Facebook Ad Models: Comparing and Contrasting Differences

By Dr. Todd Bacile & Rickey Helsel | July 11, 2013

Facebook Ads

Typical Facebook click-through rates for Marketplace Ads (.0005), Page Post Ads (.00075), and Promoted Posts (.01-.02) are not the only differences a marketer should be aware of within the world of Facebook advertising. Each ad type possesses unique features for certain devices or target audiences. Becoming familiar with different ad models may help match the correct ad type to a brand’s advertising goals. (NOTE: these CTRs are not Facebook’s “official”, but are derived from various consultants and news sources.)

There are three different Facebook ad models discussed in this post: Marketplace Ads, Page Post Ads, and Promoted Posts. Several other types of Facebook ads exist, but as the social giant reduces its ad models, such as Sponsored Stories (CTR .0007) and Sponsored Results ads, it makes sense to focus on a few of the popular types. Some ads never display on consumers’ smartphone screens. Some ads only display to a brand’s followers and friends of followers, while other ads must be used to target consumers without a relationship to a brand. How can a brand understand these differences?

Facebook Marketplace Ads


Marketplace Ads are placed on the right side of a browser window for desktop or laptop devices. However, Marketplace Ads do not appear on mobile devices, as the left-to-right scrolling is minimized by removing content that would normally appear to the right.

Target Audience

Marketplace Ads can be targeted to any user on Facebook, regardless if a person follows your brand, is a friend of a person who follows your brand, or does not have any connection to your brand. The target audience is important to consider, as some types of Facebook ads reach certain audiences based on the connection to a brand.

Facebook Page Post Ads


Page Post Ads are recent posts made from a brand’s Facebook page. Similar to Sponsored Stories, Page Posts Ads are located either in the right sidebar area or within the news feed. Page Posts Ads are viewable on smaller, mobile devices.

Target Audience

Page Posts Ads have targeting options similar to Marketplace Ads. Any user on Facebook can be reached with a Page Post Ad, whether or not the brand has a connection to a follower.

Facebook Promoted Posts


After creating a new post, a brand may elect to promote this post to an audience. Promoted Posts more effective than other types discussed in this post when evaluating CTR. The reason is location: only ads appear in the right panel of Facebook, not posts. This means that a brand’s promoted post will only appear in the news feeds of its audience – where Facebook users’ eyes are trained to look – especially important for mobile users.

Target Audience

Facebook Promoted Posts are like the now discontinued Sponsored Stories in that brands have the ability to target users that like the brands page along with the friends of those users. Subjectively, this method of posting should be given special consideration when targeting mobile users. Think about the last time you used Facebook on your laptop – there are so many distractions! Mobile users are given posts as wide as their devices, with only about three posts fitting on the screen. A 33% chance of catching the user’s eye (not accounting for the navigation and post bars) is much greater than that of a user on a computer.

Todd Bacile (@toddbacile) is a Marketing Professor at Loyola University New Orleans. He teaches Electronic Marketing and Advanced Marketing Strategy. His e-marketing research has been published or is forthcoming in numerous academic research journals and national marketing conferences.  Social Media Marketing Magazine ranks him as one of the Top 100 Marketing Professors on Twitter. Rickey Helsel (@rickeyhelsel) is a rising new media star, with experience in mobile application development, social media advertising, electronic marketing business plan development, numerous programming languages, and management information systems. Find out more about him at RickeyHelsel.com.


11 thoughts on “Facebook Ad Models: Comparing and Contrasting Differences

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    • Thanks for your comment! FB can be useful, but they also can be complicated for the beginner. Which ad model(s) have you used?


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