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An Agent’s Guide to Facebook Ad Types

Facebook ads are everywhere, and if you’re doing your due diligence, you’ve likely run more than a few Facebook ads of your own. Not all Facebook ad types are created equal, though, so the wealth of options Facebook presents you with can make it overwhelming to choose an ad type. 

To guide you through the often-confusing differences between ad types, we’ve put together a high-level guide so you can take control of your Facebook ads and maximize your ROI.

Single Image

Single image ads are the everyday Facebook ads you’ve seen since what feels like time immemorial. As the name implies, these ads utilize a single image as the focal point of the ad creative, with room for ad copy, a CTA, a headline, and a description. Check out this handy image below to see how the parts of a single image ad work together.

A screenshot of a single image Facebook ad with highlights to mark the different components of the ad.

There’s a reason single image ads are so popular: This simple formula is endlessly riffable, with nearly limitless creative potential. Single image ads work well for driving traffic, as their clearly marked CTA buttons and flexible copy options allow advertisers to experiment with ways to drive people to their respective websites. 

Below is an example of a standout real estate ad that uses the single image format: 

A screenshot of a single-image ad for a listing.

This ad does a great job of driving home the value of this listing while simultaneously encouraging users to “Learn More” via the prominent CTA button at the bottom of the ad. With a beautiful listing photo, compelling caption copy, and a detailed description, this ad is well-positioned to draw in potential leads.

Carousel Ads

Available on both the desktop and mobile versions of Facebook, carousel ads allow users to swipe through a selection of several images — or videos — within the ad itself. Carousel ads are supremely flexible with support for up to 10 frames, but you have to include at least two frames in a carousel ad for it to be approved.

Carousel ads offer another type of flexibility, too: Each frame in a carousel ad can have a unique headline, description, CTA, and outbound link, so you can link to up to 10 different landing pages in the same ad. 

A screenshot of a carousel ad which features several different properties.

Carousel ads are immensely useful for agents. For example, in the above ad, the advertiser has made the smart decision to take advantage of the carousel format to showcase multiple active listings. Including a little bit of information about each listing entices users to click through, and the variety of listings included in the ad caters to a wide variety of preferences. Plus, having several listings or sales to show proves you’re a popular agent who does a lot of business. 

Not interested in advertising multiple listings in the same ad? You may choose to include a video of a walkthrough and several pictures of a new listing to really drive home the listing’s best features. Going for an awareness- or brand-based ad? You can use those 10 available image slots to include pictures of recently sold listings, building your credibility as an agent with every swipe.

Single Video Ads

A screenshot of the thumbnail for a single video ad.

With Facebook’s new(-ish) focus on video content, single video ads are becoming more popular than ever before. These ads function similarly to single image ads, but instead of an image, the centerpiece of an ad is a video. Facebook’s own stats indicate that users view video content for an average of 5x longer than do they static content, and that extra attention is immensely valuable for any advertiser. 

The video you choose for your next single video ad is a great way to show off your skills as an agent. Real estate is a visual medium, and while listing photos are great, a video walkthrough of your newest listing will take your ad to the next level — allowing potential buyers to envision themselves in the space.

Best practices for single video ads are similar to single image ads, aside from the whole “video” thing. When producing the video you plan to use in your ad, be sure to optimize your video for mobile. Desktop users will still be able to view your ad with ease, but the hordes of mobile users on Facebook every day will appreciate a video that looks great on their phone.

Lead Ads

An example of a lead ad.

Lead ads are one of the most valuable tools for any advertising-inclined agent. Lead ads look almost identical to single image ads, but there’s a key difference that sets them apart.

With a traditional single image ad, a click will take users to a website or landing page of your choice. The traffic and exposure you’ll get through single image ads are both great, but there’s no way to reach out directly to people who have clicked on your ad, potentially leaving leads behind.

With lead ads, on the other hand, a click will take the user directly to a contact form. If they’ve filled out their contact information with Facebook, this form will even appear with several of the fields already completed. Once the user has filled the form out and clicked “submit,” you’ll receive a copy of their contact information, allowing you to reach out directly and nurture each lead to the best of your ability. 

Beyond allowing you to connect with leads directly, lead ads allow give you insight into the types of ads that engage your audience. Users are far more likely to click on an ad than they are to give you their contact information, so by monitoring the number of leads coming in per ad, you can tweak your overall strategy, giving your audience the more compelling ad content that may not come with other Facebook ad types.

Real Estate Ads (formerly Dynamic Ads for Real Estate)

A screenshot of a dynamic real estate ad.

Traditional Facebook ads are great, but it’s admittedly a huge pain to build a new ad every time you list a new home. 

Enter real estate ads. Since their launch in 2017, Facebook’s real estate ads (formerly known as dynamic ads for real estate) have left an indelible mark on the industry, pulling property data directly into your ads and keeping them up-to-date. 

Beyond just pulling in property data, real estate ads also take advantage of your site’s Facebook pixel to re-target viewers who have been to your website already. These users will be shown properties that match ones they’ve already looked at, so no two users will be shown the same set of properties.

Sound too good to be true? These ads are amazingly versatile, but they require a fair bit of work to set up. You’ll have to install a Facebook Pixel on your website to enable the re-targeting features we mentioned earlier, and you’ll need to build a catalog of property data from which your ads can draw information. Be forewarned: Facebook requires you to build your catalog with a minimum of 100 properties, so dynamic ads require a high volume of listings to be worth your while. If you run your ad with under 100 properties in your catalog, the targeting won’t work like it’s supposed to, wasting your valuable advertising budget.

Even with all the work they require, real estate ads are an incredible way to diversify your ads and reach more potential clients than you ever thought possible.

Canvas Ads

A screenshot of a Canvas experience.

A relatively new addition to the suite of Facebook ad types, Canvas ads are immersive, full-screen, mobile-only ads that look less like a traditional ad and more like a microsite. At first blush, Canvas ads’ mobile-only format may seem like a negative, but these beautiful ads are more engaging than nearly any other type of Facebook ad. 

Canvas ads combine videos, gifs, photos, and clickable CTA buttons to create an experience that’s greater than the sum of its parts. With all of their composite parts, the sky’s the limit for your Canvas ad creations. 

Some agents might use a Canvas ad to present a “deep dive” into their career, personal information, and current listings, while other agents may choose to spotlight a particularly exciting listing with a dedicated Canvas ad. Canvas ads are definitely labor-intensive, but Facebook provides a simple wizard to help guide you through the process of building your ads. The effort it takes to get a Canvas ad off the ground can be daunting, but presenting your audience with such an immersive experience is a surefire way to create an engaged pool of potential clients.

Page Like Ads

A sample Page Like ad.

Most real estate ads are created in an effort to drive leads. Page like ads, though, don’t cater to driving leads in the slightest, focusing instead on, well… page likes!

These ads look similar to single image Facebook ads, but instead of a headline and supporting copy, these ads make room for some cursory information about your business (see the example above). These ads don’t include a traditional CTA button, either, opting instead for a button that simply reads “Like Page.” 

Page like ads are definitely tougher to measure when it comes to ad performance, but they’re indispensable when it comes to building your audience. A robust audience will amplify any and all organic content you post, boosting your reputation and turning some of those page likes into potential leads once they’re interested in buying or selling a home.

Boosted Posts (Agents, Be Warned)

An example of a boosted post.

Finally, we come to boosted posts. If you’ve used Facebook regularly over the past several months, you’ve seen how intensely Facebook is pushing users to “promote” or “boost” individual posts. The supplied reach numbers make it seem like you’re getting a great deal, but a boosted post will do less for your business than an ad ever could.



Yes, boosted posts give you the ability to target specific users, but that’s not enough optimization. The real benefit to running ads instead of boosting posts is the ability to exert control over your ROI. With a boosted post, the content you promote is the content everyone will see until your budget has run out, regardless of whether or not the post is bringing in results.

On the other hand, while running ads, you have the ability to change your copy and imagery with ease, keeping your creative fresh, increasing engagement, and boosting overall ROI. Ads also allow you to direct people to lead pages, A/B test new creative options, and tailor the frequency with which they appear. Ads also offer the opportunity to take advantage of machine learning. With all the tools at your disposal in Facebook Ads, boosting your posts simply can’t compare to the power that comes with running ads.

By The Disclosure
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