include a headline, body copy and image. If you’re promoting a Facebook page, a call to action for liking the page appears below the ad.

Marketplace ads can be targeted to any subset of Facebook users.

Sponsored Stories


2A Sponsored Story is a story about a page, event or app that appears in the news feed (Web and mobile). The content for Sponsored Stories is derived from stories generated from people who talk about your page or RSVP to your event.

For example, if you’re advertising an event, stories about people RSVPing to the event would appear as a Sponsored Story in the news feed.

Page post ads


3Page Post ads are posts from your Facebook page that you can promote to existing fans, friends of fans and even non-fans. These ads appear in the news feed and in the sidebar of Facebook (on the Web).

The main difference between Page Post ads and Sponsored Stories is that Page Post ads can be shown to anyone on Facebook, regardless of their connection to your page.

Promoted Posts


4Promoted Posts are Facebook’s answer to the novice marketer who may not have any experience using Facebook ads or those who just prefer to advertise in the simplest way possible.

Promoted Posts are Facebook page updates that you can promote to existing fans or fans and their friends, simply by using the “Promote” feature located under every update on your Timeline.

The other main difference is that you only pay for reach based on a flat rate for various different ranges of people. In many cases, Promoted Posts seem to have the highest click-through rate of all ad types.

An explanation of all four Facebook ad types

FB Ad Chart
Click here for a larger downloadable version

Advertising objectives

Before you spend any money on Facebook ads, you need to determine what your goals and objectives are.

  • Do you want more Facebook page fans?
  • Do you want more exposure for your page posts?
  • How will you use ads to build your email list?
  • Who are you trying to reach and what do you want them to do?

Having very clear answers to these questions will help you spend your ad money wisely.

Which Facebook ads have you tried for your nonprofit? Did they work?

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John Haydon delivers social web strategy solutions for “the quick, the smart, and the slightly manic.” Curious? Then connect up: Contact John by email, see his profile page, visit the John Haydon blog, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment.

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