Facebook link ads are a potentially cost-effective option for businesses looking to increase conversions. With nearly 1.5 billion daily users and $13.5 billion in advertising revenue reported in Q3 of 2018, Facebook offers an unparalleled advertising experience for marketers.
Facebook offers varying ad types for businesses looking to increase traffic and leads. One of the most common ad types are Facebook link ads.
What are Facebook link ads?
Facebook link ads are single image advertisements that help promote your website, post-click landing page or article. They can have differing placements (Feed, Stories, Instagram, etc.), so you can use the same ads in a variety of locations to reach a wider audience. Additionally, these ads can help grow the number of likes and boost engagement.
There are five components for link ads, which work together to attract potential leads. When placed in the news feed, ads should include:
- Image — visual components play a significant role in grabbing attention and ultimately how your ad performs.
- Headline — informs the reader what your advertisement is about.
- Copy — including text to accompany the image and headline is recommended to explain the offer.
- CTA button — encourages the reader to take the next step. The five options available include Book Now, Shop Now, Download, Sign Up, and Learn More.
- Link description — additional information about the link’s destination and what the reader can expect after clicking through.
Here is a typical link ad placed in the news feed:
Facebook link ad specs
For Facebook link ads placed within the news feed, the following specs are recommended for optimal viewing:
- Image dimensions: 600 x 600px minimum
- Recommended dimensions: 1200 x 628px
- Image ratio: 1:91:1
- Image text: no more than 20%
- Text: 125 characters
- Headline: 25 characters
- Link description: 30 characters
Links ads are applicable to the desktop and mobile newsfeed, audience network, and right column. When shown in the mobile news feed, the link ads size is narrower than its desktop counterpart:
Where a link ad shows up depends on your advertising goals. However, it's important to consider your ad's overall look as it may appear differently depending on its placement.
Right column link ads are placed under the Stories section, in the lower right-hand column of the Facebook home dashboard, like this:
Typically, ads in the right column are less expensive than those in the news feed due to fewer conversions. Since they are only available to view on desktop (with no CTA button), click-through rates tend to be lower. However, only two right column ads can be viewed at any one time and are effective in retargeting prospects when used in combination with news feed ads.
How link ads compare to other Facebook ads
It’s easy to confuse link ads with other types of Facebook ads, especially as they can appear similar. Here’s how they compare to other ad types:
On the surface, links ads and boosted posts share similar features. Boosted posts are essentially promoted posts from your Facebook page, which can work well with your current audience:
This type of ad is effective when upselling and reminding your audience that you’re still active. Around 95% of users won’t return to a page once they’ve liked it, meaning the only source of engagement is with posts shown on their news feed.
Additionally, boosted posts are an excellent way to test different types of content with your audience to see which performs best. While these ads look similar to link ads, they may not have a CTA button (unless you’re encouraging a user to like your page). Furthermore, you have no control over the ad specifics, such as image and text, as you’re promoting a post already published on your page.
Boosted posts can be used to encourage users to visit your website instead of receiving engagement on a specific post. However, you have a limited number of options to select when setting up your promotion, including your overall goal, audience, and budget:
In comparison, setting up a Facebook link ad provides more options, such as audience customization.
Unlike link ads, boosted posts cannot be placed in the right column, but they can be shown in the messenger inbox, Instagram stories, Instagram feed, and Facebook news feed on desktop and mobile:
Not only do you have more creative control with Facebook link ads, you also have more targeted audience customization with overlapping audience types:
While boosted posts can work well for small businesses who wish to build brand awareness or gain authority in their niche, Facebook ads offer more flexibility, whether you wish to use a link ad or video as part of your marketing campaign.
Video link ads
As its name suggests, video link ads are a form of Facebook link ads, using video instead of an image. These ads can also appear in the news feed, audience network, and Instagram. However, they can’t be placed in the right column:
Video link ad specs
- Video: up to 120 min (best performing ads feature 15-30 seconds of video)
- Aspect ratio: 16:9 to 9:16
- Size of file: up to 4GB
- Text: 90 characters
- Continuous looping: Possible
Video allows your audience to build an emotional connection to your business, enabling your brand to come to life; something that is hard to replicate with a static image.
Facebook is the top platform for businesses to place video ads. Which type of ad performs better? HubSpot found that with a standard image, video ads received 20% more clicks. However, when an optimized image was used, the image ad received more clicks (overall, the narrative video achieved most clicks with a 34 percent lower cost per click), demonstrating that A/B testing is essential if you’re considering using video or link ads.
Facebook carousel ads are similar to link ads in that they feature text, a headline, and links. However, they feature between 3 to 5 images which users can scroll through by clicking the ad’s left or right arrows:
Carousel ads are great in highlighting one or more products, whether that includes benefits or how to use a product. You can engage users by giving a service tour or sharing various blog posts from your website.
Best practices for creating a Facebook link ad
Creating the perfect Facebook link ad is straightforward when you consider each ad component. Each part can be clicked, including the text and image. Keep the following in mind when building your link ads:
Use a visually appealing image to stop users from scrolling past
Using text in your image is also an effective way of attracting users to your ad. Facebook only allows text on 20% of your advert so using an enticing image is essential. The ad below is a great example of using an image to complement the headline and offer:
Write a clear, direct headline in a conversational tone
Your headline should be short and straight to the point. Your headline may reflect the additional text within your ad, such as offering a discounted product or service. However, it should also be related to the image you’ve selected. In this example, notice how the headline "Be Your Own Boss | Set Your Own Hours" brings together the additional elements by reflecting the working from home theme in this ad:
Use an announcement in the text to encourage clicks
This may be a discount, free shipping, or a special promotion. Make your offer clear, so you don’t confuse the reader. Create urgency with a limited-time offering, or answer questions that potential customers may have about your service. Notice how Oberlo uses their product benefits to drive users to their post-click landing page:
Carefully select your post-click landing page
AdEspresso conducted a study of 752,626 Facebook ads and learned that digital marketers use specific, dedicated post-click landing pages for the post-click landing page:
By linking your ad to a post-click landing page, you optimize the user’s post-click landing page because they see the specific offer that was advertised. For best results, message matching the ad headline, copy, and imagery to your post-click landing page reassures people they landed in the correct place. If you’re placing your ad in Facebook mobile, make sure your post-click landing page is optimized for mobile users.
In the Proof ad below, clicking on “Learn More” takes the user directly to the corresponding post-click landing page where he or she can schedule a demo:
The post-click landing page can also be optimized for a specific offer, like The Hoth does below:
Facebook link ads can be optimized for post-click landing page views to ensure you target users who are likely to click on your ad and wait for your post-click landing page to load:
When optimizing for link clicks, Facebook doesn’t consider if a user waits for your page to load. Therefore, you may not achieve your goal of attracting traffic to your post-click landing page or driving conversions. This is a bigger deal when you consider that 53% of users leave a page that takes more than 3 seconds to load on mobile. So, post-click landing page optimization for your Facebook ads can aid your marketing goals.
Craft your perfect Facebook ad campaign
Facebook link ads are a great way to generate brand awareness, post-click landing page views, and ultimately conversions. Not only that, but this ad type can be shown on multiple devices and locations for users to see and engage. It’s no wonder that digital marketers continue to use link ads in Facebook campaigns to achieve their goals.
To get more information on link ads and every other Facebook ad type, download the digital advertising reference guide here.