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[Facebook Ads Study]: 250,162 Ads Show the Best Facebook Ad Campaign Strategies

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[Facebook Ads Study]: 250,162 Ads Show the Best Facebook Ad Campaign Strategies

Social media ads are the perfect method to boost brand visibility on Facebook and Instagram, but it’s also a field that has evolved significantly during the past years.

But how effective are these social media ad campaigns? 🤔

Turnes out, very.  Especially if marketers understand how they work. In fact, ad spending is expected to show an annual growth rate of 7.6%, according to Statista.

Facebook advertising doesn’t only resume to a boosted post, and a few dollars spent blindly.

To create effective campaigns, you need to understand how to use different ad creative types to your advantage and when to juggle between Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Audience Network.

Luckily, this study looked at 250,162 social ads from 3,887 ad accounts to arm you with powerful insights and help you gain some tricks up your sleeve.

Let’ increase that CTR!

Facebook Advertising Study


A. Summary

B. Key Insights

1. Conversions are the main campaign objective for 26.94% of ads.

2. The average CPM and CPC are around $5.31, respectively $0.43.

3. CTR has spiked in June 2020 to 3.41%

4. Facebook has the most ads and the highest CTR.

5. Facebook and Instagram ads cost the most

6. Audience Network ads are shown more often to a viewer - 1.75 times on average

7. Share ads and video ads are the most common and have the highest ad spend

8. Status ads have a better click-through rate - 6.65%

C. Methodology

No time? Here's a PDF version of this study so you can read the Facebook video metrics later on 👇

A. Summary

By reading this study, you’ll understand:

  • Which placement is better - 73% of ads are created with specific platform placement. You’ll find out which platform offers higher click-through rates, but also higher costs per click (CPC) or mille (CPM).
  • How to set your objectives - You’ll learn what brands are trying to obtain out of their ads and which are the most popular objectives.
  • How the CPC and CPM work on each channel - You’ll understand how much you need to invest and which channel offers more opportunities.
  • What to do to increase your CTR - You’ll discover how people respond to ads by knowing the average CTRs.
  • How to choose between ad creative types - You’ll see that certain ads bring better results

B. Key Insights


  • Facebook is the platform with the most ads (45.2% of ads), the highest average CPM ($5.82) and the highest CTR - a staggering 3.90% -, while the CTRs on Instagram, Audience Network and Messenger fall under 1%.
  • Instagram ads have the highest average CPC - $0.98.
  • An ad is displayed to a viewer on average 1.75 times through the Audience Network, 1.55 times on Facebook, 1.21 times on Instagram, and 0.98 times on Messenger.
  • Share ads (ads created out of existing posts ) and video ads are the most common - 45.94%, respectively - 25.56%, and also have the highest CPC and CPM.
  • Video and share ads also have the highest ad spend: $157.15 video ad spend and $146.16 share ad spend.
  • On the other hand, status ads seem to be more effective, with a CTR of 6.65%.
  • CTR has spiked in June 2020 from approximately 3% to 3.41%.

1. Conversions are the main campaign objective for 26.94% of Facebook ads

The first step in placing a social ad is to choose your campaign objectives.

There are quite a few options, from metric goals like engagement, reach, or clicks, to broader objectives such as brand awareness or store visits.

The primary scope of most Facebook ads is to obtain conversions (26.94% of ads).

However, 24.19% of ads are aiming for post engagement, and 22.64% are looking for link clicks.

Ad campaign objectives

Brand awareness, event responses, and store visits seem to be less popular objectives, as ads with one of these three aims make up for only 2.03% of the total.

2. The average CPM and CPC on Facebook are around $5.31, respectively $0.43

To better understand how to invest in Facebook advertising, it’s crucial to look at the CPC and CPM values.

In August 2020, the average CPM on all channels available in Ads Manager is around $5.31, while the average CPC is $0.43.

CPM & CPC 2019-2020

After a decline that started around November 2019, both CPM and CPC have been slowly rising since March-April of the current year.

3. CTR has spiked in June 2020 to 3.41%

The click-through rate is crucial in measuring the success of your social ads. Ideally, you’d like viewers to read your ads and then click on it in order to redirect them to a designated page on your website.

The average click-through rate on Facebook and Instagram has spiked to 3.41% in June 2020, but has been declining in the following months, reaching 3.01% in August.

CTR 2019-2020

Throughout the past year, the CTR has been relatively consistent at around 3%, however, the spike is consistent with the COVID-19 lockdown.

In May and June 2020, everything moved online, and social media became a primary source of information, as people were trying to make sense of the world and look for as much information as they could find.

Therefore, there's no coincidence that the social climate influenced the click-through rate as well.

4. Facebook has the most ads and the highest CTR

When it comes to choosing a social media ad placement, most brands prefer to simply place it on Facebook  (45.2% of ads) and Instagram (35.6%), rarely choosing Messenger (10.4% ads) or Audience Network (8.9%).

Ads distribution on platform

Through Ads Manager, once you’ve chosen your campaign objective, you have the option of choosing where to place your ad.

While your objective can influence your placement options, the typical choices are:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Messenger
  • Audience Network

For the newbies out there, Audience Network extends Facebook and Instagram ads across thousands of different high-quality apps, as explained by Facebook.

  • Facebook ads have the highest CTR

Results show that choosing to place ads primarily on Facebook is the best strategy, as the click-through rate is through the roof compared to other channels - a staggering 3.90%, while the CTRs on Instagram, Audience Network, and Messenger fall under 1%.

Ad click-through rates

At a closer look, the median CTR is 2.52%, which translates into the fact that 50% of those Facebook ads obtain a click-through rate of over 2.52%.

5. Facebook and Instagram ads cost the most

While an ad on Facebook has, on average, the relatively low CPC of $0.33, the average CPM (or cost per thousand impressions) is $5.82.

Instagram ads, on the other hand, have the highest average CPC ($0.98), and a CPM of $5.33.

CPC and CPM by platform placement

Here is a breakdown of the average costs of social ads on all channels:

  • Facebook - $5.82 CPM & $0.33 CPC
  • Instagram - $5.33 CPM & $0.98 CPC
  • Audience Network- $4.47 CPM & $0.52 CPC
  • Messenger - $4.15 CPM & $0.52 CPC

Whether you’re interested in the CPC or CPM also depends on your campaign objective. For example, if the purpose of an ad is to get more traffic and clicks, then you would pay per click.

However, if you’re interested in reaching more people and creating brand awareness, then the cost per mille/cost per thousand impressions would apply.

6. Audience Network ads are shown more often to a viewer - 1.75 times on average

When placing your ad on Audience Network, the goal is to extend the reach of your ad and make your message accessible to more people.

And it’s working, as frequency data shows.

An ad is displayed to a viewer, on average, 1.75 times through the Audience Network, 1.55 times on Facebook, 1.21 times on Instagram, and 0.98 times on Messenger.

Ad frequency

7. Share ads and video ads are the most common and have the highest ad spend


The most common types of creative brands want to advertise are shares of their own posts, meaning they create ads out of existing posts, which includes boosted ads as well.

45.94% of ads are shares, followed by videos - 25.56%, and photos - 21.02%.

Common ad creative types


TIP❗️ Make sure your ads are well optimized before you try to publish them. On average, 4% of ads were rejected by Facebook.

  • Average video ad spend is $157.15

Video and share ads also have the highest ad spend: $157.15 video ad spend and $146.16 share ad spend.

Ad spend on creative types

The average ad spend for status ads is $58.27, and $46.85 for photo ads.

For page ads, the ad spend is $32.64.

  • Video and share ads have the highest cost per click and cost per mille

The average CPC for video ads is $0.55, and for share ads $0.49.

Cost of ads by creative types

When it comes to CPM, video ads stand at an average of $5.07, surpassed by share ads, with $6.11 CPM.

8. Status ads have a better click-through rate - 6.65%

On the other hand, status ads seem to be more effective, with a click-through rate of 6.65%, followed by photos with a CTR of 4.66%.

CRTs by ad creative types

The CTRs for share, page, and video ads are similar, ranging between 2.05% and 2.51%.

C. Methodology

The study was created on a data pool of 250,162 Facebook ads, published between January 2019 and August 2020, from a total of 3,887 ad accounts.

The accounts are part of a global geographical distribution: 36.09% of ads from Europe, 32.74% ads in North America, 23.35% ads in Asia, 4.79% of ads in South America, 2.62% of ads in Australia and New Zealand, and 0.41% of ads in Africa.

Ads geographical distribution

To obtain a general understanding of the ad spend, CPC, and CPM, all currencies were exchanged to US dollars.

The ads within the pool were divided by platforms as follows: Facebook - 45.19%, Instagram - 35.55%, Messenger - 10.39%, Audience Network - 8.87%.

Platform placement

A total of 27% of the ads did not target a specific platform placement and were distributed on all available options.

Ad platform targeting

Please note that this study was based on 2019 - 2020 data extracted by Socialinsider from brand ads that exist within the tool's database.

Take this study as a guideline and a starting point for discovering the most engaging posts for your brand. Despite looking into a big pool of posts, some insights might not be applicable for some profiles.

  • Definitions

Socialinsider defines cost per click (CPC) by dividing the total cost of clicks on an ad by the total number of clicks the ad has obtained. The average CPC becomes the sum of all ad CPCs, divided by the total number of ads.

Socialinsider defines the cost per mille (CPM) as the cost per a thousand impressions. As defined by Facebook, CPM measures the total amount spent on an ad campaign, divided by the number of impressions, multiplied by 1,000.

The number of ad impressions represents the number of times an ad was displayed on screens.

Click-through rate (CTR) shows the percentage of people who clicked on an ad, and is calculated by dividing the number of link click on an ad, by the number of impressions.

Ad Frequency represents or the average number of times that a single viewer sees the ad.

Ad spend refers to the estimated total amount of money you've spent on your campaigns or ads during their schedule.

Measure your Facebook ad performance!❤️
Start a free trial and see which ads have the highest CTRs. 🚀

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Teodora Lozan

Teodora Lozan

SaaS Marketer @ Socialinsider

I like to let curiosity lead the way both professionally and personally. In love with stories and facts, so I always try to get the best of both worlds.

[Facebook Ads Study]: 250,162 Ads Show the Best Facebook Ad Campaign Strategies
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