It’s in the news everywhere. Facebook recently tweaked its News Feed algorithm to allow for more timely and relevant news. But as you might have already experienced, due to this decision, the organic reach of your posts will gradually decline over time.

By Ákos Szabó & Gábor Kéri, ThinkDigital Hungary

To put it simply, this means that if you want to boost your reach and engagement rates, more than ever before, you’ll have to invest in Advertising and add some of Facebook’s ad units to your mix. The thing is though that there are too many. And, to make things even more complicated, they keep evolving or changing all the time.

Which tool is most likely to generate the best results for you? And can you tell when it’s better to run Marketplace ads and when to invest in Premium ads?

We did a quick search online and what we found was mostly outdated or inadequate info. Therefore, we decided to delve into this topic and offer some useful insights. Let’s start with the obvious, i.e. the main difference between marketplace and Premium ad formats.

Marketplace ads can be bought through Facebook’s self-serve tools, the Ads manager and the Power Editor. The buying process is automatic: you setup the campaign and you pay with your credit card. The price is a result of a bidding process between the advertisers. Basically you can bid on impressions or clicks.

Premium advertising solutions can be purchased from a preferred reseller (like ThinkDigital in Central Eastern & South East Europe).  In this case you place an insertion order (IO) and you pay via bank transfer once your campaign has been completed. Premium ads have fixed prices (Ratecard) setup by Facebook itself. These ads are sold on a CPM basis and also have a guarantee on the delivery of the ordered amount of impressions.

The ad placement options you have

In a nutshell, you can buy ad placements in News Feed, in the Log Out page and in the right column of Facebook. Here’s a short description:

Right Hand Side (RHS):

As its name indicates, this placement is on the right-hand side of the screen. The size of these ads are generally 100*72px with text 90 up to characters.

News Feed (on desktop and mobile):

The News Feed is the most visited and seen place on Facebook.  And, based on our experience, we can tell that, no matter the device, this is the most engaging placement.

Log Out screen:

The log Out screen is the “goodbye” page of Facebook after a user logged out from his or her Facebook session. What’s the percentage of daily visitors who are logging out from Facebook? Around  50-60%.

[caption id="attachment_1510" align="aligncenter" width="380"]Log Out screen without advertisement Log Out screen without advertisement[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1511" align="aligncenter" width="380"]Log Out screen with advertisement Log Out screen with advertisement[/caption]
 The main differences between the ad units

 Right-hand side: standard ads on the Right-hand side can be bought only through the self-serve marketplace. These ad units are usually used to drive offsite traffic and encourage Facebook application installs, whereas it is worthwhile to mention that in order to run this kind of ads you don’t need to have a Facebook page.

Overall, standard ads can be effective, that is why these are still available – if you are interested in the evolution of Facebook Advertising, check out this nice presentation by Hubspot. However, there is no doubt that News Feed ads tend to generate a much higher RoI.

News Feed: The most common type of News Feed ads are the Page Post ads (with text, video, photo or link), for which you need to have a Facebook page. These can appear both on the right-hand side and in the news feed, though efficiency differs from one placement to the other. More specifically, according to various studies and after having analyzed hundreds of client campaigns, it is safe to say that click-through-rate can be 20x higher when an ad runs in news feed instead of the right column. Why? Because the size of the picture in a News Feed ad is 5-6 times bigger and is the center of all user interactions -plus content in news feed is generally not considered as advertisement.

But there are more ad units in the menu, ads that are not generated from a page post. These ads are used to build a fan base (Page Like ads), highlight the activity of our friends (Page Like Sponsored Stories) or introduce users to a Facebook application (App ads).

From theory to practice

Now that we have answered some of your questions, let’s have a look at some real life scenarios of how you could/should use each ad solution.

Promoting the launch of a product:

If you work for a company that did just launch a new product to the market and you need a high impact ad unit with premium placement and maximum reach in a short time, Facebook’s Premium Reach or Target Blocks is what you should be looking for. What’s so special about them? These products come with guaranteed delivered impressions in a given timeframe of 1 or 3 days. Moreover, this form of Premium ads always appears as the first or second post on the top of the news feed. This means that your brand’s content will be the first ad displayed to your target audience after they logged in on Facebook, whereas you can target these ads on gender, age and platform to be shown. These ad units have a fixed CPM price.

Gathering fans & boosting engagement:

Let’s consider that you run a webshop selling state-of-the-art consumer electronic products. On your Facebook page you want to build a community around gadgets for early adopters. Therefore, your target group is a niche audience. In this case you should use Marketplace Ads to target your message to just this small group of people. The first step to take is to run Page Like ads placed in the news feed targeted to a broad category of early adopters promising them up-to-date information on the latest technology on your page. This way you can gather aficionados of gadgets who are your potential buyers and advocates, instead of sweepstake hunters who possibly are not interested in buying any of the commodities you sell.

Goals and tips

To choose Marketplace or Premium, that is NOT the question”. For, it depends on your objectives on which option (or the combination of them) is the right one. Every case is different. However if we had to offer a (general) piece of advice this would be: use Marketplace ads as part of your “always-on” strategy or, if that’s not possible, at least try to integrate it into a long-term plan. In other words…

-          … drive people to your Facebook page and building your fan base.

-          … use Page Post ads in order to boost your engagement and activate your fans and their friends (less than 10% of actual fans can be reached organically).

-          … drive people to your website with your Page Posts.

-          … use Page Post ads as the tool of Performance Marketing with conversion focused campaigns

-          … try Marketplace ads if you want to target your own audience using your database, or if you want to retarget users.

Premium, on the other hand, should not be used as a standalone solution, but as a vital part of your overall Facebook strategy. That said, if you aim to reach the majority of Internet users in one platform on one single day, then you have to choose Premium Advertising. In other words, this works for:

-          a product launch

-          a new promotion

-          special discounts

-          the start of a TV campaign

-          important event promotion

-          as a means to differentiate from competitors

-          reach your target audience in just 24 hours

And what about Mobile?

The big advancement in Facebook Advertising compared to most of the other online platforms is the following: with one single post you can be in every screen! You choose one creative (probably a video, a photo page post or maybe a link to an offsite landing page) and you can use the same post for desktop, mobile and tablet. And in case you are wondering “why should I use Premium advertising on Mobile if I can be there with self-serve campaigns?”, here is the answer: because, as it is the case with desktop, you can reach all your audience with your message in just 24 hours. In other words, in just 1 day you can reach around 40% of mobile active users. Isn’t it impressive?

5 things to remember:

To summarize the analysis of the two advertising options, here are 5 key points:

  1. The objective: Marketplace is for fan base building, for driving the users or ensure a continuous activity with the page post – Premium is for special occasions which require maximum reach.
  2. The buying method: Marketplace can be bought through self-serve  – Premium can be booked through a preferred Facebook reseller.
  3. The ad units: Marketplace can be seen on the right hand-side of every Facebook page and in the news feed, but without any guaranteed placement – Premium, on the other hand, can be seen on exclusive placements, e.g. the 1st or 2nd page post on the top of the news feed of any device (desktop, mobile or tablet) or a full screen huge ad unit on the Log out page.
  4. Campaign unit: Marketplace can be run on a CPC or CPM basis, with tons of filter options and no time limitations  – premium bursts are limited to 24 or 72 hours, the exception is the Homepage fixed sustained media which can be bought for a mid-term period, too. The Premium tools have fixed guaranteed AV numbers, which means a fixed price as well.
  5. The price: the Marketplace ads’ self-serve system is a real-time bidding system and the prices are always on the move depending on the season, the target group and the activity of other advertisers in the same category and region – the prices of the Premium ads are fixed based on  Facebook’s ratecard.

So, all in all, the first step is to define your objective. Do it and then contact us at to help you make the most of your presence on Facebook. ;)

P.S. To make it easier for you to understand the essence of Facebook Premium and Facebook Marketplaces, we created this infographic. Hope you find it useful: