Understanding the Different Meta Ad placement Options

If you spend time on Facebook and Instagram, you have seen an ad or two. You might not realize that Meta offers various places on their platforms to show your ad.  Depending on the objective selected, ads can appear on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Audience Network. Although Facebook recommends automatic placement, understanding the different placements will help target your ads and get the most out of your budget. This month, our blog will walk you through the different placement types and what ad goals align with them.

Different Types of Placements:

Instagram, Facebook & Messenger

  • Facebook Feed: Ads appear in the Facebook Feed on desktop and mobile. This placement is excellent for most ad goals such as brand awareness, sales, and engagement.  
  • Instagram Feed: Ads appear in the Instagram Feed on mobile only. This placement is excellent for most ad goals such as brand awareness, sales, and engagement.
  • Facebook Marketplace: Ads will appear on the Marketplace home page or when someone browses Marketplace in the Facebook app. This placement targets users with purchase intent rather than those with a general interest in a product or service. This placement is excellent for local businesses because items bought and sold on the Marketplace are typically local. 
  • Facebook Video Feeds: Video ads appear between organic videos on Facebook Watch and the Facebook Feed. However, video Feed ads have a lower viewership rate. Remember, most users watch the video without sound, so captions are necessary. Placement is excellent for brand awareness. 
  • Facebook Right Column: Ads appear on the right-side column of Facebook and only seen on the desktop. This placement is for branding and awareness purposes.  
  • Instagram Explore: The Explore placement shows ads in the Explore tab on Instagram; 50% of Instagram accounts use the Explore tab to discover content monthly. The Explore tab delivers content to specific users based on the type of content that user is likely to engage with. The ad will not show in the Explore grid, but once a user clicks on a piece of content, they are in a browsing experience, and your ad will show in the Explore Feed between organic content. Excellent placement for brand awareness and sales! Note: you can’t select Explore without also selecting Instagram Feed placement.
  • Instagram Shop: Ads can appear in the shopping tab on Instagram; the shopping tab is where users can discover and purchase products directly from a business. When your ad appears in the shopping tab, it will have a ‘Sponsored’ label on the content. Users can click on a product detail page before heading to the advertiser’s website, or if a checkout-enabled catalog was set up during the campaign creation, users could purchase directly from the product information page. Excellent placement for brand awareness and sales! A couple notes on this placement: 
    • Your ads will only be visible to people in markets where the Instagram Shop tab is available. 
    • Ads unrelated to shopping will have a lower chance of showing up. 
  • Messenger Inbox: Messenger Inbox ads appear in the Messenger Inbox between conversations. When a user clicks on the ad, they see the full ad with a call-to-action button that takes them to the destination that was chosen during ad creation. This ad placement is currently unavailable for ads targeting the following countries: US, Canada, Australia, and France. 
  • Instagram, Facebook & Messenger Stories: Ads will appear in users’ Stories on Instagram, Facebook, and Messenger. These placements are great for brand awareness and retargeting ads. When using this placement, there are a few things to consider:
    • The creative should be specifically designed for the Story format: vertical and full-screen (9:16). 
    • According to Facebook, ads that use motion perform better on Stories, consider adding motion to your static image. 
    • Mixing and matching video and images help keep the user’s attention. Likewise, images and videos need to be concise and get to the point quickly. Users consume Story content much faster than other media on the Meta platform. 
    • Messenger Stories are not available as a standalone placement. If using manual placement, you’ll need to select Instagram Stories or Facebook Feed to access Messenger Stories. 
  • Instagram & Facebook Reels: The ad will appear in the Reel tab on Instagram and Facebook. The ads are inserted between organic Reels and similar to an organic Reel, users can also like and comment on a paid Reel. The Reel should be full screen vertical and a maximum of 60 seconds plus it’s recommended that the Reel include sound or video. This placement is excellent for most ad goals such as brand awareness, sales, and engagement.
  • Facebook In-Stream Video: In-stream video allows you to deliver video ads to people watching videos on Facebook. These ads can also appear in Facebook Live streams from a select group of partners. These ads are targeted audience-based, so users watching the same video may see different ads. This placement is best for a brand awareness ad goal.  
  • Facebook Overlay Ads in Reels: The ads will appear as a banner or sticker on top of a Facebook Reel. This placement is for brand awareness. 
  • Facebook Search Results: Your ad will appear next to relevant Facebook and Facebook Marketplace search results. This placement is only available on the Facebook mobile app and is not a standalone placement. The ad would need to run alongside a Feed ad. This placement is an excellent placement for brand awareness and retargeting.
  • Messenger Sponsored Message: This ad placement allows messages to be sent directly to users’ Messenger.  This placement is excellent for brand awareness and, promoting an offer, building relationships with your followers. There are a few caveats when using this placement:
    • Your business page must have enough conversation to create a sponsored message using a custom audience. 
    • Sponsored messages will not be sent to users with an active message within 24 hours or inactive for over a year and one message per person.
  • Facebook Instant Articles: Your ad would appear under Instant Articles on the Facebook app. An Instant Article is a mobile publishing format that allows news publishers to distribute articles to Facebook that load four times faster than the standard mobile web. This placement is best for brand awareness. 

Apps & Sites 

  • Audience Network Native, Banners, and Interstitial: Your ads will appear in Facebook’s Audience Network, an off-Facebook, in-app advertising network for mobile apps. This placement is best for brand awareness. 
  • Audience Network Rewarded Video: Your ads appear as videos people can watch in exchange for an app reward. This placement is best for brand awareness. 
  • Oculus Mobile App Feed: Your sponsored VR App or Oculus Event ads appear as a recommendation in the Oculus mobile app. This placement is best for brand awareness. 
  • Oculus Mobile App Search Results: Your sponsored VR App or Oculus Event ads appear in search results for relevant keywords in the Oculus mobile app. This placement is best for brand awareness. 

As you can see, your digital ad has many placement options on the Meta platform. Of course, Meta recommends automatic placement when setting up ads, but although it works, it is better to consider your overall goals for the ads and which placement aligns with those goals. As always, contact us if you have any questions or need help setting up your Facebook and Instagram ads. 

Reference Articles

About Ad Placements

All the Facebook Ad Placements You Need to Know (+ How to Choose the Best One)