Sometimes, the hardest part of heading a startup is having to play catch-up—all the crash courses on essentials like accounting and budgeting and operations and more. Marketing is no different, though the problem that often arises, especially with Facebook ads, is that as soon as you get down the basics, you realize that you’ve still got a lot to learn in making your ads stand out. Luckily, within Facebook’s Business Manager interface, your ad template options range from simple and straightforward to stunning allure.


In Part II of Facebook Marketing Tips for Startups, we talked about Image Ads, Video Ads, and Carousel Ads. Now we’re going to discuss how those standard formats can be used more creatively via Slideshow Ads and Collection/Carousel Ads.


Slideshow Ads


Don’t have enough time or resources to create even a mediocre video about your product? Put that effort into photographs, then use the Slideshow Ad to create your own video of stylized still frames.


First, of course, get some quality photos (don’t worry, it’s not THAT hard to get good shots with your mobile phone). Then, via free photo editing apps like PhotoFox, you can truly create a poignant slides in a matter of minutes. Some tips for elevating an image to the necessary polish for a Slideshow Ad:


  • Ask yourself what’s making the viewer want to see the next slide—what story are the images telling?
  • Consider how adding minimal text to each slide can propel the slideshow’s story—examples of this include the addition of a single word to each slide to provide context, or even breaking up a sentence or two over the course of the entire slideshow
  • You’ve got a maximum of ten slides to get your point across—don’t try to sum up your entire business vision in one slideshows; instead, try to really express one of the most compelling aspects of your product


In terms of the nuts and bolts of creating a Slideshow ad, you must:


  1. Upload 3-10 images.
  2. Choose your slideshow’s aspect ratio—the inherent ratio of the images themselves, square (1:1), rectangle (16:9), or vertical (2:3).
  3. Choose the image duration for each slide—0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 seconds.
  4. Select either no transition or fade.
  5. Add music (optional)—there’s a handful of stock music to choose from, or you can upload your own.


Collection/Canvas Ads


Here’s your chance to give ad viewers a deep dive into your brand universe. Canvas is the full-screen experience that for mobile devices that allows you to get your message to the viewer without them ever having to leave the FB platform. But first and foremost, you have to choose your Canvas template.


The quickest and easiest way is to choose from one of three preset Canvas templates offered by FB, each of which allows you to customize. It’s important, though, to understand the difference between Collection and Canvas ads. In its current form, Collection ads exist inside the broader category of Canvas ads, as the Collection ad format is what would show up in someone’s newsfeed, while the Canvas ad is the full-screen experience that’s accessed by a user clicking on your Collection ad. The Canvas objective linked with Collection Ads is:


  • Sell products – share product images and info with the viewer via two different styles:
    • Grid layout (traditional catalog look)
    • Lifestyle layout (photos that showcase your products in their best contexts)


As this format is much more product-driven, the products you choose to feature

in your Collection ad format (news-feed style ad) will determine whether or not the user will click-through to the full-screen Canvas experience, so choose wisely.


The two other objectives are:



  • Get new customers – essentially a landing page inside of the FB platform, this template lets you give every viewer the skinny on your product and the vision behind your company.



Though you can use image carousels here, the idea isn’t to throw a catalog look at your user. Your main aim here is to drive traffic to your website, so these ads should give the user equal parts brand teaser and product teaser.



  • Showcase your business – lets you get as artsy as you like; pretty much the lifestyle layout approach on steroids, except it’s not just the products your showcasing, but the expanse of your brand universe.



Reverse engineer your salesiness here. You’re not pitching your product. You’re pitching the experience your product creates, as well as the company that created that product.


Regardless of the Canvas objective/template you use, remember that the user’s first click within the newsfeed ad opens the Canvas ad. From there, however you’ve constructed your Canvas ad will determine where the next click will take them—your website, an app, etc.


Your Brand Is Guaranteed To Evolve


Having experienced the growth of so many startups in our incubator here at tekMountain, we’ve seen how the initial marketing process truly helps a company to hone exactly what it is their brand represents and how that informs their product. More often than not, you’re going to think you’ve finally “figure it out”, only to be shocked by yet another breakthrough in brand identity.


Contact tekMountain today to learn what aspects of your startup are ready to evolve.


This blog was produced by the tekMountain Team of Sean AhlumAmanda SipesElyssa MillerKelly Brown and Bill DiNome with lead writer  Zach Cioffi.

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