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October 4, 2017

Social Media Ads: Types, Capabilities, and Placements

Published: 4 October 2017 

Facebook has provided a variety of ways for companies to get their ads placed in the view of its social media users. Here’s a rundown of the available ad types and placements.



Photo ads can be created for both Facebook and Instagram. For Facebook, the post can start with a short (90 characters or less) text. The post should have a quick headline, an eye-catching photo, and a link description. Recommended link description length is 30 characters. The shorter the text, the more friendly it is to various viewing devices. An Instagram post won’t have a headline but has more space for text. It’s recommended that messages stay within 125 characters but can reach a maximum of 2,200 characters. Both Facebook and Instagram can have a “Call to Action” button. The button will show up below the photo, and if clicked on, will take the user off-site.

Possible “Call to Action” buttons include:

  • No Button
  • Apply Now
  • Book Now
  • Contact Us
  • Download
  • Learn More
  • Get Showtimes
  • Request Time
  • See Menu
  • Shop Now
  • Sign Up
  • Watch More
  • View Instagram Profile


Similarly, video ads can be published on Facebook and Instagram. On Facebook, videos can have text, a headline, and a 30 character News Feed description. The video can be an indefinite length as long as the file size stays under 4GB. An Instagram video can only have a caption with a maximum video length of 60 seconds. Both post locations can have a Call to Action button. Instagram videos are still an effective way to advertise; in fact, shorter videos tend to be more effective.


The Facebook and Instagram Carousel is essentially an album of pictures called “cards.” Users can click through anywhere from 2-10 cards using arrows on the left and right-hand side of the photo. A video with a maximum 60-second length can also be included in the carousel. A caption with an advertising message can be drafted to show up under the carousel and will remain the same even when the cards change. A Call to Action button can also be added to the post.

Facebook Canvas

Facebook Canvas is an interactive ad available on mobile devices. Users can see a carousel of photos, video, 360 images with tilt technology, etc. Canvas has a slideshow quality that can be customised for each company’s focus. Text can be 90 characters, headline 25 characters, News Feed description 30 characters.


Collection ads allow for a large, main photo or video with an album of photos below. This can be used to highlight products a company has for sale, leading customers to click a Call to Action and begin shopping or learning more.

Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories aren’t just for showing off personal adventures. Companies can use Instagram stories to advertise using still photos or videos. The photos or videos can have filters, text overlay, and drawing tools. A photo will only show for 3 seconds, and a video can only be 15 seconds long. The ad will also only last for 24 hours. Stories can make a company more involved and more personal.

Page Likes

A simple Page Like ad shows the company name, a short message, a tagline, a link to the company Facebook page, and a button that encourages the user to “Like Page.”

Page Posts

Companies can post as little or as often as they please, but choosing a well-timed and clever post can win a lot of likes and interest. Page posts work just like a post from a personal account. It can be simple text, a photo with a caption, or a video. Page Posts tend to target special occasions, make announcements, and target specific interests.

Event Responses

Hosting an event is a great way to spread the word about your company. Creating a Facebook Event Page is the next step. Not only can customers check out details on the event, click over to the company website, and RSVP, but all of their friends can see the event response. Facebook will let users know when several of their friends are interested in or are attending an event. Companies can set the geographical reach of their event and send out endless invitations as can be seen below from our very own event held in 2015 at our offices in Brisbane. 

Audience Network

Audience Network ads are those made available to third-party apps or websites. A user may be browsing another site when they come upon an ad originally created for Facebook. Most Facebook ads, especially photo and video posts, are compatible with the Audience Network.


Facebook ads can be structured for and placed in mobile news feeds, the center of a desktop news feed, the smaller right column of a desktop news feed, an Instagram post, and an audience network. Be aware of each location’s specs, customizing and making ads as attractive and enticing as possible. 

Contact Matter Solutions to find out how we can integrate your social media into a comprehensive digital marketing strategy that will attract you new customers.

Ben Maden

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