In Meta Ads Manager, the ad level is where you put together the various elements of the ad itself. While creating an ad, you’ll be able to see a preview of how it will look. You can see the different ways it might look depending on where it’s placed (such as on Facebook’s desktop feed or Instagram’s Stories). You can also use other preview options, such as sending a preview to be seen through the Facebook app on your phone.

Meta’s ad builder has become much more flexible and sophisticated in recent times. It now lets you adjust the ad separately for every possible placement where it can appear. For example, you could change the picture and text specifically for ads in the Instagram feed, Facebook Marketplace, and every other possible placement.

You will also see options for adding multiple versions of elements. For example, you could add another version of the primary text that appears with the ad. If you do, Meta will alternate versions for a while to determine which has a higher success rate.

Basic ad elements

Here are some of the elements that appear in most types of ads.

Ad name – You can give your ad the custom name of your choice.

Identity – Your ad must be associated with a Facebook Page, which get selected in the Identity section. It can also (optionally) be associated with an Instagram account.

Format — Choose between Single image or video, Carousel, or Collection.

Media – Select the media items that correspond to the ad format you chose (image, video, etc.).

Primary Text – Add text to communicate your message. While it’s permissible to add more, it’s recommended to limit primary text to 125 characters including spaces.

Headline – Add text as a headline; up to 40 characters including spaces.

Destination – URL of website landing page or Facebook Page

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Possible options

Depending on the campaign objective that was chosen, some of these other options might be available.

Add Instagram account – As mentioned above, under Identity you have the option to associate an Instagram account with the ad.

Create ad – Choose from three options in a dropdown menu – Create ad, Use existing post, or Use Creative Hub mockup.

Dynamic formats and creative – This option can be toggled on if desired. It allows Meta flexibility to adjust elements of the ad for each individual person who sees it so that there’s a higher likelihood of good results.

Dynamic experiences – This is a box that can be checked. It permits Meta to adjust elements of the ad as it attempts to achieve better results.

Fullscreen mobile experience – This is a box that can be checked. It allows the creation of a fast-loading, full-screen experience for when an ad gets clicked on. These mobile experiences can be customized with images, buttons, videos, and text.

Create video – This button takes you to a window where you can create a video to be used in your ad, such as a slideshow video from photos you’ve uploaded.

Description – This is where you can add some text that appears below the headline.

Optimize text per person – This is an option that sometimes appears. If toggled on, it allows Meta to switch out different text elements to find the most successful configuration.

Build a URL parameter – This allows you to append your URL with UTM parameters for tracking purposes. Using this feature, you can see engagement and conversion data in Google Analytics for traffic coming from specific ads.

Display link – This allows you to alter the appearance of the URL in your ad. It doesn’t allow you to change it entirely, but it will enable you to show the root domain only, instead of the root and a path.

Call extension – This option adds a call extension to your ad that can be clicked by a viewer to initiate a phone call to your business.

Call to action (button) – This option adds a button to your ad. You can choose from various options (depending on the ad objective you chose), such as Learn More, Shop Now, Order Now, and Get Access.


On the right side of the ad creation panel, you’ll be able to see a preview of your ad as you build it. If you see a toggle for preview, make sure that it’s toggled on. Here you’ll be able to see previews for the various placements that you’ve chosen for your ad to appear. Each placement will show your ad differently. For example, your ad will look different in the Facebook feed than it will in the Instagram feed — even though you use the same elements to build the ad. To see the differences, click on the different placement options in the preview area.

Important note: As you click to view different placement previews, you have the option to make changes to the ad that only affect that placement.

If you see an Advanced Preview button, you can click that to open a more expanded interface for previewing your ads for the various placements you might be targeting.

There are other helpful features in the preview area. If you click the Share dropdown button, you should see the following options:

Share a link — This allows you to send a link to another person so they can see previews of the ad you created.

Send notification to Facebook — This will send a notification to your Facebook profile that allows you to see a preview of the ad.

Facebook Post with Comments — Click here to open a window that shows the ad along with any comments people have made on it on Facebook.

Instagram Post with Comments — Click here to open a window that shows the ad along with any comments people have made on it on Instagram.

Facebook desktop feed — This will insert the ad into your personal Facebook news feed on your desktop computer.

Facebook mobile feed — This will insert the ad into your personal Facebook news feed on your mobile device.

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Tips when creating ads

  1. Notice at the top of the ad creation panel that you can toggle between “edit” and “review.” I find this useful because the review side is an easy-to-read listing of the settings that you’ve chosen. This can help you find a mistake that needs to be corrected.
  2. Next to the field where you can give your ad a custom name (at the top), there is a link to create a template. Creating a naming template for ads, ad sets, and campaigns can save time and help you stay organized by automating certain information to be included in the names. For example, you can choose the headline of the ad or the date on which the ad was last updated to be added automatically to the ad name.
  3. If you’ve chosen Instagram as a placement, you’ll see a place in the ad creation panel to add an Instagram account. If you add an Instagram account, the account handle/name will appear in the ad. If you don’t add an Instagram account, the ad can still appear on Instagram, but it won’t include an account handle/name.
  4. Keep in mind that instead of creating an ad, you can choose an existing page post to be your ad creative. See the dropdown choices under where it says Ad Setup.
  5. You can also choose to use an ad that was already created as a mockup in Creative Hub, which is a separate tool for creating ads and working with team members on ad creation. (Click on the hamburger link in the top-left of Ads Manager and look for the link to Creative Hub.) To use an ad from Creative Hub, the ad must be toggled in Creative Hub to be available in Ads Manager. Then the ad can be selected from the dropdown menu under Ad Setup.

In closing

There’s a big learning curve for becoming proficient with Meta Ads Manager. I hope this article helped you better understand the ad creation panel and its various options.