Explaining the Different Types of Facebook Ads (and when to use them)

With billions of active users spanning nearly all demographics, Facebook has remained a great place to put your digital advertising dollars. In addition to the targeting options that help you curate the right audience, the social network offers a range of ad types that help you accomplish a specific goal.

Campaigns are built with an objective in mind. Driving traffic, getting your name out there, or getting qualified leads can’t all be accomplished in the same campaign (at least not cost-effectively). In this article I’ll lay out the different ad types Facebook offers and explain when to use them.


1.      Brand Awareness

New companies, businesses undergoing a rebrand, newly added locations…there are plenty of reasons why someone would want to announce important news to their audience.

Brand awareness ads from Facebook give advertisers the ability to reach thousands of people at a lower cost than you’ll find on most other ad networks. Although the objective isn’t to drive sales directly, it’s important to start potential customers on their journey with these top-of-the-funnel ads.

When to Use Brand Awareness Ads:

Some advertisers are of the opinion that you should always be running some sort of brand awareness campaign in the “background” of your overall strategy. If your goal is to get in front of as many people as possible, these ads are for you.

Performance Indicators:

Obviously calculating the value of brand awareness is complicated. Facebook’s main performance metric for these specific ads is “Estimate ad recall lift.” By definition, Facebook says estimated ad recall lit is the approximate number of people likely to remember your ads within 2 days.


2.      Traffic

Many businesses would consider website sales a significant component of their overall bottom line. In fact, it might be the only method of sales. When getting an audience to your site means putting dollars in your pocket, traffic ads are the way to go.

This type of ad is optimized specifically to appear in front of an audience who is likely to click on the ad and visit your website. The best part is you can have your landing page tailored to each specific ad, so you can split up your budget across different pages, all within the same campaign.

When to Use Traffic Ads:

Looking to push a specific product or event? Traffic ads are ideal for sending your audience right where their engagement is most beneficial to your business. Even if you don’t have anything specific in mind, if you’re an online seller, it’s always valuable to get more eyes on your offerings.

Performance Indicators:

Facebook reports on the number of link clicks, but if you want a more reliable metric, try landing page views. You need a Facebook pixel installed on your website to get the results, but showing landing page views ensures that the click on your ad led to a user viewing your intended page.

Another important metric to consider is cost-per-link-click. Monitoring your performance in this area on a monthly basis can help you refine your campaign to be as cost-effective as possible.


3.      Lead Generation

As a digital marketer, your goal should make it as easy as possible for your audience to convert. That means removing steps from the purchase journey whenever possible.

Lead generation (or “lead gen” to those in the biz) ads allow users to fill out a form right on Facebook’s platform. It might not seem like it’s that significant, but eliminating the necessity of going to your website to fill something out makes users much more likely to engage.

The forms available are customizable, but most require a name, email address, zip code, and a brief description to make sure that the user is in fact a real person and not a bot.

When to Use Lead Gen Ads:

Lead generation ads are perfect for service-oriented businesses that are looking for valuable leads. Often times they work well if your desired audience should be looking to schedule an appointment or request a quote.

For example, an HVAC company or a contractor looking to provide home renovations could use lead generation ads to find interested potential customers.

Performance Indicators:

You may have guessed this one, but the sole performance indicator on lead generation ads is, well, leads! Just as with traffic ads, Facebook will calculate your cost-per-lead, so keep an eye on how much you’re spending to get your leads. It can help you optimize your budget as well as make adjustments if necessary.


4.      Messenger Ads

Research has shown that the best way to gain a customer is to develop a relationship that functions as a two-way street. Each day sales are lost because advertisers don’t take a personal approach when seeking out new business. One way to bridge the gap between consumer and seller is by utilizing Facebook’s Messenger ads in your digital strategy.

When to Use Lead Generation Ads:

Let’s use a scenario to show why messenger ads can have such impactful results:

A music venue is hosting a concert where thousands of people will attend. It goes without saying that at any major entertainment event, potential attendees will have a range of questions about everything from parking, to tickets, and more. If the venue is running a messenger ad, customers can directly connect, and if they receive a response, will be much more likely to convert.

Another example of a business that has benefitted from a messenger ad is a local car dealership looking to get shoppers in for a test drive.

Traditionally, in order to schedule a test drive, an individual would have to physically drive to the dealership, or fill out a form online. These might not seem like arduous tasks, but digital marketing is all about making it as easy as possible for the customer to convert.

By running a messenger ad promoting test drive offerings, shoppers can simply click the button, ask any questions, and book a test drive – all without ever having to leave Facebook.

Performance Indicators:

When evaluating the effectiveness of messenger ads, businesses can use one or two metrics (or a combination of both). The number of messages, as well as the number of messages that lead to the desired result, should be tracked and used for further optimizations.


It might not be as trendy as Snapchat, Instagram or TikTok, but the data suggests that Facebook ads are still as effective as ever when it comes to driving business with digital marketing.

If you want to add Facebook advertising to your digital effort but need some assistance setting up and executing campaigns, contact Brick Solid Brands today!