Making sense of Facebook’s placement tool

Aroon Dougan
January 8, 2018

One of the more neglected elements when setting up a Facebook Ad Set in Power Editor is the Placement function. When configuring an Ad Set, it is easy to keep checked the Automatic placements setting – after all, this is the easiest option to take. The Edit placements option carries the warning that it “may reduce the number of people you reach and may make it less likely that you’ll meet your goals”.

It is natural that Facebook would want you to use automatic placements – after all, this places your adverts in more places, such as Instagram and other sister platforms. However, while using automatic placements will usually increase your reach, it will also likely drive down your engagement rates and cost per click.

For instance, while Instagram advertising is becoming more common and therefore palatable to Insta platform users, it generally produces far lower engagement rates than Facebook advertising. Instagrammers aren’t used to clicking on images that direct them away from the app – it’s not what Instagram was built for.

The same is true for other placement options. Few people look at the desktop Right Column in Facebook, and even fewer click on the ads there. Messenger, also, is only just starting to host advertising, so users will be unfamiliar with being marketed to through there.

There isn’t enough shared data to conclude which placements work best, and it will vary from organisation to organisation, and creative to creative. Testing out different creatives in different placements is always recommended, but if you’re working with a tight budget and short timescale, the best option is to go for Facebook-only placements, and stick to the simple Feeds option – the most visible and engaging advertising spots out there.