As we all know, Facebook is an extremely powerful advertising platform, but -as we experienced firsthand- the increased competition has led to substantial increases in advertising costs.
Leveraging ad types to your advantage is key to unlocking the platform’s full potential in any industry.
With the same ad copy and targeting, conversion rates, CTR, ROI, and other key metrics can differ substantially simply by changing ad types.
There are a lot of Facebook ad types you can pick from, but some can perform better than others if you know the tricks.
Collection ads and Carousel ads, for example, have a pretty solid record of success stories.
Will yours be the next?
Don’t trust our words? Fair enough, trust the numbers then.
- The Black Tux saw a 3.4X higher conversion rate with Collection and Carousel
- This past Christmas, Sephora used tabs for Canvas powered by the Collection ad format and realized a +32% return on ad spend.
- The US game retailer GameStop ran a mobile-first campaign using Facebook collection ads to boost holiday season game sales, resulting in a 7.5X increase in incremental return on ad spend.
- The evangelical charity Samaritan’s Purse used photo ads in the Collection format to promote sales from its Christmas catalog, reaching a 279X return on ad spend.
- Using both Canvas and Collection, the e-commerce subscription box retailer FabFitFun had a +80% CTR, a -14% Cost Per Acquisition and an overall +19% ROI
- Core Digital Media, an online mortgage lead aggregator saw a 22.5X return on ad spend by combining a Canvas with the collection format.
- Using Facebook carousel ads, Christoff, a Brazilian T-shirt brand, had a 10X return on ad investment, a 3X lower conversion cost and 80% of website sales came via Facebook.
- The mobile game developer Tap4Fun had a +20–30% click-through rate and a +30–50% conversion rate after running Carousel Mobile App ads
You can create Collection ads to build awareness for your business, acquire leads for your products or services, or you can use to directly sell your products.
If you sell many different types of products and want to put more than 1 product in front of your audience, you can use Carousel to tell a unique visual story with a sequence of images or videos in a single ad.
Collection ad or Carousel ad, who’s the winner? Hopefully, by the end of this article, you will be able to decide when each format is right for you. (Spoiler Alert: use them both all the time).
What are Facebook Collection Ads
Collection ads are relatively new ad types (just turned 1 year old), but they quickly gained traction among advertisers due to strong performance, great design, and customization capabilities.
A Facebook collection ad consists of a cover image or video, followed by several product images. This is a great option if you want to showcase a line of items but don’t want to overwhelm your audience.
When potential customers click on your ad, they’re taken to a full-screen version designed to boost engagement and get people interested in and excited about your product.
Collection Ads for Instagrammers
In February 2018, Facebook began testing the collection ad experience on Instagram, giving advertisers yet another area to experiment with.
Basically, brands now can have an eye-catching video above a swipeable carousel showcasing individual products on Instagram. People can then tap on the products to visit the brand’s site and buy them.
Instagram Stories Ads can have up to three slides of different media, including images and videos.
It reminds us a great deal of the Canvas Ads, sliding horizontally instead of vertically. They are, of course, not quite as interaction-friendly as Canvas ads, but advertisers can still include interactive elements like the “Swipe up to see more.”
Moreover, while on Facebook, tapping on an individual product opens a product catalog that prioritizes that specific product, on Instagram, tapping on any of the product photos will open the same catalog. From that catalog, people will then be able to click on a product to see it on the brand’s site.
This feature has not been widely released yet, and is only accessible by select big-name brands like Coca-Cola, but it will probably be here before we know it and it will be big.
Why Does Facebook Like Collection Ads?
Did you know that the U.S. spends 20% of the time on their phone either on Instagram of Facebook? Yup…that’s a lot of time.
Collection ads are for mobile only, and they are designed perfectly to Maximize the Mobile User Experience.
Facebook is all about engagement, and Collection ads are perfect for keeping users on Facebook who aren’t interested in the product, but are also fantastic at driving people who are serious about buying.
It’s a win for Facebook, but also for advertisers. High-quality collection ads bring high-quality traffic to the site and keeps less interested individuals on Facebook.
A simple video can autoplay, attracting users, and increasing engagement rates. Products can be displayed, so that before a user even clicks an ad, they have the potential to read ad copy learning about the brand, see an offer in a headline, watch a video, and even see the products that are being sold.
Once engaged via a click on the video, or a click on the scrollable images below, a full-screen experience allows users to not only scroll through products, but directly drive to those products pages. The images, product titles, prices, deals, and more can be auto pulled into the collection ads from the Facebook Product feed.
Multiple CTAs can be created, allowing advertisers to drive to individual products, to general category pages, or even to other early stage conversion pages.
Because these ads do such a great job of validating a user before they make it all the way to a site, conversion rates tend to be superior to other ad types.
Above, the ad of Tidal New York, one of our clients, we are consistently getting 6.5-7% e-commerce conversion rates on prospecting campaigns.
Of course, great targeting is essential to get high conversion rates.
Collection Ads Best Practices
Cover Image or Video
Through testing, we have identified that videos generate up to 20% better interaction rates on collection ads than just a static cover image.
Lacking video assets? Not a problem. Facebook allows you to turn multiple images into an auto-playing slideshow of images, which performs just as well as other video types.
Use images with people using the product. We saw click-through rates over time be 3-5% higher when ads incorporate people wearing, or using the product.
As identified earlier, collection ads have great conversion rates, but even then, some individuals will not click through to your site. Advertisers can attempt to take advantage, by creating custom audiences of individuals that have interacted with your ads, but not purchased, or even that haven’t clicked through to the website yet.
Be sure to always test, as best practices don’t actually mean best results for you. What to test?
Headlines, for sure. Depending on the audience and the client, you can test different offers (for example 25% off vs. $30 off vs. Free Shipping, etc) or test different funnel conversions (Newsletter, vs eBook, vs product sell, etc).
Imagery: In the case of Tidal Flip-Flops, two things resonated with their audience, images with people wearing the product, as opposed to just product images, or very close up product images, as they show the clear quality differentiation of the product they are selling.
Here’s the two top images of each category:
Test product images vs lifestyle/usage images (ex: a pair of flip-flops vs. a model wearing flip-flops at the beach):
Test designed images with copy attached (try images with offers on the image):
Test the products displayed within the product carousel. If the ad is to women only, feature top-selling women’s products, or a group of top products.
Carousel Ads, Because You Can’t Neglect Desktop
Carousel Ads are like a happy medium between collection ads and regular image ads. They hold one key advantage over collection ads, the desktop placement.
Just because most of the time spent online nowadays is on mobile, doesn’t mean companies can begin to neglect desktop users, even on Facebook, where mobile dominates even more heavily.
Carousel ads offer a great experience on both mobile and desktop, allowing users to slide through different images, and drive to specific landing pages.
You may not see the same level of engagement, or conversion rates Collection ads have, but carousel ads are must have for any account looking to have a successful presence on Facebook. Especially when advertising multiple products.
The Advantages of Carousel Ads
Both for Desktop and Mobile
Carousel ads may not perform as well as collection ads do on mobile, but at least they can show up on both! Though a small portion of Facebook traffic is on desktop, missing out on desktop traffic completely is a mistake.
Ease of Creation
Carousel ads are easy to create, and give advertisers options to drive users to specific landing pages on each carousel, create stories with slideshows, or do some other creative ad design work with videos and images.
Ever wish you could rack up social proof on ads by using them in different campaigns over time? You can! (some people call them ghost posts, others call them dark posts).
You’ll be able to select the same ad from different campaigns and ad groups, carrying over all of the likes, comments and shares. You can’t do this with collection ads, but you can with most other ad types. (Read how here.)
Carousel Ad Best Practices
Carousel ads are a little bit easier to put together and test than collection ads. Simply add a few key elements, and you are on your way to a professional looking and high performing carousel ad.
ALWAYS use call-to-actions (CTAs) on collection ads. Whether it is “shop now” “learn more”, or any of the other options, be sure to include CTAs as they will increase click-through rates.
Use different headlines on every carousel card. People like to scroll, let them read something different each time they do so. This is a great place to highlight different offers, or differentiating factors.
Use Ghost Post
Utilize the ghost posting technique so that you can apply the same ad to multiple ad sets or campaigns and carry over ad interactions with it. Increased social proof on ads help performance. This may not apply in all cases, but it certainly can be of value. (The ad above utilized this technique, so we were able to publish it in any campaign and include all likes, comments and shares.)
Tell A Story
Carousel ads are designed to make people want to swipe through the carousels. Providing content that further tells a story as users swipe through the cards is a great tactic for driving clicks to the site. If you don’t have a story to tell via images or text, highlight the product, and different value propositions or offers for your audience.
Wrapping It Up: Collection Ads or Carousel?
Two of the most powerful ad types, Collection ads and Carousel ads, can be effective alone in many cases. But to fully maximize the performance of a Facebook account, both ad types should be used.
Here’s what worked for us:
Facebook Collections ads are different from Carousels in that they link to an immersive in-app experience, including browsing and learning more about the products featured.
For your Collection ad you must pick out the items that together form a sense of cohesion, whether it’s shape, texture, color, or item type. You can feature one item per photo, or similar items across all photos.
Not only will your Collection drive cold traffic through visual appeal, you can also drive product catalog sales up by targeting people who’ve already expressed interest for a certain kind of product on your site.
Variety is a top reason people are compelled to shop at one store over another, and Facebook carousel ads are the perfect way to drive site traffic.
Each carousel lets you use up to 10 pictures in the space of a single ad, the best way to use this space is to showcase your product from multiple perspectives.
For all the variety, it’s important for people to come away with a sense of your website as a whole. To instill unity in your ad, be sure to include a brand message that unifies the photos, as well as a business logo at the end of your Carousel.
Combining these ad types with proper uses of lead ads, video ads, and image ads is necessary for fully understanding what will be successful to a target audience.
Max DesMarais is an SEO & PPC Specialist for Vital Design, a Digital Marketing, Web Design & PPC agency. Max is in charge of PPC management for clients across a wide range of industries. His broad knowledge of digital marketing has helped drive results for clients in both paid and organic efforts. Connect with Max on Twitter or LinkedIn