Facebook and Instagram’s newsfeeds are some of the most popular ad placements on the web. They’re so popular, in fact, that Facebook is actually reaching its maximum ad load — meaning there’s too much demand and not enough users to serve all the ads to.

As a result, newsfeed CPMs are through the roof. Across all our clients last quarter, Facebook feed placements averaged a $10.96 CPM — nearly four times the cost of a Facebook stories placement. And as Facebook’s user base growth continues to slow, those costs are only going to increase — and advertisers will need to look beyond the feed in order to keep up (and save on costs).


As Sarah Sanchez, Manager, Performance Social at Tinuiti, explains:

“If you limit yourself to only thinking about the feed, it will become more expensive over time. It’s already extremely expensive now and we only expect that to go up.”

Leveraging Non-Newsfeed Placements

There are three placements in particular that Sanchez recommends: Stories, Marketplace, and Messenger. Stories have the most affordable CPM, at just $2.90 on average. Marketplace placements average a $3.85 CPM, while Messenger’s average is slightly higher at $4.09.

Let’s take a look at each of these placements, as well as some best practices to increase your ROI:


According to Sanchez, stories are “very underutilized,” with just 29% of advertisers currently using them. It’s an untapped market with a lot of potential — particularly on Instagram, where more than two-thirds of users are actively looking to discover new products.

To get the best results from your stories placements, Sanchez says to:

  • Include sound – A whopping 60% of users view stories with sound – a surprise, given the low rate of sound usage on feed videos and other placements.
  • Be authentic – Avoid being too overly promotional. Remember that your story will be sandwiched between very personal and relatable content for the user.
  • Consider something fun or playful – More than half of users want playful content. Use stickers, emojis, and other native content to make your stories interactive and fun.
  • Act fast – You have just a second or two to capture their attention, so make that first frame count. Keep the entire story to under 10 seconds maximum.
  • Brand it – Don’t forget to brand the story. Show off your company’s personality and let users know what they get when doing business with your brand.
  • Mix up your formats – Use a good mix of images, videos and Boomerangs to keep things exciting.
  • Utilize them for limited-time offers – Stories feel more urgent, making them great for flash sales, insider sneak peeks and other limited-time deals. You should also use both Facebook and Instagram stories. Though Facebook stories come with lower levels of reach and engagement, advertising on both requires no extra creative or targeting (plus the CPM is extremely low).


Facebook Messenger

Messenger placements are a bit more expensive than stories, but as Sanchez says, “You can get right in their inbox. It’s like email on steroids.”



Though reach is limited in these placements, ads on Facebook Messenger come with extremely high open rates and equally high ROIs. To leverage them best, Sanchez recommends you:

  1. Use landscape formatting – Make sure the image will display properly in Messenger’s landscape view. If you’re bundling your placement with others (particularly Instagram ones), this may require customizing your creative for each placement you select.
  2. Avoid using text on your image – Messenger images are too small for text. Any message you include will be lost or muddled.
  3. Be clear about your offer – Tell the customer right off the bat what they’re getting and what action you want them to take.
  4. Set up your automated responses – These are crucial to ensuring users get prompt responses, as well as easing the hand-off from Messenger to live person. Because they’re sent directly to a user, Messenger ads feel more private and exclusive. Like Stories, they’re also great for flash sales and insider deals.



Marketplace ads are 65% cheaper than those on the newsfeed, and they are really good at locking down conversions.



Unlike other placements, these ads allow you to reach a user when they’re already actively shopping and looking to buy. To get the most from your Marketplace ads, Sanchez recommends local targeting. Most people head to Marketplace to find nearby items and goods. Targeting users in your specific community can help increase impressions and overall conversions.

She also highly recommends Marketplace ads for local businesses, as well as those in the home goods, furniture and electronics industries. These are all categories highly frequented by Marketplace users.

Are you ready to buy beyond the feed? Want to learn more about optimizing your non-newsfeed placements? Check out Tinuiti’s recent webinar now.

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