Facebook Ads Platforms and Placements Explained

Remember when a Facebook ad used to just be a Facebook ad? Ahh the good ol’ days.

Just kidding!

Since we started running ads on Facebook in 2010, the platform has expanded greatly and now includes over 10 different placements across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, etc. It can be tough to keep track of them all so we’ve assembled this handy reference guide for you to use.

First let’s get some of the terminology out of the way:

Platform: the platform is the family of placements where an ad can run. These include Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Audience Network.

Placement: the placement is the specific location where the ad appears on the platform. Mobile Newsfeed or Instagram Story for example.

Facebook

  1. Feed 
    Facebook Newsfeed Ad

    1. Location: ads that appear in the main news feed on both desktop and mobile versions of Facebook.
    2. Devices: desktop & mobile
    3. Info: These are the most common ads and typically mobile news feed on Facebook drives the majority of our traffic.
  2. Right Column
    Facebook Right Hand Column Ads

    1. Location: ads that appear in the right hand column of Facebook on desktop
    2. Devices: desktop
    3. Info: these are the oldest type of Facebook ads. They tend to not get much volume but they can perform well in retargeting campaigns.
  3. Instant Articles Facebook Instant Article Ads
    1. Location: ads that appear in Instant Articles on the Facebook mobile app and Messenger
    2. Devices: mobile
    3. Info: this placement typically does not get very much delivery, but it can work well especially for lead generation ads.
  4. In-Stream Video Facebook Instream Video Ad
    1. Location: video ads that appear during FB Live and regular videos on Facebook
    2. Devices: desktop & mobile
    3. Info: if you’re using this placement, make sure your videos are engaging! There’s nothing worse than being interrupted by a boring ad.
  5. Stories Facebook Stories Ads
    1. Location: ads that appear in between Stories that people are watching on Facebook
    2. Devices: desktop & mobile
    3. Info: we’ve been seeing very good results from these lately. Video content works best, but you can turn your regular link post ads into Story ads using automatic placements.
  6. Marketplace
    Facebook Marketplace Ads

    1. Location: ads that appear in the Facebook marketplace homepage or within marketplace pages on Facebook.
    2. Devices: mobile
    3. Info: note that ads in Marketplace will also appear in the Facebook mobile news feed. It isn’t currently possible to run only in Marketplace.

 

Instagram

  1. Feed Instagram Feed Ad
    1. Location: ads that appear in the main news feed on both desktop and mobile versions of Instagram
    2. Devices: desktop & mobile
    3. Info: this placement gets a ton of delivery and typically performs well. Make sure your ad images are eye catching to fit in with the nature of Instagram and also stand out to get people to stop scrolling.
  2. Stories Instagram Stories Ads
    1. Location: ads that appear in between Stories that people are watching on Instagram
    2. Devices: desktop & mobile
    3. Info: we’ve been seeing very good results from these lately. Video content works best, but you can turn your regular link post ads into Story ads using automatic placements.

Messenger

  1. Inbox Facebook Messenger Inbox Ad
    1. Location: ads that appear in the home tab of Messenger
    2. Devices: mobile
    3. Info: We don’t typically use this placement. Let us know in the comments if you’ve had success with it and any tips you’d like to share!
  2. Sponsored Inbox Facebook Sponsored Message Ad
    1. Location: ads that appear as messages delivered to a person when they have an existing conversation with you in Messenger
    2. Devices: mobile
    3. Info: We don’t typically use this placement. Let us know in the comments if you’ve had success with it and any tips you’d like to share!

Audience Network

  1. Banner Ads, Interstitial Ads, & Native Ads Facebook Audience Network Ad
    1. Location: Ads that appear on apps and websites opted in to the Facebook Audience Network.
    2. Devices: desktop & mobile
    3. Info: We don’t typically use this placement. Let us know in the comments if you’ve had success with it and any tips you’d like to share!
  2. Rewarded Video Facebook Audience Network Rewarded Video Ad
    1. Location: Ads that appear as videos people can watch in exchange for rewards in an app.
    2. Devices: mobile
    3. Info: We don’t typically use this placement. Let us know in the comments if you’ve had success with it and any tips you’d like to share!
  3. In-Stream Video Facebook Audience Network Instream Video Ad
    1. Location: Ads that appear as short videos that run either before, during, or after a video hosted on another site outside of Facebook.
    2. Devices: desktop & mobile
    3. Info: We don’t typically use this placement. Let us know in the comments if you’ve had success with it and any tips you’d like to share!

There you have it – the full list of placements available for Facebook and Instagram Ads. Testing different placements is a crucial part of any successful ad campaign. Certain placements work well for us in most campaigns but every campaign is unique and it’s important to test a lot, especially in the beginning, to find what works best for you.

Best of luck on your campaigns!

Chris Root is a co-owner of eBoost Consulting and works out of our Boulder, CO location. He writes primarily about social advertising and gets overly excited when Facebook releases new targeting capabilities.

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