illustration of avatar (person). standing on the enlarged mobile phone and manually customizing ad content

Facebook Advertising Guide – Chapter VI: Ads Creative

In this Guide, so far, we have covered the basics of Facebook advertising and gotten to know the tools of the trade. We learned about the campaigns and how to convey our business goals into campaign objectives. Furthermore, we have covered all the intricacies of targeting the right audience as well as where to place the ads. In the previous chapter, we took a deep dive into the third (and the last) segment which is decided on Ad Set level: budgets and schedule for your ads. In this Chapter, we are moving on to the looks! We will guide you through the Ad creation process: from choosing the right format – to putting together the right content and creative assets for an impactful Ad!


We have compiled all the relevant data from this article to an infographic which you can download below.

Download Facebook Ads – Creation Infographic

Your ad is what your customers or audience will see. At the ad level, select the ad format and connect the ad to a Facebook Page or Instagram account that you manage. Give the ad an intuitive name to easily find and evaluate it within Ads Manager and in reporting. Bear in mind that you can have multiple ads within a single ad set.

 Ad Formats

Facebook offers different ad formats to be used across Facebook platforms (Instagram, Audience Network or Facebook). Which formats are available for a particular ad, depends on the selected advertising objective. As covered in Chapter IV, advertising objectives can also impact the placement of your ads. This means depending on what objective you chose, your ads can appear on different Facebook platforms. After you select your advertising objective, you can choose the right format for your ad. So let’s take a look at available formats.

It´s important to note that the format you choose for your ads is unrelated to what you pay. No format is extra charged. You choose how much you want to spend and what you’re charged for.

Icon Ad formats: image Image Ads

All ads on Facebook and Instagram have to have an image. Adding a relevant image of your product or service can directly impact the success of your ad. Image ads are available at all placements and for every objective (see image below).

Ad formats image placements & objectives

You can choose to use a single image ad or use a carousel, collection, a slideshow, or Instant Experience to advertise with multiple images and a video.

Image Ads Creative Guidelines

  • Show people using your product
    That way your ad seems more like a post from friends and less like an ad.
  • Remember less text is more
    Be mindful with text overlaying the image (see: Text Penalty).
  • Have a single focal point
    Ensure that you’re only asking people to look at one thing, to avoid confusion.
  • Maintain visual consistency
    With multiple ad sets in a single campaign, there should be a consistent theme visual relation.
  • Use high-resolution images
    Find file size recommendations in the Facebook Ads Guide.
  • Experiment with visuals
    Play with different images and formats before you commit to a particular ad.

Some further read on Image Ads:

Creative specs and technical requirements for creating Image ads you can find here.

Facebook prepared a step by step guide to creating an ad with a single image as well as tips and tricks on getting the most from your image ads.

Icon Ad formats: video Video  Ads

With video ads, you can show off product, service or brand features, and draw people in with sound and motion. They can run on Facebook, Audience Network and Messenger. You can create video ads directly from your page, or with one of the advertising tools inside Ads Manager or Business Manager.

They are available for all the placements and objectives (see image).

Ad formats video placements & objectives

Video ads are a great option if your objective is to reach more people, engage your audience, promote video views or drive conversions. With videos, you can capture the attention of your audience quickly and tell a brand or business story. Videos are also a great tool for delivering a single message: you can convey a clear, simple message that makes people take action after viewing your ad – such as buying a specific product or visiting a website. You can also drive people to your website to learn more about an upcoming product your launching. You can show off the product in motion in the ad or include testimonials from people using the product.

Video ads support multiple aspect ratios depending on the placement. Specs for supported video formats you can find here  and the recommended placements you can find below:

Ad-formats-video-resolution and placements

Facebook created a guide on how to create a video ad and how to use templates to create them too.

360 videos

Facebook also provides an interactive and immersive platform for 360° videos. A 360 video is a video format created with a camera system that simultaneously records all 360 degrees of a scene. Viewers can change the 360 video’s perspective to watch it from different angles.

Facebook guide to creating a 360 video ad you can find here.

Video Ads Creative Guidelines

  • Capture attention early
    Due to a short attention span, 47% of a video’s value is delivered in the first 3 seconds. It’s critical to capture attention immediately and condense your message into 15 seconds or less. Go with your most captivating elements first, and incorporate your brand identity early.
  • Make the message clear straight away
    Figure out what is the most important message you need to deliver in the video. Express your message clearly, quickly and with impact.
  • Design for sound off – but make it even better with sound on
    The video should be able to capture attention and deliver your message without relying on sound. Sight and motion are the foundation of feed, so try to tell your story visually. Add captions as needed. If people do choose to watch with the sound on, it’s a great opportunity to make an even better impact with audio.
  • Frame for impact
    The mobile screen gives you a chance to own the advertising space in people’s feeds and hook them within the first few seconds. Your story doesn’t need to be limited to the News Feed frame – challenge it by using different formats such as square crops, vertical video, stacked videos, and 3D framing effects.

Icon Ad formats: slideshow Slideshow Ads

With slideshow ads, you can combine multiple images or videos, text and sound to capture your audience’s attention and tell a compelling story – no matter the connection speed. You can use between 3 to 10 images or a single video in a slideshow ad. Slideshow ads are available when you choose the Single Image or Video format options. These ads are created within Ads Manager and they run as video ads and are available when you choose the Single Image or Video format. It enables you to create a high-quality ad without the expense or challenges of video production.

They are available for all the placements and objectives (see image).

Ad formats slideshow placements & objectives

Slideshow ads are a great choice if you want to build a compelling ad from photos or videos quickly and easily. You can upload photos from your Facebook page, use Facebook’s stock image gallery and add text and music. They are also a good choice if you want to reach people with slow internet connections as they use less data than video ads. To target those people you can choose to show the ads to people with older devices or slower connections. Another good use of slideshow ads is if you want to simplify a complex process or story. When walking people through sequences or steps, images can show rather than tell. You can also show off a physical product in a slideshow ad. You could show multiple styles of the same product or different products using a short duration per image to grab attention.

Facebook guide to creating slideshow ads you can find here.

Slideshow Ads Creative Guidelines

  • Use high resolution still images or an existing video.
  • For video uploads, choose .MOV or .MP4 file types.
  • Start with 3-10 images, with a recommended image ratio of 16:9, 1:1 or 2:3. Each image should have a similar image ratio.
  • Combine with Facebook targeting such as bandwidth, device or demographic targeting to reach people with a slower connection.
  • You can select images from stock pages, your Pages library, or your devices.
  • You can also upload your own music (if you own the rights). If not, several free tracks are available.
  • Experiment with cropping images, reordering them, adding text, using fade and changing the duration for effect.
  • Don’t forget to test and optimize your slideshow ad’s performance!

Icon Ad formats: collection Collection Ads

Collection Ads make it easy for people to browse your products. They encourage shopping by displaying items from your product catalog – customized for each individual: it lets people move from discovery to purchase in a smooth and immersive way. Each collection ad features a primary video or image with four smaller accompanying images below in a grid-like layout. Customers who tap on your collection ad to browse or learn more will be seamlessly taken to a fast-loading visual post-click experience powered by Instant Experience – all without leaving Facebook or Instagram.

Collections have four templates you can make use of, depending on the product you are advertising.

Ad format collection ad templates

Collection ads are available only on Facebook and Instagram feeds, and for the following objectives:

Ad formats collection placements & objectives

You can learn more about the specs of Collection ads, as well as how to create them step-by-step in Facebook’s Guide.

Icon Ad formats: instant experience Instant experience

Instant Experience (IX), formerly called Canvas, provides a full-screen, mobile-optimized experience instantly from your ad.  Users can watch engaging videos and photos, swipe through carousels, complete a form, quickly view your products and explore lifestyle images with tagged products – all within a single ad.

Instant Experience is linked to another ad and launched when a user taps in that ad. It is available only on Facebook and for the following objectives:

Ad formats instant experience placements & objectives

Facebook offers five different easy-to-use templates for Instant Experience; to help you meet your most important business objectives.

Instant experience templates

Instant Experience Ads Creative Guidelines

  • Generate intent with ads in feed. Many of our ad formats are designed to drive discovery and attention in feed – from video and collection, to carousel and slideshow.
  • Nurture intent with a Facebook Instant Experience. When someone clicks on a collection ad, they’ll land on an Instant Experience – a full-screen experience that drives engagement and nurtures interest and intent.
  • Harvest intent on your site or app. Instant Experiences will send people to your website or app, which helps you turn their intent into valuable actions downstream.

Icon Ad formats: playable ads Playable ads

If you are a game developer or marketer, you’re in for a special treat with Playable ads. The playable ad is an interactive video ad format for News Feed that allows mobile app advertisers to offer a short preview of their game, app or brand. They are a great tool to allow users to test-drive your app through an immersive preview and pinpoint those who want to install your app.

Playable ads are made up of three mandatory parts:

  1. Lead-in video (introduction for the demo.)
    Each playable ad includes a lead-in video that plays as someone scrolls through their News Feed. Overlaying each video is a game controller icon and a tap-to-try tip.
  2. Game demo (a playable ad)
    After tapping on the video, a short interactive demo lets people experience your app before they install it. There are certain requirements:

      • Must be in Portrait mode
      • HTML format
      • Must be under 2 MB
      • The outgoing actions in your playable ad must be a link
  3. Call to action
    When the demo is complete, a call to action lets people tap through to install the app from the App Store or Google Play Store. Note, no JavaScript or other code is allowed to execute when the user exits the playable ad.

Playable Ads Creative Guidelines

  • Make sure that your video and demo match. Accurately represent your app in your lead-in video and demo.
  • Keep your tutorial simple. Let people know how to play in as few steps as possible – two seems to work best.
  • Show a call-to-action throughout the demo. Give people the option to download your app at any time.
  • Test your creative. Consider testing different copy and see what encourages more people to play.

Objective-oriented ads

Facebook also objective-oriented ads, which are available when a certain objective is used. They use the above-stated ad formats and are optimized only for the objective in question.

Icon objective oriented ads: lead generation Lead Generation Ads

Lead ads on Facebook and Instagram help you collect info from people who are interested in your business. A lead ad is presented using an image, video or carousel, and followed by a lead form when the user engages with the ad.

Icon objective oriented ads: offers Offers

Offers are discounts you can share with your customers on Facebook. You can design your offer ad to appear as an image, video or carousel.

Icon objective oriented ads: page engagement Page Engagement

Most Page posts on Facebook can be boosted to deliver more likes, comments, shares and photo views.

Icon objective oriented ads: event responses Event Responses

Page likes ads can be used to drive users to like your Page. You can design your Page likes ad with a video or an image masked to a ratio of 1.91:1.

Dynamic Ads

Dynamic ads look similar to other ads on Facebook but they come with one major advantage. Instead of individually creating an ad for each of your products, you can create an ad template that automatically uses images and details from your data feed for things you’d like to advertise to people who have expressed interest. You can upload your product catalog and set up your campaign once, and it will continue working for you for as long as you want – finding the correct people for each product and always using up-to-date pricing and availability. Dynamic ads use your Facebook pixel or SDK to show ads to people who have already shown interest in your business by taking actions you care about on your site.

What you need to set up dynamic ads:


  1. Facebook pixel or SDK
    Dynamic ads work best if there’s a strong feedback loop between an online product catalog and the ads, for what you need Facebook pixel on your site. To increase app installs by showing relevant ads that drive directly to download – you’ll need to install the Facebook SDK.
  2. Business Manager account
    Dynamic ads work at a larger scale than most ads, so you need a Business Manager account.
  3. A product catalog
    Finally, create and upload a product catalog to the Business Manager. If your website is powered by Shopify, Magento or BigCommerce, you can automatically set up dynamic ads for your business.
Dynamic Ads - travel
Dynamic Ads - automotive
Dynamic Ads - real estate

Ad Content Guidelines

When it comes to ad content, Facebook established clear guidelines that work best if you want your ad to be successful. They listed DO and DON’Ts.

icon doDO

  • Be Authentic
    Consider the tone of voice, which reflects your business’s identity and personality. It can be funny, business-like, adventurous – whatever works for you. The more authentic you are, the more effective your ads are likely to be. Be consistent.
  • Understand your target audience
    Address their motivations or the barriers preventing them from becoming your customer. Communicate the value you provide and the role your business can fill in for them. A good trick is to have different versions of creative for different audiences.
  • Define your theme
    The theme can be a concept, an idea or even a visual theme to create consistency amongst all of your ads.
    It should respond to your brand’s unique point of view and accentuate what makes you stand out.

icon don'tDON’T

  • Personal characteristics
    Ads can’t assert or imply — directly or indirectly — that advertiser knows a person’s personal characteristics such as person’s name, race, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability or medical condition, financial status, and more.
  • Vulgar Language
    Vulgar, profane, or insulting language is not allowed. Ad text should never be rude, offensive, or bullying.
  • Deceptive Claims
    Facebook and Instagram ads can’t contain false, fraudulent, or misleading claims or content. Any claims have to be adequately substantiated.

Ad Creative Guidelines

An ad creative is all the data necessary to visually render your ad (image, video, vector, typography). Good creative not only catches your audience’s attention but is also vital in achieving your business objective. Producing quality, appealing, relevant, and engaging content can be pretty straightforward – as long as you have a clear objective for your ad and know your audience well enough. To assist you, there are many web and mobile apps on the market can help create a lot of value with relatively little to none investment. With some thought and creativity, your ads can go a long way.

Thus far we have covered best practices of creating the image and video ads. But now we are bringing you some more tips and tricks which might prove handy when you start creating your ads.

Landing pages icon Landing Pages Creative

Landing pages are the sites you redirected to when people click on your ad. Any landing page must clearly represent the company, product, service, or brand that’s being advertised. The ad may not be approved if the landing page content isn’t fully functional, doesn’t match the product/service promoted in an ad, or doesn’t fully comply with Advertising Policies. Be mindful of:

  • Facebook Destinations
    Facebook page as an ad’s landing page, is allowed – but not the Facebook homepage. Page content must follow the guidelines. Group has to be an open and public group.
  • Geographic IP Address Restriction
    Do not direct people to a website that is restricted to people in certain regions.
  • Error Pages
    The landing page must function in all browsers and can’t lead people to a site that is under construction or an “error page.”
  • Web of Trust
    The landing page must not be negatively flagged by Web of Trust. It also, cannot initiate a download, require an additional program or app; or require people to click through multiple ads to access the page’s content.
  • Prohibited Content
    Must not contain products or services prohibited by Advertising Policies, or shows ads that don’t apply to those same policies.


Restrictions of Facebook Ad Creatives

Facebook warns, in order to have the best chances to pass the ad review, when creating your ad you should be very mindful of the following:

  • Do not use misleading Buttons
    Images that mislead a person to think your ad features some functionality — like a video play button — aren’t allowed.
  • Health & Fitness products
    You can’t use any “before and after” images or images of unexpected or unlikely results. An example would be an image of a side-by-side comparison showing dramatic weight loss.
  • Sexually suggestive
    Ads can’t use creative that is overly sexual, imply nudity, show excessive amounts of skin or cleavage, or focus unnecessarily on body parts — even if portrayed for artistic or educational reasons.
  • Shock and scare tactics
    Images that are scary, gory, or sensationalized aren’t allowed. We don’t allow these images because they may shock or elicit a negative response from your audience.
  • Facebook Brand assets
    Your ad can’t contain an altered or outdated version of the Facebook or Instagram logos or use trademarks, names, domain names, logos, or other content that imitates or could be confused with Facebook. Also, by using the logo, you shouldn’t be implying a partnership with Facebook.
  • Text penalty
    A research done by Facebook found out that images with less than 20% of image text perform better. Image text is any text that exists on your ad image or creative and it doesn’t include text outside of your image.What is image text in facebook adspTherefore, they warned advertisers that image text will be subject to a review process that looks at the amount of image text used in the ad. Based on this review, Facebook ads that contain images with little to no image text tend to cost less and reach more people than ads with image text; while ads with higher amounts of image text may not be shown. In the image below you can see the amount of the text and corresponding penalty:
    image text ruleHowever, some ad images may qualify for an exception (see the image below.)exceptions to image text rule for facebook adsA good approach is to make sure that most of the text you use is in the body text instead of directly on the ad’s image. However, if it’s absolutely necessary to include text in your image, avoid spreading text all over the image, try to use fewer words and/or reducing the font size of your text. Be mindful, though, of the font size -as the text too small is difficult to read. To avoid having too much text on your images and to make sure your review process goes smoothly, Facebook provides Text Overlay Tool which makes it easy for you to check the amount of text.

Sources for your creatives (images, vectors & videos)

Free Paid

STEP 5: Create your Ad

Once you’ve created your campaign and at least one ad set, you can move on to creating your ad. At the ad level, you’ll choose your ad’s creative, which may include things such as images, videos, text and a Call to Action button.

This is a creative process, but be mindful of Facebook’s restrictions and best practices. That way you’ll insure your Ad gets approved from the get-go.

Quick ad creation

Quick Creation is an ad creation workflow that fast-tracks all the steps of creating a campaign, ad sets, and ads. It is less hands-on than creating complete campaigns and allows you to simultaneously draft all three elements at once or create new ad objects within an existing campaign or ad set. However, it does require some previous experience with Facebook Ads, so it’s mostly utilized by experienced advertisers.

Quick Ad Creation user interface


Guided ad creation

Guided Ad Creation User Interface explained

Facebook’s Step by Step Guide to Creating Ads based on Ad Formats

Image Ads Video Ads Slideshow Collection Carousel Instant Experience Playable Ads Dynamic Ads

Anatomy of a successful Ad

Anatomy of a successful ad

More Tips & Tricks

More tips and tricks to make ads more engaging: use vertical videos, add movement, add multiple images to carousel, avoid text on images, shorten text, use call to action buttons

We have compiled all the relevant data from this article to an infographic which you can download below.

Download Facebook Ads – Creation Infographic

In the next article, we will talk about the processes „behind the scenes“ which take place once you submit your ad to Facebook. Next up: Submit your order.

Go back to:
illustration of avatars (people). sitting around stylized mobile phone from which rise the speech bubbles with facebook ads,
The next Chapter available on Monday, August 5th
illustration of avatar (person). standing on the enlarged mobile phone and pressing huge CONFIRM button


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