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Facebook is a crucial touchpoint for brands and retailers trying to reach their target audience. But how do you connect with users in a way that drives sales on a large scale? Facebook Dynamic ads allow ecommerce marketers of all kinds to turn their entire product catalog into perfectly targeted adseasily. Here’s how to get started.

Why brands & retailers love Dynamic Ads

Facebook ad example

How Facebook Dynamic ads appear

Why all the fuss over social media and Facebook marketing? Facebook has repeatedly proven to be a marketing powerhouse with great reach, easy targeting tools, and good results. The social network has 1.4 billion daily usersthat’s more than 4 times the population of the United States. On top of reach, Facebook advertising is also relatively simple and easily customizable. This is particularly true of the Dynamic ad, which was created to make the work of product advertisers around the globe infinitely simpler.

With traditional static ads that must be individually crafted, it would take a huge amount of time to develop copy and images for hundreds of products. Moreover, those ads would likely be full of errors, not optimized for the target audience, and almost impossible to quickly deliver to users.

That’s why Facebook offers Dynamic ads. These are able to pull data from a product data feed (where all the product information and specs live) and automatically create ads as needed, based on the audience and their actions. This means absolutely minimal work is required by the advertiser.

So how can marketers in ecommerce get started with Facebook Dynamic Ads? How can you boost your ad impact and performance? We’ve outlined everything you need to know so you won’t miss a beat (or opportunity). From data to images to ROI, this is your official intro to Facebook Dynamic Adsalso lovingly known as Facebook Dynamic Product Ads or DPA.

There’s a lot to cover, so save / bookmark / ritualistically print and bind this guide as needed! Or, you can jump ahead to your favorite section using this handy list:

What are Facebook Dynamic ads?

How to use Facebook Dynamic ads

Travel, Automotive, Real Estate

Getting started: the product catalog

Industry-specific feed requirements

Enable tracking

Set up your campaigns in Facebook Ads Manager

Select visuals

Place ads

Choose audience

Define budget, bid strategy, and delivery

Further reading on Facebook Dynamic Ads

Facebook Dynamic ads: the complete introduction

What are Facebook Dynamic ads?

Facebook Dynamic ads use a dynamic template, drawing data from your entire product catalog to automatically generate ads in whichever format you choose. This automates several pieces of the social marketing puzzle. These ads can be pushed to the Facebook News Feed, Messenger, across the vast Audience Network, or even to Instagram. For businesses working in unique sectors, there are also dedicated Dynamic ad formats for travel, real estate, and automotive.

To get started, you’ll need to upload a clean, complete, and channel-optimized product feed to upload to Facebook.

How should brands and retailers advertise on Facebook?

When setting up a Facebook ad, there are several options to choose from. Advertisers can select where they want the ad to appear as well as how, not to mention a host of targeting options. However, not every ad option will be useful for every advertiser.

For retailers or businesses listing a large number of “product” type options like travel, jobs, or cars, there are very specific ads you’ll want to use: Conversion ads. “Conversions” is one of the three objective options on Facebook, along with awareness and consideration. This option will allow you to use Facebook Dynamic ads (yay!). These are the ads that will automatically advertise every product from your catalog without you having to create a separate ad for each item.

Dynamic ads leverage a dynamic template that draws information from your product catalog data (you may also know this as “inventory data” or your “product data feed”). Then, Facebook will automatically show each ad to exactly the right person using an advanced algorithm that selects which images and information to pull from your product catalog. This makes the campaign stage infinitely simplified.

To use Facebook Dynamic ads, you’ll always select “Conversion” and “Product Catalog Sales” as your ad objectives.

Where do ads appear on Facebook?

Advertisers have a huge number of options when it comes to placements across Facebook. Most popularly, they appear in the News Feed, placing the ad directly into the user’s feed. On top of the traditional feed, Facebook Dynamic ads can also appear to the right column of the feed on desktop or within Instant Articles, as short videos in in-stream videos, or in marketplace.

There are also Instagram ads that can appear in Instagram feeds or stories, ads within Facebook Messenger, and also across the Audience Network. This means, no matter how you want to reach your audience, there are a number of options to choose from and test.

Facebook Ad on a Macbook

Facebook Dynamic ad example (travel)

Dynamic ads for travel, automotive, real estate

For Dynamic ads, it all started in retail. Physical products like shirts and books were easily listed on Facebook. But, the dynamic format proved so useful that hotels and other meta-search providers also took an interest. There was a new need to dynamically list hotel rooms, flight tickets, and more.

This is because travel ads are never just about one aspect of a trip. It isn’t selling just Paris or a weekend getaway. A compelling travel ad needs prices, locations, hotels, flights, and so many details. That’s why Facebook introduced Dynamic ads for Travel.

Dynamic ads for Travel show multiple offers and details in one ad. This is crucial for advertisers trying to show the exact offer that makes a user click. Now advertisers can say much more than just “Paris!” They can say “Trip to Paris for $700, next weekend!” They can also use dynamic pricing and availability in order to make offers unique and actionable. Looking to list Dynamic ads for travel? Check out the extensive guide for details.

Dynamic ads for Real Estate show off home listings. These help advertisers target audiences who have searched similar listings. It also includes fields specifically for those data points that are unique to real estate like neighborhood or number of bedrooms. In order to list, you’ll need a minimum of 100 property listings in the catalog.

Dynamic ads for Automotive leverage special tools to pair users with the right vehicle listing. These not only leverage unique industry data points like VIN and model numbers but also user intent signals to send the right listing to the right user.

If you use Facebook Dynamic ads for any of these industries, it’s highly recommended that you switch to an industry-specific ad. These will require a bit extra product data, but they will also lead to better dynamic ads and more accurate targeting.

Facebook Dynamic ads feed specifications

Getting started: the product catalog

What is a Facebook product catalog?

Facebook does most of the heavy lifting to help advertisers promote their products. However, in order to generate ads, they’ll need your product catalog. You may know this file as a “product feed” or even “inventory data.” Regardless of the label, you must submit a product catalog with all the details of your numerous, no doubt amazing, offerings. This is often saved as a .csv or .tsv file.

The product catalog is a central component of Dynamic Ads as it contains the content your created ads will be based on. However, your catalog must follow Facebook’s feed specifications or your ads may not be shown at all. Plus, for your ads to perform well, it should contain only error-free, complete, and attractive content.

Chances are, any existing ecommerce businesses already have a product catalog. This feed may be used for Google, Trivago,–really, anywhere. However, this raw product data will need a handful of specific edits made in order to make it Facebook-ready. (More on those details soon).

You may edit your feed using Excel, if you’re a small retailer. You’re likely going to use a software like Productsup if you’re a larger platform.

Good to know:
The attributes required for Facebook are very similar to the Google Merchant Center feed. If you’re already selling on Google Shopping, you can use a lot of the same data for your Facebook Dynamic Ads feed.

Prepare and create your product catalog

The strength of a Dynamic ad relies heavily on the strength of the product data used. This is because the ads are generated dynamically. They should require no human intervention. The right data is simply slotted into the right place and shown to the best possible audience. If the ads are not delivering returns, it could be a problem with the audience or the quality of the data.

Managing your data feed for Facebook Dynamic Ads involves the following steps:

  1. Compile your data from the relevant sources, e.g. your shop system, Shopify, BigCommerce
  2. Adapt your data for Facebook’s feed requirements
  3. Enhance and complete your data for best campaign success
  4. Upload data to Facebook, and do this continuously to keep it up-to-date

Feed requirements

Every Dynamic ad published on Facebook will leverage at least 9 fundamental and required fields.

  • id
  • title
  • description
  • image_link
  • link
  • price
  • gtin, mpn or brand
  • availability
  • condition

*If you’re selling products related to hotels, travel, real estate, or automobiles, there will be a number of extra fields.

These fields must be accurately filled in and in the correct format. A missing or slightly misformatted field makes a product a no-go, and it won’t be shown to anyone.

Be sure to check your feed for the most common data feed errors including overlong titles, incorrect price formats, overuse of capital letters and mismatched data. Read more about common data feed errors here. They’re easy to miss when you have hundreds or thousands of products.

If you’re not going to list ads specifically in travel, automotive, or real estate, please skip the next section by clicking here!

Industry-specific feed requirements

Feed requirements for Dynamic Ads for Travel

In the travel format, there are three different types of product catalogs. You can upload a single feed or multiple smaller feeds for each of these categories.

Hotel catalog: This feed includes multiple feeds of both static and dynamic information. The static feed is mandatory and includes basic information like inventory (in this case, the hotels themselves). The dynamic feed includes a Room Type feed and Price feed. The price feed is useful in that it dynamically lists prices for different scenarios like duration of stay or time of year.

Required fields of the hotel catalog are:

  • hotel_id
  • name
  • image (url)
  • url
  • address (street, city, region, postal code, country)
  • neighborhood
  • latitude
  • longitude
  • brand
  • base-price
  • description (of the hotel)

Required fields of the room and pricing catalogs are:

  • hotel_id
  • room_id
  • name (of the room type)
  • base_price
  • currency
  • checkin_date
  • length_of_stay
  • price
  • tax
  • fees

Flight catalog: This includes any and all individual flights displayed on your website or app. Don’t forget important information like departure and arrival airports indicated by IATA code.

Required fields of the flight feed are:

  • origin_airport
  • destination_airport
  • image
  • price

Destination Catalog: This is an inventory of destinations where you accommodate travel.

Required fields of the destination feed are:

  • destination_id
  • name
  • address (city, region, country)
  • image
  • type
  • url

Feed requirements for Dynamic Ads for Real Estate

In the real estate format, there’s only one additional feed required for listing.

Home Listing Catalog: an inventory of all your real estate properties for listing. Required attributes include:

  • home_listing_id
  • name
  • description
  • image
  • num_beds
  • num_baths
  • property_type
  • listing_type
  • num_units
  • address
  • neighborhood
  • latitude
  • longitude
  • price
  • availability
  • url
  • applink
  • image object parameters:
    • url
    • tag
  • Address object parameters
    • addr1
    • city
    • region
    • country
    • postal_code

Feed requirements for Dynamic Ads for Automotive

In the automotive format, there is one extra data feed that must be uploaded before you can list using Dynamic ads for Automotive. This automotive data can either be submitted as one single feed or divided into multiple, each submission representing a specific dealer or region.

Required attributes include:

  • vehicle_id
  • vin
  • make
  • model
  • year
  • body_style
  • description
  • exterior_color
  • image[0].tag[0] (tag for first vehicle image)
  • image[0].url (URL of vehicle image)
  • mileage.value (zero (0) for new vehicles)
  • milage.unit (MI or KM)
  • url
  • title
  • price
  • state_of_vehicle (new, used, CPO)
  • Dealer specific details:
    • address
    • addr1
    • city
    • region
    • country
    • longitude
    • latitude

Optional feed information includes:

  • transmission
  • drivetrain
  • fuel_type
  • trim
  • tag (image tag)
  • interior_color
  • condition
  • sale_price
  • availability
  • dealer_id
  • dealer_name
  • dealer_phone
  • postal_code

Next, it’s time to get tracking!

Enable tracking

In order to deliver the right ads, you’ll need information on how your audience has behaved. If you haven’t already done so, the first step is to implement the Facebook tracking pixel on your website or app. The Facebook pixel is a crucial analytics tools. It helps advertisers understand the actions users take, what’s working, and what’s not.

Be sure to add at least these three events to your website or app:

  • View Content
  • Add To Cart
  • Purchase

Of course, there are many more you can add:

Facebook tracking pixel actions
Even if you don’t start running campaigns immediately, the earlier you implement tracking, the more data you’ll be able to use for targeting later. Implement this ASAP!
Get set up in Facebook ads manager
Then, it’s time to start the campaign.

Set up your campaigns in Facebook Ads Manager

Last but not least, you need to create a campaign on Facebook. Once you have selected “Product Catalog Sales” as a campaign objective, Facebook will take you through the Dynamic ads workflow. This offers a broad variety of configuration settings such as target audiences, placements, budget and ad messages. Now lets create dynamic ads!

Create a campaign: the step-by-step breakdown

Locate the Power Editor tool and select the “Create Campaign” option. Choose “Product Catalog Sales” as a campaign objective. Upload one of your product catalogs and enter a campaign name.

Facebook product catalog sales

Create a new Ad Set

Now that you have the general campaign ready, it’s time to get into specific ad sets. These allow you to group multiple ads with different creative factors such as color pallet, copy, and imagery for different target groups. This will also allow you test your ads. For example, try targeting one audience set with different creatives and see which work best. For now, start by giving your Ad Set a name.

Choose a Product Set

Product Sets allow you to filter the products you want to show to a particular audience based on their interests. To create a Product Set, go to the Ad Set level and click the ‘+’ symbol to create a new ad. Then apply a filter to select the set of products that you want to advertise e.g. Category: Shoes. You can filter by Availability, Brand, Category, Product Type, and Price. You can also apply multiple filters to get more specific.

Select visual format

There are three key image formats for your ads: Single image, Carousels, and Collections.

Single-image ads feature just one image while Carousels use three to five scrolling images. Collection ads, on the other hand, open to show a collection of different products. This is a full-screen mobile experience made for driving product discovery. Each of these formats offer different value, so choose the format that best suits your purpose. Do you need just one strong image or will your target audience most likely want multiple angles and options?

Facebook has found that many retailers have better results with Carousel images with 30-50% lower cost-per-conversion and 20-30% lower cost-per-click than their single-image counterpart. Keep this in mind when choosing and testing. Regardless of which format you choose, you’ll have to follow Facebook’s image guidelines.

single image facebook ad

Single image (Source: Facebook)



  • Text: 125 characters
  • Headline: 25 characters
  • Link description: 30 characters
  • Image ratio: 1.91:1
  • Image size: 1200 pixels x 627 pixels

Multi-image ads (Source: Facebook)


  • Text: 125 characters
  • Headline: 40 characters
  • Link description: 20 characters
  • Image ratio: 1:1
  • Recommended image size: 600 x 600 pixels
  • Your image may not include more than 20% text.

Collection ads (Source: Facebook)


  • Text: 90 characters
  • Headline: 25 characters
  • Additional design options

Image quality matters
What makes a user excited to click on an ad? One of the biggest factors is the image. High-quality images shouldn’t be considered just a basic requirement but also an opportunity to get creative and test what works. Particularly on Facebook, users will need to be spoken to more personally. Ad images need to evoke emotions and tell a story. They need to show the user exactly what the product can do.

The right image will help drive sales, increase CTR, lower the chance of exchanges, and simply boost the overall customer experience and ROI.

Images should show the product in the best light possible and also from different angles. On top of that, try adding additional information like prices or key terms if possible. Tools like the Productsup Image Designer make this easy by letting you drag-and-drop and automatically generate ads for every product in your catalog.

Images used on Facebook should always:

  • Be high-resolution.
  • Elicit a personal, emotional response.
  • Include a variety of angles, dimensions, and perspectives.
  • Include the right product data.
  • Take advantage of special occasions or holidays.

*Learn more about creating your perfect product images here. This is especially crucial for reaching Facebook and Instagram users.

Facebook ad placements

Place ads

Next, you can determine where your ad will be shown. For example, Facebook Marketplace, Instagram Feeds, or the Audience Network. Facebook is set by default to automatically identify where your ads will perform best, but you can make manual adjustments by ticking and unticking any placements.

We recommend first examining the options to see whether there are any clear winners or losers for your ad placements. Different audiences will frequent each of these places, and your products will likely perform better in one than the other.

Anything gorgeous, trendy, or FOMO-inducing will do well on Instagram. Conversely, users on Facebook Marketplace are looking to buy something local–for example, cars from a nearby dealership. The Audience Network is great for all kinds of greater product marketing, as it appeals to users at all stages of the funnel. Figure out where your best audience would be most open to clicking and purchasing.

Facebook advertising targeting

Choose audience

You have the ad, so where are you going to send it? No matter how great your copy and images are, good targeting is absolutely critical to driving returns. That means your team should have a clear business plan for these ads before logging on. Take a look at the different stages of your conversion funnel to identify weak points and wasted potential.

Make sure you know who your buyer personas are. Find out more about their demographics, interests, and behaviors by searching for insights in your analytics data or in Facebook’s audience insight tool. This is the first decision to make when starting to define the audience for your Ad Set.

From here, there are five key audience targeting options:

  • Product-based retargeting
  • Core Audiences
  • Custom Audiences (Target based on past interactions)
  • Broad Audience (Target new audiences that have never interacted with your sites before)
  • Lookalikes

When using product-based retargeting, you can set specific rules to dictate which on-site behavior you would like to target. For example:

  • Viewed but not purchased
  • Added to basket but not purchased
  • Up-sell products
  • Cross-sell products
  • Custom combination

Both product-based remarketing and Broad Audience allow you to include classic Facebook targeting rules:

  • Core Audience is about defining segments most likely to love your products using location, demographics, interests, behavior and connections. When using Broad Audience, you will use Core Audiences based on users who have never interacted with you before.
  • Custom Audiences allow you to target people based on a choice of past interactions, whether it’s with your website, Facebook page, or even offline store. You can also import a .csv list of your customers.

Facebook Lookalike Audiences is a handy tool used to target new customers based on their similarity to your existing customers. This is done by understanding key aspects of your most valuable customers. Then, this information is used to locate similar audiences. These are groups of people who may be perfect for your product but simply don’t fit into your other targeting parameters.

Define budget, bid strategy, and delivery

Your product sets, audiences, and placements are selected. Now, you need to define how much you plan to spend on ads. The final ad spend amount will be linked to your bid strategy, ad scheduling, and delivery.

You can decide to set a daily budget or a lifetime budget that runs over a defined period of time. Budgets can be set at the ad set level or campaign level.

In case of a time-sensitive offering, you can also push ads at an “accelerated” pace, so they’re delivered to the user faster. In general, this won’t be necessary.

Next, you need to choose the desired result of your ad: clicks, impressions or conversion events. This way, Facebook can send ads to the audience most likely to give the desired result. You must also select the window of time to be measured.

You can then set your bid strategy. When optimizing for a conversion event, you can choose between the “Lowest cost” or “Target cost.”

Lowest cost, or “automatic bidding,” is about getting the lowest possible cost per while spending your entire budget. This is a quick and easy choice, but may not work great in the long term, as the environment or spending changes and your ads stay the same. Lowest cost, on the other, allows you to define a maximum cost. If you know that conversion isn’t worth more than $3, you can ensure that Facebook won’t be driving conversions that cost $5 a pop.

Now, you should have your data feed ready and understand all your options on Facebook. The next step is simply to start exporting. For more info, help, and tips, check out our suggested reading on the topic below.

Further reading on Facebook Dynamic Ads

Get an in-depth understanding, practical steps and expert tips about Facebook Dynamic Ads in our free guides


Your Complete Campaign Guide to Facebook Dynamic Ads

Get the Guide

Your Complete Guide to Facebook Dynamic Ads for Travel

Get the Guide

The Ultimate Facebook Advertising Guide for E-Commerce

Get the Guide

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