The Ultimate Guide To Facebook Ad Placements: Advantage+ vs. Manual Placements

4 min read

Facebook has a variety of placement options to show your ad on.

From a high level, there’s Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network, and Messenger.

The more detailed version of the above contains many more options to choose from, if you’re going to use manual placements that is.

Meta’s Changes To Placement Selection

Before, the option to select Advantage+ (previously called automatic) or manual placements was clearly visible:

Whereas nowadays, Meta is starting to make it look more like this:

Creating more friction if someone wants to change Advantage+ placements (which is selected by default).

It looks like they want to push more advertisers to use Advantage+, which is in their benefit to do so because they can sell more types of ad inventory that way.

However, is that an option you should choose? That’s what I’ll cover in this article based on my experience.

Feeds Placements

This is the top category of placements listed in your ad set’s settings.

It’s made up of popular placements such as Facebook’s own news feed, Instagram Feed, and Instagram Profile Feed… amongst others.

If I had to guess, I’d say that most people get the majority of their sales from Feeds placements, especially Facebook Feed. Or at least I know that we do.

Stories And Reels Placements

These are placements on Facebook and Instagram’s stories and reels.

They require creative that is in a 9:16 aspect ratio.

If your creative is not in that aspect ratio, you can upload it to Facebook and use its AI tools to crop it in a way that looks good when shown in a 9:16 aspect ratio.

Otherwise, you’re just burning your budget if you advertise on these placements without the right creatives.

That’s where a lot of advertisers go wrong.

Other Placements

These are placements like in-stream, search results, messages, apps and sites.

They may work very well depending on your business, but for most brands they’ll likely be the lowest-spending (and least important) placements.

Should You Use Advantage+ Or Manual Placements?

I recommend starting with Advantage+ placements first.

Give it enough time and spend before reviewing the results.

I’ve personally seen that it tends to take 2-3 days (give or take, depending on your spend level) to learn where it’s best to show your ads.

That’s why you can’t judge results immediately, especially if you don’t have a lot of historical data in your ad account.

If you can, give it a full week to run before reviewing results. That way you have much more reliable data to look at.

Chances are, Facebook will likely show your ads where it can get the best results overall.

However, in some campaigns I’ve also seen Facebook spend correctly for some time, but then eventually redirecting spend to other placements where it did not get good results anymore. Not sure why, but that can happen.

If that happens in any of your campaigns, that’s when I’d recommend taking control and changing to manual placements.

When using manual placements, I like to only select all placements that fit a 4:5 creative aspect ratio.

You can select others like stories and reels too, but I don’t do that since we haven’t seen it perform too well in our account.

If you have evidence to know that stories and reels placements get good results for your campaigns, then you can select those too.

Just don’t forget to change creatives for those placements to ones with a 9:16 aspect ratio. Do this by customising those placements inside of your existing ad – no need to add a separate ad to the ad set.

The principle behind using manual placements is to only select placements which you know you usually get your best results from.

If you decide to use manual placements and choose less than six placements, you’ll likely see this warning appear:

Pretty self-explanatory. However, is it true?

Considering Meta’s objective is to get you to spend more with them, they can’t sell all their ad inventory if everyone only selects just a few placements.

They have a wide variety of placements available. They need to sell ads on all of them.

I’ve been able to get good results even when selecting fewer than six placements (Instagram stories and reels only).

So, it’s not that you cannot get any results that way.

Although any results that you do get may be short-lived.

The best way to know for sure is to always test for yourself, as your case may be different from mine.

The Most Important Factor When Selecting Multiple Placements

I’d like to stress the importance of a point I’ve already made…

Which is to make sure you use the right creatives for each placement.

Especially if you use Advantage+ placements.

These are the main aspect ratios you need:

  • 4:5 (standard Facebook posts)
  • 9:16 (Stories and reels)
  • 1:1 (Square format, mostly for Instagram)

When you upload an ad to your ad set, if you’ve selected multiple placements with different aspect ratios, make sure to maximise efficiency of spend by customising each placement and selecting a creative that is in a suitable aspect ratio for that specific placement.

Otherwise, users will have a bad experience with your ad when shown on certain placements.

Which will lead to bad results and wasted budget.

Hope this has been helpful! Feel free to share what placement option you usually go for in the comments below.