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Page post photo ads vs. page post link ads: A showdown

Wes Flippo
Wes Flippo
4 min read
3 October 2013

I think it’s been hammered into every Facebook advertiser’s mind at this point, but unpublished page posts are the way to go when you want to drive high engagement and offsite conversions. Where do you want to be? The News Feed! How are you going to get there? Unpublished page posts!

The debate, now, is which type of post is best? Specifically between unpublished link posts and unpublished photo posts.

I’m not going to sugarcoat this; I am torn between which to use, both from a performance standpoint and also a strategic standpoint. All signs, from Facebook, point to using these link posts more for eCommerce or direct response clients for two reasons:

1) They are more conducive to acquiring offsite conversions since they don’t allow the full range of social actions to be taken on them. Your post and ad text are the link, so you don’t need a bitly link in the ad text like a photo post. And, if the user clicks on the ad, they go to that offsite address you want to send them to. Users tend to click on, and engage with, all components of an ad, so if you pare those down you’re in a better position for quality engagement.

2) Facebook recently announced that link posts are getting bigger, literally. Starting September 10th, the photo size is going to be more on par with photo posts, so they will take up more real estate, especially on mobile. Link posts also allow for a lot of variability; you have an image, post title (ad text, above image), link (that is customizable), and description (below image), while photo posts only have an image and the post text.

While I believe, and agree, that link posts make more sense from a conversion-driving perspective, I’ve seen both link and photo posts work to gain conversions. Both units typically see a click-through rate of over 1%, which is great. In a recent test, I saw 2.86% CTR from my link posts and 2.28% from my photo posts. The link posts were also 57% cheaper than the photo posts in this case, while the cost per conversion was also much lower for the link posts, almost 50% lower.

On the other hand, in a long-running, lower variable campaign, my link posts cost 2X more, while getting 50.15% less CTR. The conversion rate was slightly higher for link posts, but the cost per conversion was 193% higher.

There you have my dilemma. The performance varied a great deal by the client, as evidenced by my examples above. In fact, performance was essentially the opposite from one to the other. However, hope is not lost. As I continue to test out one ad type versus the other for impact on all metrics, I hope to declare a true ad type winner. These ad tests will be especially important when the image size for link posts changes on September 10th, so there won’t be any slowing down! I have a feeling my next blog post will have even more insight into the link versus photo post dispute.

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Wes Flippo