Facebook Ad Types

Last updated January 17, 2013

There are three main types of ads that can be purchased through the Self-Serve Ad Tool. These ads are called Marketplace Ads, Sponsored Stories and Page Post Ads.

Marketplace Ads act asymmetrically, prompting users with a lot of information about the brand and are more traditional in terms of online display ads. Sponsored Stories highlight a user’s friend activity as it relates to a page or an app. Page Post Ads take the content that is on your Facebook Page and makes it an ad in the right column designated for ads.

We will now go into the details about the differences between these ads.

Marketplace Ads

There are currently four types of Marketplace Ads.

  • Standard Ads (drive traffic to a site off-Facebook)
  • Event Ads (promote an event)
  • Page Ads (drive traffic to Facebook Page)
  • App Ads (drive to an app)


These ads are fairly straightforward, with a headline, image and body text. If the ad promotes a Facebook Page, it also gives users with the option to Like the page by clicking Like under the ad. If the ad directs users off Facebook, the ad will include a URL to let users know where they ad will lead them.

Facebook shares some social context to encourage users to click for these traditional ads as well.  For example, it will include the names of a user’s friends who Like a page, play a game or use an app. If a user doesn’t have a friend connected to the advertiser, Facebook will indicate how many other Facebook users Like a page, play a game or use an app.

Ads that drive users off Facebook can also include social context, if their website is associated with a Facebook page. For example, this ad leads to Appsumo.com, but the user’s friend is a fan of the AppSumo Facebook page.

Sponsored Stories

Currently these are the different types of Sponsored Stories

  • Page Likes(user likes a page and friends will see)

  • Page Post Likes(when a friend likes a post on a specific page)

  • Page Post Comments(when a friend comments on a page)

  • App Used or Game Played (when a friend uses an app or plays a game)

  • App Shared (when a friend shares a story from an app)

  • Check-in (when a friend checks into a place)

  • Domain (when a friend Likes a piece of content or shares a link from a third-party website)

  • Offer Claimed (when a friend claims an offer from a page)

Sponsored Stories are social ads that look to connect with friends of pre-existing fans or users of an advertiser’s property. These ads do not include customizable images or body copy. They all include a picture of a friend already connected to the advertiser as well as and the names other friends that are connected if there is more than one.

These ads look to capitalize on the social nature of Facebook, taking advantage of the idea of a “recommendation” from friends. It is an efficient way to build on top of the relationship already built between friends. However, for a page with few fans or an app with few users, Sponsored Stories do not have the same scale of reach as Marketplace or Page Post Ads, which can be targeted to any user without requiring one of their friends to be connected to the advertiser.

Sponsored Stories are currently the only type of ad that can be targeted to non-fans in News Feed or on mobile devices.

Page Post Ads

These are options for Page Post Ads:

  • Text (text-only posts on a page)

  • Photo (photos posted to a page)

  • Video (video posted to a page)

  • Link (a link shared on a page, which can be used to drive traffic off of Facebook)

  • Question (a question/poll asked on a page)

  • Event (an event created by a page)

  • Offer (an offer created by a page)

Page Post Ads simply take the existing content of a page post and fits it in the ad column on the righthand side of the social network. These are purchased like other ads, but are more content driven. It can pique the interest of the target audience and always provides link to allow users to like their page.

These ads can be used to target new users who aren’t connected to your page, but they are also used by some larger advertisers to reach existing fans who might not have seen their original post. Pages with fewer than 100,000 Likes can use Promoted Posts for a similar effect.

For accounts with Facebook Premium, Page Post Ads will also allow existing fans to interact by Liking or commenting directly within the Sponsored Story. This is not currently available to non-premium Facebook marketers.

Premium Ads

Premium Ads run on the Home Page and Log Out. Because Facebook users spend the majority of their time on Facebook browsing the News Feed (aka Home Page), Facebook has a high volume of inventory in this space, enabling large advertisers to reach millions of people in a short amount of time. These pages are considered some of the most valuable locations for engagement, however, there are high costs associated these placements. Homepage units are not available through the self-serve ad tool. Advertisers must work with Facebook or a third-party vendor to get access to premium inventory.

For more information, please refer to the Premium Ads section of the FMB.



Promoted Posts

In addition to Page Post ads, Facebook also offers page owners the option to promote their page posts for more visibility into user’s news feeds.

For more information, please refer to our section about Promoted Posts.

Also From Inside Network: AppData | PageData | Inside Facebook | Inside Virtual Goods | Inside Social Games | Inside Mobile Apps

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