A Guide to Understanding Facebook Ads


Newsflash: marketing isn’t what it used to be. While a bunch of businesses still cling to incessant cold calling and dirty click-bait tactics, others recognise the need to line their strategies up with the times. Enter Facebook ads.

With 81 percent of online consumers being influenced by marketing through social media, it’s no surprise that Facebook ads now rival Google AdWords. But Zuckerberg’s online empire has a not-so-secret weapon that gives it a serious advantage – data, and lots of it.

As of 2018, over a billion people voluntarily log personal details on their Facebook profiles. Information can range from a name and birthday to interests, hobbies and even their location, a marketing goldmine for targeting products, donations, events and articles to potential customers.

Since launching Facebook ads in late 2007, the social media titan has transformed the global marketing game, already cashing in a whopping $30 billion in ad revenue for 2018. Facebook has designed its advertising programs to not only be accessible, budget-friendly and flexible, but also simple to use.

Of the Facebook ad templates, we’ve put together a brief outline of our three favourites below, including the criteria needed to build them and how each design can benefit your business.


1. Video

Despite its ever-changing algorithm, Facebook continues to favour video content. Moving visuals tend to hold user attention for longer, gain better traction and generate more engagement. Although they demand extra production effort than a quick Photoshop graphic, videos breathe life into a brand. Here’s a great example from Qantas, which transformed a mundane task into an interactive exercise.


Videos must have:

  • a ratio of 9:16 to 16:9
  • a maximum file size of 4GB
  • a minimum video duration of 1 second and maximum of 240 minutes

It’s also worth pointing out that:

  • video sound and captions are optional, but recommended
  • 125 characters of text is available to write a message above the video
  • a call to action is advised, such as “Sign Up Now” or “Learn More”

Bonus: 360° Videos

As Facebook continues to develop virtual realities, plenty of organisations are starting to explore the 360° video feature. Although producing a 360° film requires special equipment, it gives users an unforgettable, immersive experience. Take a look below at the 360° map that HBO’s Game of Thrones designed as a teaser to their new season.


2. Carousel

So much more than just a string of images, the carousel template knows no creative limits. Brands have used this design to tell stories, demonstrate steps on how to use a product and highlight specific product features, just like Tieks did below.

Source: Buffer

Still not sure about carousels? Listen to this: after running a campaign from March to April in 2015, LOVOO (a location-based dating app) reported a 72 per cent higher click-through rate on their carousel ad than on previously run single image advertisements. The results were so extraordinary that it caught the eye of Facebook’s product engineers and was published as a success story on the official Facebook blog.


Carousels must include:

  • a minimum of 2 images/videos and a maximum of 10
  • a maximum file size of 4GB for videos, or 30MB for images (.png or .jpg)
  • a link description text limit of 20 characters

Also of note:

  • 125 characters of text is available to write above the carousel
  • a call to action is best, such as “Sign Up Now” or “Learn More”
  • the recommended resolution is 1080 x 1080px


3. Collection

Meet the latest addition to Facebook ads. The Collection template is the best of both worlds, combining a cover video or photo with a selection of product images. Collection ads offer a full-screen campaign to engage users and give a unique browsing experience. Below is an example from Adidas, showcasing their new season drop.

Source: Facebook


  • Creating a Collection ad will take you to the Canvas landing page. There you can choose from four designs: original, grid layout, lifestyle layout and business showcase
  • Headline text: 25 characters
  • Summary text: 90 characters
  • Ability to insert a call to action, such as “Sign Up Now” or “Learn More”, or display your brand’s website at the bottom of the screen (see above).


As with all online ads, it’s best to experiment and decide what’s right for your business. Don’t be afraid of trial and error – set up multiple ads and see which work best for you. After all, that’s how the pros do it.

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