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20 Facebook Ad Formats for a Successful Marketing Campaign

Comprehensive Guide to Facebook Ad Formats

Feb 20, 2020
9 minutes


Are you drained for ideas on your next Facebook ad campaign? We’re here to help with some fantastic examples to get your creative juices flowing.

What makes a good ad campaign? It’s probably these things: a strong strategy (what is the campaign seeking to achieve?), smart copywriting (catchy and engaging, but not ‘overpowering’ the overall experience of the ad) and of course—capturing design.

If you have no clue where to start, check out this comprehensive guide on Facebook ads.

However, if you’re just looking for inspiration, consider these examples and decide if they will work for your next campaign.

The Webinar

Webinars are pretty awesome. They can be a real opportunity to learn and grow without having to leave the comfort of your home.

A clever trick with promoting webinars is to use phrases like ‘Save your spot’ and prominently feature the date of it, as this helps remind people it’s a specific kind of event and highlights the ‘urgency’ of registering.

webinar ad.jpg By Keshav Raj

The Social Proof Ad

There aren’t many marketing hacks that are as powerful as endorsements by real people. Video testimonials are a fantastic way to go; however, they can take considerable time and effort: reaching out to customers/clients, getting them to record, and then going through the long editing process.

On the other hand, incredible design can lift even the simplest reviews such as this one. In this case, matching the design and color palette to the words (cuteness) highlights the impact of this simple, honest language. social proof ad by Lihi Ashkenazi

Learn how to design captivating digital ads

Get inspired by the catchiest and best-designed ads we found.

Interactive Ad

An interactive ad is any ad that requires the consumer to engage in some way (click). They have been around for some time, but are still growing as Facebook introduced some new forms of interactive ads only last year.

Whether it’s a video, GIF, playable ad, or canvas, inviting your audience to interact and not just ‘consume’ has a proven track record of success over traditional image-only ads. interactive ad.gif

by Steve Kovo

Ads with illustrations

Speaking of images, keep in mind that stock photos have one fantastic alternative. A fun, unique illustration can really help you stand out from the crowd!

Don’t be scared to think outside the box when it comes to illustrations. They can also be a great fit for serious topics, like investment or protection of personal information. Everything seems a little less daunting but doesn’t make your message any less powerful. illustration ad_1.png by Chiara Mensa

illustration ad duck duck go by Matt Anderson

Another great example is this UNICEF ad, which features some more wolves. The broader topic (children) fits very well with the cute illustration; however, the severity of the message isn’t lost, as the drawing is still a little unsettling. illustration ad unicef.jpg Facebook

Educational Ads

Webinars are one way to learn, but it doesn’t have to be as formal as that. Today, earning trust is absolutely critical for your business, and one way to do it is by helping educate your audience. Provide them an opportunity to gain a useful skill or share some valuable knowhow, and they will show their appreciation.

When it comes to design, a great way to go is breaking the learning process down into steps. Highlight a clear benefit (‘passions become profit’) and then guide users through the process of reaching it. educational ad by Janna Hagan

Another way to convert visitors is to show them how easy it is to get value from your product by educating them.

Free Trial Ads

Commitment is a big deal. Get more customers by offering a taste of what’s to come!

When it comes to designing such an ad, it’s always good to make sure that the ‘free trial’ part is featured prominently. Take a look at this example that really hits the nail on the head with the thrifty customer. free trial ad get response Facebook

However, free trials are tricky—they can easily backfire, cost you money, and customer loyalty. The same goes for design: if the word FREE is the only thing you can focus on, some people might think you are advertising a worthless product.

That’s why this example is helpful, as it focuses on the brand first with the free trial as an added benefit. free trial ad facebook.jpg by Katie Powell


Of course, another way to reach out to the reluctant customer is to offer some freebies. Whether it’s samples of your products, free content like guidebooks, or visuals, this type of ad can grow your potential customer base.

Make sure there is an intent behind the giveaway, though - whether it’s getting people to try out your product, learn more about your business or sign up for your newsletter. free sample ad.jpg By REASON

However, it doesn’t always have to be about you. If, like G2 Crowd, you rely on people’s reviews (or any form of participation), think about enticing them with an always-welcome gift, such as a free cup of coffee. freebie ad G2Crowd Facebook

Lead ads

Ads can also be used as a fantastic source for acquiring leads for any future campaigns. Get people to give their feedback, fill out a survey, or subscribe to your newsletter.

Lifting the pressure of having to buy your products or services can get potential customers interested in your brand, which can lead to a boost in sales sometime down the road. lead ad facebook By Yshai Sutton

Multi-product ads

Our parents (and grandparents) used to order catalogs while we tend to browse for specific products on Facebook.

Let people look through your virtual shop with links for each product. It’s always smart to include relevant information like discounts and prices. multi product ad By Rafal Depa

Life events targeting

Detailed audience targeting is what truly sets Facebook apart as a marketing platform. While you probably have thought of things like age, location, interests, another brilliant technique to use is targeting people based on their life events.

Just engaged? Time to start thinking about your dream wedding! Got a birthday coming up? Treat yourself with this one-day-only discount! life events ad wedding photography By Mayank Chauhan

life events ad birthday discount By Vladimir Schneider

User-generated ads

These, of course, also fall into the category of social proof, but it gets slightly trickier—the amount of work you need to put in to create user-generated content may vary quite a bit.

You can always invite your clients to share feedback or ask you questions and then make their responses part of your campaign.

Or do a little digging yourself and look out for those tags and hashtags. Instagram has created a sea of reasonably good photographers, and harnessing their skill for your marketing efforts is pretty brilliant.

Remember - always ask for permission to reuse their photo! Not only is it common courtesy, but you also strengthen the bond with advocates of your brand. And these are the relationships to hold onto!

Pura Vida bracelets is a great example. They rightly sensed a lot of their customers would be Instagram natives, which meant getting some terrific visuals and engaging with those loyal fans. user generated ad pura vida bracelets Pinterest

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Occupying that magical space between image and video, GIFs are a perfect fit for today’s focus-deficient audiences. They can also be incredibly funny and add valuable humor to your advertising efforts.

However, don’t just use GIFs for the sake of it. Ideally, they will fit your brand’s identity and serve as another way of getting your message across. Much like this awesome example that reimagines professional agility as parkour. facebook gif ad accenture.gif Facebook


Ah, holidays… a time for family, spreading joy and—shameless advertising!

Do not miss a chance to make a captivating ad this holiday season, but do be smart about it. Think of ways to make the holiday ad work for your brand.

A genius example is this one by Bates Motel. It tells a story and subverts the expectation of Mother’s Day cards you would see all over Facebook. The use of illustration for advertising a TV show also really helps it stand out. holiday ads bates motel mother's day Facebook

Customer thank you ads

You know who’s probably going to buy your products? People who’ve already bought them once.

Creating a cool thank you ad targeting existing customers shows that you care. A thank-you ad can also include a new incentive like a discount or an opportunity to browse through some of your latest products. thank you supporters ad By Anthony Gribben

thank you ad singapore air.gif


Canvas ads

This mobile-only ad experience is a terrific way to, as Facebook would put it, ‘bring your products and services to life.’

There’s nothing subtle about canvas ads—they require users to click, which leads to a full-screen experience of your product/service/story.

Make sure you’re engaging and exciting and not putting certain people off (like me) with something that is too resemblant of an annoying popup ad—strong visuals and storyline are key. ASUS end bad gifts canvas ad

Forward and Thinking

Text ads

What? An all-text ad in our highly visual world?

Well, if you’re confident enough about your product and have a kickass copywriter, this might be a worthwhile gamble.

For example, let’s look at this ad from Hulu. They went bold, simple, with an awareness of their customers’ pains. Of course, even in this case, design is crucial. Font and color schemes help establish a sharp brand image. Hulu text ad Facebook


Storytelling is a very powerful tool, and it comes in many shapes and sizes!

A Facebook ad can be an opportunity to tell impactful stories about people and demonstrate to your customers the human side of your business.

story ad facebook square.gif


Another outstanding example is Always’ campaign from a few years ago, ‘Like a Girl.’ For a business focused on women, this initiative was an excellent way of providing women and girls with a platform to speak out about social issues that matter to them.

Of course, it doesn’t always have to be as complicated as video production. This image tells a story about its customers’ experiences and gives it a ‘happy ending’ by putting the brand forward as an ally in empowerment.
always like a girl story ad Facebook

Video polls

After the success of polls on Instagram stories, Facebook introduced polls as a feature of advertising on this platform.

Polls have two key benefits: they provide instant market insight and entice people to actually watch your videos to find out more about your brand. facebook video poll ads.jpg Impactbnd

Augmented reality (AR) Ads

Finally, this is where it gets futuristic! Facebook introduced AR ads in 2018, and these have already helped some brands boost their sales.

Think of it as a kind of next-level free trial—it’s instant and shows potential clients how your product can change their life.

By Luck Nawaporn

Let’s conclude with some top tips

Think about visuals: a killer copy doesn’t quite cut it if your ad is ugly. Even if the visual all text, make sure you’re thinking about color schemes, fonts, and logos that represent your brand and message appropriately.

Engage: it’s not just about showing the world what you’re about. Ask your audience for opinions, input, make sure they feel a part of your story.

Know your target audience: it’s more than demographics. Think about what your audiences like, what stages in life they’re in, how they consider the products or services you’re offering. This is an intrinsic part of the ideation process.

Was this helpful? If you’re still not sure how and where to source your next captivating Facebook ad design, our team of designers could help you out!

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Danica Popovic

February 20, 2020

Having lived and studied in London and Berlin, I'm back in native Serbia, working remotely and writing short stories and plays in my free time. With previous experience in the nonprofit sector, I'm currently writing about the universal language of good graphic design. I make mix CDs and my playlists are almost exclusively 1960s.