Facebook Introduces Square Images for Link Ads – Advertisers Rejoice!

Back in early November we received some very exciting news from Facebook – they were planning to introduce the ability to run square images in Link Ads!

Now I know not everybody will understand the gravity of what I just said right away, so allow me to explain.

In the early days of Facebook ads, the only ad type you could use to drive traffic off Facebook was the right hand column ad unit. Remember these?

old facebook ad type

Boring, small, easy to miss.

Then in 2013 Facebook introduced Newsfeed ads and we all said “Hooray!” More  inventory and more ad real estate meant more traffic. Here’s how those looked

Facebook Page Post Link Ad

Then in 2014 Facebook dramatically changed this ad type by including what at the time seemed like huge images in the ad format. And the ENTIRE image linked to the landing page! So whether users clicked on your link or just clicked on the image itself, they were taken off on their merry way to your website.

You are probably very familiar with this ad type whether you realize it or not. It’s ~90% of your newsfeed where you see the text followed by a rectangular image and a grey box with bold text below that.

These have been our mainstay ad type for years and aside from minor formatting changes, they’ve remained essentially as is for the last 4 years. Here’s how those look:

Facebook Image Link Ad Dimensions

 

But recently we have been branching off a bit from this ad type in our client campaigns.

We found through an unconventional approach that using the Photo Ad format with its large square images was outperforming the Link Ad format. The strange part about this is that the only way to get people to your website is by including a link in the copy. So instead of people getting to your website by clicking the image, they have to click one specific link in your ad copy.

Like this:

Facebook Photo Ad

And it worked!

These ads have been producing better results for our clients and have become a standard part of our playbook. And now Facebook has essentially introduced the same method as an option on Link Ads so instead of only being able to run rectangular (1200×628 pixel) images in your link ads, you can now run square (1080×1080 pixel) images.

Here’s how they look:

Facebook Square Link Ads

Here are the two reasons why we are most excited about it:

  1. Better performance. Square images mean more real estate for your ad and higher click-through rates which equates to lower costs per click. On average we’re seeing 22.2% lower CPCs with square vs rectangular link ad images across our clients. That’s huge!
  2. Less design overhead. In the past we’ve needed two sets of every design – one for Facebook and one for Instagram. Now we can cut that time in half by creating one image that works well on both platforms.

Now let’s hear from you – have you tried them out? Did you even know about it? Facebook has been oddly quiet about the change and we haven’t seen much chatter from the community about it so we’re eager to hear other advertisers’ experiences with the new format.

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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