Facebook advertising

A Guide to Facebook Ads

Facebook ads are purchased on an auction basis, where advertisers are charged based on either clicks, impressions or actions. There are plenty of different ad formats offered, and in this guide we will try to give you a structured view of what opportunities you have as an advertiser on Facebook.

You can create and publish all types of ads yourself, either through Facebook’s self-service interface or through a certified ads API developer such as Qwaya - if you need a more comprehensive tool for managing your Facebook advertising. The ads are delivered all across Facebook, and some formats are eligible to show in the Facebook News feed.

Facebook ads belong to one of two categories, Ads or Sponsored stories.

When thinking of the ad formats in this way it is easy to get an idea of what alternatives there are for advertising on Facebook. Let’s go through each category in detail.

Ads - Voice of business

For Facebook ads in this category, you as an advertiser are in full control of all creative elements of the ad. This means you control the title of the ad, the imagery and any text that goes with it.

Facebook currently has 10 different ad types that fall in the Ad category:

  • App ad
  • Domain ad
  • Event ad
  • Mobile app ad
  • Page like ad
  • Page post ads
    • Page post link ad
    • Page post photo ad
    • Page post text ad
    • Page post video ad
    • Offer ad


Where on Facebook these ads are eligible to appear (their placement) depend on their type. Let’s go through them each in a little more detail.

App ad

App ads are, just like the name hints, ads for applications on Facebook. For App ads you don’t set a destination, they always take people to the application itself when clicked.

Desktop: Right hand side

Creative specs

  • Title: App name (25 characters)
  • Text: 90 characters
  • Image aspect ratio: 1.39:1
  • Image specs in ad: 100x72 px

Domain ad

Domain ads are the classic Facebook ads that you see on the right hand side of Facebook and that takes you off site when clicking them. They are typically used for direct-response campaigns where the conversion takes place outside of Facebook.

Domain ads can show social context (e.g., “John Smith likes www.example.com”). For this to happen, Facebook must be able to match the destination URL of your ad with a Facebook page.

To make this match possible, add the URL of your website in your Facebook page’s settings.

Desktop: Right hand side

Creative specs

  • Title: 25 characters
  • Text: 90 characters
  • Domain link: 1 line
  • Image aspect ratio: 1.39:1
  • Image specs in ad: 100x72 px

Event ad

Event ads are, like the name suggests, ads for Facebook Events. They can show on all placements and it is possible to join the event directly from the ad.

Desktop: Right hand side

Creative specs

  • Text: 90 characters
  • Image aspect ratio: 1.39:1
  • Image specs in ad: 100x72 px
  • Event details that are pulled from event:
    • Title: 25 characters
    • Page name: 1 line, if applicable
    • Date and time: 1 line, under image

Desktop: News feed

Creative specs

  • Text: 500 characters
  • Image aspect ratio: 8:3
  • Image specs in ad: 400x150 px
    If the uploaded image is smaller than 400x150 px or no image is uploaded, then the ad will render without an image
  • Event details (pulled from event):
    • Title: 1-2 lines (depending on length)
    • Address: Up to 1 line (depending on title length)
    • Date and time: 1 line

Mobile News feed

Creatives specs

  • Text: 90 characters
  • Image aspect ratio: 8:3
  • Image specs in ad: 560x210 px
    If the uploaded image is smaller than 400 px wide or no image is uploaded, then the ad will render with a map showing location of event
  • Event details that are pulled from the event to show in the ad:
    • Title: 1-2 lines (depending on length)
    • Address: 1-2 lines (depending on title length and social context)
    • Date and time: 1 line

Mobile app ad

Mobile app ads are only eligible to show in the News feed on mobile. Clicks on the ad takes the user directly to the Apple App Store or Google Play, depending on which mobile operating system the app is for.

In order to measure mobile app installs, the app must first be connected with Facebook. This does not mean that it has to integrate with Facebook from a user experience perspective, but Facebook must be aware of its existence. You can read more about how to do this in this tutorial provided by Facebook.

Mobile news feed

Creative specs

  • Title: App name
  • Text: 90 characters
  • Image aspect ratio: 1:91
  • Image specs in ad: 1200x627 px
  • App details:
    • Star ratings: Appear if you have at least 250 ratings in the App Center
    • Social context: Will appear if your friends play/use the game/app and if you have Facebook login enabled

Page like ad

Page like ads are ads for Facebook Pages. The Page can be liked directly from the ad.

Desktop: Right hand side

Creative specs

  • Text: 90 characters
  • Title: 25 characters
  • Page name: 1 line
  • Image aspect ratio: 1.39:1
  • Image specs in ad: 100x72 px

Desktop: News feed

Creatives specs

  • Text: 90 characters
  • Image aspect ratio: 8:3
  • Image specs in ad: 400x150 px
    If the image is smaller than 400x150 px, then the ad will render with a smaller 100x72 px image
  • Page details (pulled from Page):
    • Page category: Up to 1 line (depending on length of Page name)

Mobile News feed

Creative specs

  • Text: 90 characters
  • Image aspect ratio: 8:3
  • Image specs in ad: 560x210 px
    If the image is smaller than 560x210 px, then the ad will render with a smaller 200x144 px image.
  • Page details (pulled from Page):
    • Page category: Up to 1 line (depending on length of Page name)

Page post ads

Page post ads are Page posts that are sponsored (sometimes called promoted)in order to increase their reach. Both published and unpublished Page posts can be sponsored and thus used as Page post ads.

Turning a Page post into a Page post ad by promoting it doesn’t change the original post in terms of appearance - only in terms of distribution. This means that Facebook users interact with a Page post ad the same way they would with an unsponsored Page post.

For example, if your post contains a link to a website, people will go to that website when clicking the link. If your post contains a photo, it will be enlarged when clicked. The same logic applies for posts with videos or offers.

When appearing in the News feed, page post ads can be liked, commented and shared - just like unsponsored page posts.

A click on the page name always takes the user to the Facebook page that published the post (Qwaya in the example). When a page post ad is showing on the right hand side of Facebook, the text in the post is truncated, showing only the first 90 characters. When showing in the News feed more of the post’s text is visible.

Page post ads come in five different types:

Page post link ad

Desktop: Right hand side

Creative specs

  • Text: 90 characters, remainder truncated
  • Link title: 25 characters
  • Domain link: 1 line
  • Image aspect ratio: 1.39:1
  • Image specs in ad: 100x72 px

Desktop: News feed

Creative specs

  • Text: 500 characters
  • Title: 1-2 lines (depending on length)
  • Domain link: 1 line
  • Description: 2-3 lines (depending on title length)
  • Image aspect ratio: 1.91:1
  • Image specs in ad: 400x209 px
    If the uploaded image is smaller than 400x209 px, then it will render as 154x154 or 90x90 px (the largest available size)
  • Links to external video like YouTube: Image is limited to 90x90 px

Mobile News feed

Creative specs

  • Text: 90 characters
  • Link Title: 1-2 lines (depending on length)
  • Domain link: 1 line
  • Description: Up to 1 line (depending on title length)
  • Image aspect ratio: 1.91:1
  • Image specs in ad: 560x292 px
    If the uploaded image is smaller than 560x292 px, then it will render as 100x100 px
  • Links to external video like YouTube: Image is limited to 100x100 px design

Page post photo ad

Desktop: Right hand side

Creative specs

  • Text: 90 characters.
  • Image Aspect Ratio: Up to 1:1 at the tallest. This depends on the specs of the uploaded image.
  • Image specs in ad: Up to 120x120 px.

Desktop: News feed

Creative specs

  • Text: 500 characters.
  • Image Aspect Ratio: Up to 1:1 at the tallest. This depends on the specs of the uploaded image.
  • Image specs in ad: Up to 400x400 px.
  • Image specs if it's a multi-image story
    • 2 or 4 photos: 196x196 px for each photo
    • 3 or 5-9 photos: 129x129 px for each photo
    • Album created stories: 3 photos at 129x129 px; 1 photo at 398x264 px

Mobile News feed

Creative specs

  • Text: 90 characters.
  • Image Aspect Ratio: Up to 1:1 at the tallest. This depends on the specs of the uploaded image.
  • Image specs in ad: Up to 618x618 px. This will scale to fit the longest edge at 618 px.
  • Image aspect ratio if it's a multi-image story: 1:1. It will be cropped to make 1:1 regardless of the size.

Page post text ad

Desktop: Right hand side

Creative specs

  • Text: 90 characters.

Desktop: News feed

Creative specs

  • Text: 500 characters

Mobile News feed

Creative specs

  • Text: 90 characters.

Page post video ad

Desktop: Right hand side

Creative specs

  • Text: 90 characters.
  • Thumbnail image aspect ratio: Up to 1:1 at tallest depending on the specs of the uploaded image.
  • Image specs in ad: Up to 128x128 px.
  • Max video size and length: 1 GB, 20 minutes.

Desktop: News feed

Creative specs

  • Text: 500 characters.
  • Thumbnail aspect ratio: Up to 1:1 at tallest depending on the specs of the uploaded image.
  • Image specs in ad: Up to 400x400 px.
  • Max video size and length: 1 GB, 20 minutes.

Mobile News feed

Creative specs

  • Text: 90 characters.
  • Thumbnail image aspect ratio: Up to 1:1 at tallest (depending on specs of uploaded image.
  • Max video size and length: 1 GB, 20 minutes.

Offer ad

Offer ads can promote an offer redeemable in a physical store or online.

Desktop: Right hand side

Creative specs

  • Text: 90 characters
  • Offer title: 25 characters
  • Page name: 1 line
  • Image aspect ratio: 1.39:1
  • Image specs in ad: 100x72 px

Desktop: News feed

Creative specs

  • Text: 500 characters
  • Image aspect ratio: 1.91:1
  • Image specs in ad: 400x209 px
  • Offer details:
    • Title: 1-2 lines (depending on length)
    • Expiration date: Up to 1 line (depending on title length)

Mobile News feed

Creative specs

  • Text: 90 characters
  • Image aspect ratio: 1.91:1
  • Image specs in ad: 560x292 px
    If the uploaded image is too small, then it will render as 100x100 px
  • Offer details:
    • Title: 1-2 lines (depending on length)
    • Expiration date: Up to 1 line (depending on title length)

Sponsored stories - Voice of friend

Sponsored stories are different from ads in the sense that you as an advertiser do not create the content of the ad. They are similar to Page post ads in that they are based on organic content on Facebook, but in contrast to Page post ads, the content is created by Facebook users and not advertisers.

Each time someone interacts with one of your Facebook entities a story is created. The content of the story can be that someone likes your Page or one of our Page posts, uses your App or is going to your Event - to name a few.

In order to maximize distribution of these stories among the friends of the person who generated the story, you can sponsor them - turning them into sponsored stories. Just like for Page post ads, sponsoring a story does not change its content, only its distribution.

Sponsored stories are eligible to appear in the News feed on both desktop and mobile, as well as all other Facebook ad placements.

Page like sponsored story, as shown in the desktop News feed

Sponsored stories are usually the most interactive form of ads on Facebook. They are in essence endorsements by people’s friends, and thereby tend to receive high click-through and engagement rates.

You could say a person’s action becomes a recommendation rather than an ad. And for a lot of people, recommendations from friends are more credible compared to messages coming directly from a business.

Page post like sponsored story, as shown in the desktop News feed

A sponsored story always includes the profile picture of the person who made the action. The sponsored story also shows the names of the people in the friend network of the viewer who have liked, commented, checked in or whatever action the sponsored story is based on.

Facebook has a set of built-in actions and objects. Some of the most common actions are like, comment and share and some of the most common objects are posts, photos and links.

With Open graph however, you can build an app that integrates with Facebook, giving you the opportunity to define your own actions and objects.

As people use your app, they will generate stories - and these can be sponsored just like any of the built-in story types.

Open graph sponsored story, as shown in the desktop News feed

Overview of all Facebook ad formats

If you feel a bit confused, the diagram below provides an overview over all formats and can hopefully help you sort them out.


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Facebook Marketing Strategy: Here we go through the entire process of creating, publishing and analyzing your Facebook ads. We describe how to segment the target audience in an efficient way and how to use the results and statistics to further improve the ad performance.

Create Facebook Ads – Image, Title and Ad Text: What works on Facebook? What does a good ad image look like and how do you write copy that captures your audience? In this section we go through best practice when creating a Facebook ad.

Checklist to a Successful Facebook Campaign: If you want to make sure you have everything planned before launching your Facebook campaign, use this checklist. Print it out, make notes in it and bring it to the meeting if you want to present your work. When you can tick all boxes, you are ready to start advertising.

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