Facebook Ad Placements: Your Guide to Making Ad Placement Decisions

Posted on October 30, 2018

No matter who your brand’s audience consists of, it’s nearly guaranteed you can reach them through a Facebook ad campaign. You have a lot to think about before making the decision to go that route, though. How large is the budget? What’s the message we want to deliver? At what time period is it best to run these ads?

Once you’ve settled these issues, don’t make the mistake of overlooking the importance of Facebook ad placements. This aspect of your campaign can play a significant role in how a consumer is going to perceive your brand.

For placement set up, Facebook provides a couple of options: automatic or manual. Automatic lets Facebook display your ads in locations the platform believes they will perform well. With the manual option, you choose which placements you want to use.

Facebook’s ad-circulating abilities present the possibility of your ads appearing beyond standard Facebook and into Instagram, within Facebook’s Audience Network, and/or on Facebook Messenger. You can also have your ads displayed on desktop, mobile, or all devices. The recipients of your ads will be targeted based on user profiles, pages, groups and other aspects of Facebook and Instagram users have interacted with.

Facebook Ad Placement Breakdown


The newsfeed and the right column Facebook ad placements are the standard options. The newsfeed placement, which breaks up the feed of your target audience with your ad, is obviously the more prominent of the two. If your Facebook ad campaign is on a tight budget over a short time frame, you may only opt to use these two placements. Otherwise, you should expand your placements into other areas as you see fit or allow room in your budget to let Facebook make that decision for you.

One of those areas is instant articles, which Facebook touts as fast and interactive articles native to the platform. An initial study showed instant articles resulted in 20 percent more clicks, 30 percent more shares, and were 70 percent less likely to bounce. You also have the option to use in-stream video, stories, and the marketplace as Facebook ad placements.

Here’s the rundown of the Facebook ad placement options:

  • Newsfeed: Your ads appear in the newsfeed on all devices.
  • Right column: This is a computer-specific placement where your ads appear along the right side of Facebook’s user interface. If you choose to only have your ads displayed on desktops/laptops, the newsfeed and the right column are your only options for ad placement.
  • Instant articles: These are interactive articles delivered to the Facebook mobile app and Messenger.
  • In-stream video: These are videos of up to 15 seconds that are displayed to those watching either live or on-demand videos.
  • Stories: Your ads will appear when people are viewing stories on Facebook.
  • Marketplace: Your ads will appear on the homepage of Facebook’s marketplace or when browsing the marketplace on the Facebook mobile app.


Instagram’s feed and story options for ad placements are essentially going to give you the same look as what you’ll see with those same placements through Facebook. The key difference is the demographic that lives on each platform. If your brand wants to reach a younger audience, Instagram is often more effective than Facebook.

Here are the two ways in which Instagram ads are displayed:

  • Feeds: Your ads will appear in the Instagram feed on all devices.
  • Stories: These ads are the same as Facebook’s stories placement, as your ads will appear in stories users posts on Instagram.


Messenger ad placements are limited to two locations: the Messenger homepage and sponsored messages. Facebook recommends you use automatic placements as “the easiest way to take advantage of” Messenger. You can manually select to push your ads to Messenger, though you must also have the Facebook newsfeed selected since Messenger is not currently available as a standalone placement.

Here are the ways in which Messenger ads are displayed:

  • Inbox: Your ads will appear on the Messenger homepage.
  • Sponsored messages: Your ads are delivered to users who have had a previous conversation with your brand in Messenger.

Audience Network

Facebook’s Audience Network is a group of apps and websites away from the platform where your ads will be displayed. If you’re worried about where this might place your ads, you can exclude certain apps and websites from displaying your ads to avoid any potential issues.

In general, you’re likely to see high traffic without spending much. However, you should be aware this traffic is largely accidental in most cases. It is not often coming from users who are likely to become customers. Instead, they simply pressed the ad by accident and will leave immediately.

Here are the three ways in which the Audience Network ads are displayed:

  • Banner, interstitial, and native: These will appear on websites that are within Facebook’s Audience Network via banner ads, interstitial ads, and native ads.
  • Rewarded video: These video ads can be watched through apps in exchange for a reward.
  • In-stream video: These ads are short videos that run via a video player on a website before a video, during a break, or after the video has concluded.


If you can, you should consider letting the audience make some of your placement decisions for you. You can simply set your placements to automatic, let things run for a week or longer, and see what’s working. Once you know what will give you the best results, take control yourself with manual placements. Your manual decisions will help you best maximize your Facebook ad campaign.

Remember, deciding on placements isn’t something you should set and ignore. Optimizing your placements is dependent on what works best for your brand and your specific Facebook ad campaign. And things can change rapidly on Facebook. So you need to put in the time and effort it takes to regularly analyze the results generated from your placements in order to execute the best plan possible.