A Simple Breakdown of All Your Facebook Advertising Options

Amanda Sibley
Amanda Sibley



facebook ad typesintermediate

Facebook seems to be launching a new form of advertising -- or some new feature within the advertising -- every day. From the launch of Sponsored Stories to the mobile promotion of app downloads, Facebook is working hard at post-IPO monetization.

And while they know that marketers' interest in digital advertising is a great place to start with this whole monetization thing, they also know that they can't rest on their laurels. These days, marketers expect options, personalization, and ROI. As a reuslt, they've responded with tons of new types of advertising, and targeting and optimization features within those different types.

Great! Right? Well, yes, except now it's hard to keep all the new ad types and features straight. Heck, it's hard to even remember what advertising options exist, and how they all differ from one another.

So we're going to break down all of the advertising options Facebook has to offer, and explain when they should be used. This should help you keep all the Facebook ad options straight!

Facebook's 5 Forms of On-Page Advertising

1) Facebook Ad

These ads appear on the right of a user's Facebook profile and newsfeed. They appear as ads from the specific company, and have no social interaction component. This is a simple ad form that can send the user to an external page, or your Facebook business page. To start your advertising campaign, go to https://www.facebook.com/advertising.

To send a user to an external page:

Once in the Facebook ad platform, create a new ad by selecting the first option on the destination drop down menu. Here you can type in the URL you would like to send people to.

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You can then create your ad headline, text, and image. Try to use "attention grabbing" copy and an image to increase engagement with your ad. CTRs on ads can be very low, but can be improved with more entertaining and attractive creative material.

Facebook will try to pull material from the URL you have typed in and generate an ad. Make sure the headline and copy is correct, as it will pull the first sentence it finds, which may not be what you're looking to promote. For example, when I use the URL www.hubspot.com/3/ which promotes our latest software release, the headline of the ad comes up as “Marketing Software That’s,” because the headline can only be 25 characters. I will go back into this ad and change the headline to one that actually make sense!

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To send a user to a Facebook page:

To promote your Facebook page, you'll create an ad in a different way. In the first step where you choose your destination, you'll select your Facebook business page.

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After you select your page, the new Facebook ad platform will give you three options. To promote your page to get more Likes, thus increasing your reach, you'll want to click on the first option: Get More Page Likes.

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Again, Facebook will generate ad copy for you, so you'll need to change that to reflect something more appropriate.

When promoting your Facebook page, you're able to select the 'Landing View,' which is where the user will end when they click on your ad. To get the most Likes, sending them to your timeline would be best, where they can see the summary of your company and easily Like your page. But if you want to promote another part of your page, you can send them to another app, just be careful -- make sure you're clear in your ad copy as to where they're going after the click to avoid post-click desertion. If people expect one thing in the ad, and land on a page unrelated to what they saw in the ad, they're much less likely to remain on the page and engage with your content. 

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In the new Facebook ads platform, you're also able to create a Sponsored Story for any of your ads. I'll explain what that means in this next section, but know that you can do this for any post of a page, app, or offer that's on Facebook. 

2) Sponsored Story

A Sponsored Story is a post generated because someone interacted with whatever you're promoting. So if I promoted HubSpot's business page, a Sponsored Story would be generated if someone Liked our business page. This story will appear to the user’s friends’ newsfeeds, and it will look like this:

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These types of posts can be very beneficial as they show up to people who aren’t necessarily engaged yet with your brand, but have "social proof" because their friends have liked the page. We at HubSpot have seen higher clickthrough rates for these types of advertisements on Facebook, as well.

3) Promoted Posts

Promoting a post that's already on your page can help you get more visibility for a specific offer, event, image, or announcement -- it sends the person back to the offer on your Facebook page, and helps increase engagement on these posts. To promote a post, select the second option, 'Promoted Page Posts,' after you've already selected to promote your business page:

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Once you've hit the radio button, you can select which recent post you'd like to promote. The past 20 or so posts will be generated, so if you decide you want to promote something older you can go back and find the post. 

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You are not able to change the copy of the ad generated, so when posting something on your wall, keep in mind that only the first sentence will appear in the ad. Remember to make the copy of the post as engaging as possible to get people to click on your ad.

This ad can lead either to an external link, or another part of your Facebook page. This is dependent on what kind of offer you post on your Facebook page. If you post a photo, and sponsor that photo, clicking on the ad will only lead the user to your photo album on your Facebook page. To send a user off of Facebook onto your own landing page, you can post a link to an external page on your Facebook page. The image that's generated in this case will link to your landing page. We do this to drive traffic to our ebook offers, for example, which can be a great lead generation tool.

4) Sponsored App

If your business has an application on Facebook, you can also sponsor an app. Simply select the app in step one:

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You're given three option again: Get New Users, Increase App Engagement, and See Advanced Options.

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If you select the first option, 'Get New Users,' your ad will be shown to people that are not already using your app in order to get more people to use the app. Facebook will generate an ad for you, which you can go in and edit to reflect the benefit of using the app.

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If you select option two, 'Increase App Engagement,' your ad will be shown to current users of the app to try and increase the current users’ engagement with the app.

Selecting option three, 'See Advanced Options,' gives you more choices on bidding and cost-per-click optimization, which we'll discuss later on in this post.

Sponsored Story Within an App

You can also choose to have stories promoted about people sharing and using your app. Just like with Sponsored Stories of wall posts, these often show a higher CTR and lower volume, as they have the element of social proof and interactions with friends lending a helping hand. These also show up in the news feeds of friends who are using the app.

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5) Event Sponsorship

The last form of traditional advertising you can do on Facebook is a Sponsored Event. Here you can increase the attendance of your event by showing the ad to people who are likely to sign up for your event.

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Targeting & Optimizing Ads on Facebook

All the ads above have the same form of audience targeting and bidding that will help you streamline your expenditure. Here are the options you have:


You can target by location, from country to city, as well as age and gender. If your business has a local audience, it would make sense to only have your ads appear to the people that may actually become customers in your specific area. 

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What I think is one of the most valuable parts of Facebook advertising is the ability to target based on interests. You can select as many interests as you wish and target people that have stated this as an interest, or have liked the page. This allows you to find the people that you want to reach and are qualified for your business.

Facebook will also let you know the size of the audience. You'll want to make sure you're targeting the right audience, but if the volume is very low, you may want to think of broadening your targeting in order to reach your lead generation goal. Luckily, Facebook has over one billion users, so most audiences will be very substantial!


Further, you can target the type of connections you want your ads to reach. You can target:

  • Anyone - This will show your ads to all people who are within the targeting you already chose.
  • People connected to your brand - This will help increase engagement with the people who already Like your brand.
  • People not connected to your brand This will increase the reach of your brand.
  • Advanced Targeting This allows you to target people who are connected to specific brands that you want to reach. This could help you if you know of a brand that is followed by people similar to your target audience.
  • Friends of Connections – You can target people whose friends are fans of your page. This can help grow the brand awareness of your brand to people who may be similar minded as the people who are already your fans.

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The final step in creating an ad on Facebook is the bidding and pricing. Name your campaign -- the name is just for you, so make sure you name it something unique that you'll remember -- and input your budget on a daily or lifetime spend basis.


Facebook can auto-optimize your campaign budget for clicks or impressions. This means Facebook will set your cost-per-click (CPC) or cost per thousand impressions (CPM) to best spend your budget while getting the most clicks or impressions. You can also choose to manually set the CPC or CPM. I personally like to use a CPC bidding for my campaigns, as I'm usually creating ads that send people to a landing page for one of our offers. This way I only pay when someone actually engages in my ad. 

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Sponsored Results

Facebook recently came out with a new form of advertising on Facebook, Sponsored Results. Marketers can now sponsor results in the search bar on Facebook. By sponsoring a result, when people search for certain profiles that you've bid on, your page, app, or event will appear in search results.

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To create a sponsored result, you'll need to use Power Editor, which can be downloaded through the facebook.com/ads platform. 

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Once in the Power Editor, you start by creating an ad.

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Choose to advertise something you already have on Facebook.

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You can then select what you want to send people to when they click on your Sponsored Result. Here, I have chosen to send people to our business page.

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To make this a Sponsored Result, you need to choose Sponsored Result in the 'Story Type' tab. The 'Destination tab' is where the user will be sent within your business page (here I have Default, which goes to the Timeline), and the body is the copy that people will see in the Sponsored Result next to your logo. Make sure this is as interesting as possible to get people to click on your result and go to your page. 


With Facebook Exchange, advertisers can now use Facebook ads for retargeting people who view their website. These ads appear in the right side of a Facebook profile instead of in the news feed as Sponsored Stories. These ads cannot be created in the Facebook ads platform or the Power Editor; advertisers work with a third party DSP or retargeting agency. Facebook has partnerships with many of these, making it easy for advertisers to use this form of marketing. Advertisers place a pixel on their website, dropping a cookie on each viewer who visits their website. These people are then "retargeted" with ads on their Facebook profiles from the company. 

Retargeting is a interesting way to reach people who may already be interested in your brand. These people have already gone to your website, but may not have taken the next step in the buying cycle. A retargeted ad can help them move down the funnel, and eventually become a customer!

Facebook advertising can be a great way to generate fans, leads, and customers. Now go test these options out and see what works best for you. Good luck!

Did you know about all of these Facebook advertising options? Are you going to try any of them out for the first time? Have any given you surprising results?

Image credit: Guudmorning!

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