A Guide To Facebook Advertising Placements

Facebook Ad placements
One of the best features of Facebook advertising is its wide ad placement options. Advertisers have the option to choose the best area where they think their ads will perform best. Aside from having more freedom to execute creative ideas, this also gives advertisers a better understanding of what type of ads work best for their audience.

Understanding Facebook Advertising Objectives

There are three possible types of campaigns that you could be considering and the one you use will depend on your objective. Those objectives will also be vital when deciding which ad placement is best.

  • Awareness
    • Brand awareness
    • Reach

For an awareness campaign, any placement is ideal. Brand awareness is all about keeping your brand in the minds of our consumers.

  • Consideration
    • Traffic
    • Engagement
    • App installs
    • Video views
    • Messages
    • Lead generations
  • Conversion
    • Conversions 
    • Store visits
    • Catalog sales

Facebook Ad Placement Options

When setting up your ad set, you will be presented with two ways to place your ads:

Facebook Ad placement options

  • Automatic Placement – you’re giving Facebook the control to choose the placements where they think your ads will perform based on your campaign objective and creative.
  • Edit Placement – You’re going to select where your ads will appear manually.

While Facebook claims that choosing the automatic placement can give you the “lowest average cost overall,” it’s still best to manually choose your placements if you have previous data on where your campaigns performed best. After all, there’s no one else who knows the performance of your ads better than you.

There are several platforms where your ads can be displayed:

  • Facebook’s mobile & desktop newsfeeds
  • Instagram
  • The Audience Network
  • Messenger

You are also given options when it comes to devices:

Facebook ad placement device options

You also have to remember that not all Facebook ad placements support every type of ad.

Facebook Ad Types

Facebook ad type formats

Each platform has specific ad types that they support and they are as follows:


  • Video
  • Photo
  • Carousel
  • Slideshow
  • Canvas (mobile only)


*reminder that Instagram is owned by Facebook. 

  • Video
  • Photo
  • Carousel
  • Stories

Audience Network

  • Video
  • Photo
  • Carousel

Instant Articles

  • Video
  • Photo
  • Animated


  • Photo
  • Video
  • Carousel
  • Slideshow

The Placements 

Facebook Desktop Newsfeed

This placement is ideal for most campaign objectives, especially if your site is not yet mobile-friendly or your goal requires multiple steps or actions like filling up forms to download and install programs. Keep in mind though that if this option is chosen, then your ads will only appear on newsfeeds accessed on desktops including laptops.

Another thing is people don’t like being disturbed by their online Facebook browsing activities. Placing your ad on the desktop newsfeed reduces the intrusiveness of your ads since they appear with the posts of your target’s Facebook friends and the pages they like. They are also more appealing to Facebook users because they resemble regular posts. This can also help you cope with the steady decline of organic reach.

Facebook ad newsfeed placement example

This option will also help with Facebook’s latest algorithm change that will prioritize posts from friends and family instead of posts from brands and businesses. This change, which Mark Zuckerberg explained in a post in 2018, is to give Facebook users a more personal experience with people that they know. For this reason, advertising on the desktop newsfeed will be important in order to have your audience actually see your posts.

This option is ideal for most campaigns, it especially works best for those whose business is not yet mobile-friendly.

Ads displayed on desktop news feed normally have 2-4 times higher cost per click than a mobile news feed, and ten times than the audience network because of its reach.

Facebook mobile newsfeed

If you are targeting mobile users but want to achieve the same effect as a desktop newsfeed placement, you can use Facebook mobile news feed.

This option will show your ads to over 1.23 billion users accessing Facebook through the app or through mobile browsers. Which is more than the number of users accessing Facebook on personal computers or laptops?  Ads appearing on this placement maximize the screen of any mobile device since there are no sidebars making the ads more noticeable. Most advertisers include this placement in their campaigns since all 12 ad objectives are supported.

With this option, there is a higher likelihood that people will see your ad because on mobile devices the newsfeed takes up the whole screen; Users have no choice but to look at your ad. There are also fewer distractions because there is no right column or sidebar distracting the eyes.

The CPC for this placement is much lower than the desktop news feed but higher than the right column.

Facebook right column

For advertisers who want to make their ads look like ads, you can utilize the Facebook right column located on the right-hand sidebar of the Facebook desktop newsfeed. It displays a condensed version of larger ads making it the least intrusive among all the placements despite being semi-permanently displayed.

Facebook right column ads example

This placement, along with the desktop newsfeed placement, is ideal for retargeting campaigns. 

Users have may have already seen or visited your page, but not have taken any action while there. Retargeting will 1. remind them of their visit and 2. may offer a solution to the reason they may have not taken action previously.

CPC is usually lower as compared to desktop and mobile news feed, but due to the lack of call to action, expect your CTR to be lower.

Audience Network

The audience network is a network of Facebook’s affiliate apps and websites that can be accessed through mobile. Placing ads on the network extends the reach of advertisers to 16% more people (1 billion) than advertising on Facebook alone.

Among the network are some of the biggest publishers including Washington Post, Univision, Daily Mirror, and more than 40% of the top 500 apps.

There are three ad types supported by this placement: native, interstitial, and banner.

Facebook audience types network

There are also three possible results once an ad displayed on this placement is clicked based on the ad objective:

  • The ad will open a link in a new browser window
  • The ad will prompt the person to install an app
  • The ad will launch an existing app on their mobile device

Ads on the audience network have 4x lower CPC than mobile news feed due to the lower CTR.

Instant Articles

Instant Article is a feature that makes articles accessible through mobile apps. Unlike the audience network, ads on instant articles are displayed within articles on Facebook.

Facebook Instant Article Ad example

These ads are usually sandwiched in between paragraphs of the article. This is ideal if you are targeting audiences who frequently read longer content that is not available on the news feed.


For advertisers with highly visual products or services, placing ads on Instagram is a must. The placement is also ideal for new companies, as research showed that 60% of users found new products and services on the platform. There are 400 million active users that spend an average of 21 minutes per day on the platform.

Of course, because Instagram is used mostly on mobile devices, this option is only best to target mobile users. T

It’s important to understand that Instagram does not support all of the same ad formats that Facebook does.

Only a single image, video, and carousel ad formats are supported by Instagram. You can choose for your ads to appear in a user’s Instagram feed or in “Stories” which is still relatively a newer concept, but it is similar to Snapchat “Stories”. The “Stories” ads appear after a user has viewed a story posted by someone they follow.

Instagram story ad example 

The most successful types of businesses on Instagram are those that fall under the categories of fitness, beauty, fashion, travel, and art.


Messenger ads are the most recent Facebook ad placement that supports the objective of the message. Advertisers can choose three ways to connect with audiences:

  • Messenger destination – this lets advertisers create newsfeed ads that will drive audiences to a Facebook messenger conversation.
  • Messenger home placement – this option displays your ad on the main screen of Messenger.
  • Sponsored messages placement – this displays your message within a message exchange of a messenger friend as long as that user messaged your page before.

Since this placement is fairly new, expect to see a lot of changes within the year especially involving messenger bots. So far the audience response has not been strong due to the fact that it is more intrusive compared to the other placements.

This is ideal for companies who want to explain their offer, directly communicate with their audiences, convince them to try another product, or remind them to revisit your store. Having a shorter feedback loop gives advertisers endless possibilities on applications.

Running your campaign on multiple Facebook advertising placements can give you the best results. However, as mentioned earlier, you may find that some placements don’t work or work well for you depending on your objective or creative, so you have to constantly test, analyze, and record the results. Never just assume that one placement will do better than another without having the data to prove it. It is better to, again, try out all the placements and then compare the results. 

Aside from placements continuously run A/B tests for your offer, copy, visual, and CTA to maximize your Facebook ROI.

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