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Customizing the creative in your Meta DPAs — Facebook’s built-in overlays and frames versus Branded Catalogs

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Table of contents

Dynamic product ads (DPAs) or catalog ads are one of the most <blue-low-highlight>reliable and profitable ways to advertise<blue-low-highlight> on Meta.

But there’s a big limitation.

Most brands’ DPAs are plain and boring, showing product image on a white background — or worse, with vertical bars on both sides of their beautiful studio shots. 

Example of a plain feed dynamic ad by apparel brand Carve Designs showing white bars
Plain feed ad by Carve Designs

This can result in <blue-low-highlight>catalog ads that look the same as your competitor’s ads<blue-low-highlight>, which can be a huge waste of precious ad spend.

To get around this problem, Meta offers advertisers the option to add overlays or ‘frames’ on their dynamic catalog creatives. Part of their suite of creative tools, frames allow advertisers to add stickers or custom overlays to their DPAs at the time of setting up their ad. 

Frames can help in two ways: one, you can draw your shoppers’ attention to relevant details like product USPs or names, or even highlight offers or promos. In addition to this, mapping relevant and dynamic information such as slashed prices, discount and sale badges can help you shorten your shoppers’ purchase journey. 

However, while <blue-low-highlight>Meta’s frames are better than nothing, they offer very limited freedom<blue-low-highlight> when it comes to the design of your catalog ad. You can only apply a single overlay to all your products in an ad, with very limited control over the placement and styling of dynamic stickers (to map slashed prices, discount % off, etc.), making it hard to create catalog ads that reflect your brand.

This is why so many pro advertisers and brands that want to stand out opt for Socioh’s Branded Catalogs.

See for example, this catalog ad by Carve Designs, which removes the white bars in their plain product feed and uses a 2-image layout and key value props instead:

Example of a Branded Catalog ad designed using Socioh's Branded Catalog tool for apparel brand Carve designs
Catalog ad by Carve Designs — designed via Socioh

Want to learn how you can add overlays or frames to your dynamic ads in Meta? We’ve included a guide at the end of this blog post. 

Socioh allows you complete freedom to design your catalog ads.

You aren’t just pasting a sticker over your plain product image but creating a branded product feed that delivers value to your shoppers.

See how you can optimize your catalog ads with examples from real brands here.

How do Meta’s overlays compare against Socioh’s Branded Catalogs?

Facebook’s overlays are just that — frames and stickers you can add on top of your existing image with some basic controls — color, opacity, and size. 

This is wholly inadequate if you want to crop or reposition your product images, use secondary images, or map more than one piece of dynamic information onto your carousel ads. 

Here’s a list of some of the <blue-low-highlight>key differences between Meta’s built-in frames and Socioh’s Branded Catalogs<blue-low-highlight>:

A graphic with a table listings the differences betwe's overlays and Socioh's Branded Catalog tool
Meta overlays vs Socioh's Branded Catalogs

As you can see from the table above, there are <blue-low-highlight>several limitations to using Meta’s overlays<blue-low-highlight>.

If you’re looking to create a designed product feed that reflects your brand and adds value to your customers’ shopping experience, you will need a tool that allows you to design and optimize your dynamic ads.

9 Advantages of using Socioh to optimize your catalog creative:

1. Get <blue-low-highlight>complete control<blue-low-highlight> over the placement and styling of each element of your design: Choose from endless formatting options, resize and place your images, logo, dynamic information (such as slashed prices, discount % off, product name, inventory, and even custom/meta information) anywhere within your catalog card, and more.
i) Choose from endless fonts, weights, sizes, colors, and formatting options
: Use our ready-to-use layouts and stickers or add your own. Each element is completely customizable.
ii) Add as much dynamic content as your design demands
: Want to add slashed prices and discount % off, in addition to the product name? With Socioh, you can do it all.
iii) Never show cropped or poorly fitted images
: Socioh’s designer offers complete control over the placement and fitting of your images. Use our automated fitting options and review and edit each card for a flawless product feed.
iv) Control each layer of your catalog’s design — at scale:
With Socioh’s advanced design tool, you have the ease of Canva and the control of Photoshop, custom-built for automating design for thousands of products. 

2.Use lifestyle and additional images: Want to create multi-image templates or showcase your non-primary images? No problem! Easily showcase images from any position in your product feed, or upload additional images to Socioh to create amazing catalogs. Learn more.

Before-after shot of phone accessory brand Burga's dynamic ad showing how the brand replaced its plain product images with lifestyle images using Socioh
Phone accessory brand Burga replaced its plain product images with lifestyle images using Socioh
Before-after shot of a multi-and-lifestyle image catalog ad by Vaer Watches made using Socioh
Multi-and-lifestyle image catalog ad by Vaer Watches made using Socioh

3. Auto-remove backgrounds in Socioh: Remove backgrounds not only from your primary image but additional images too.

Before-after shot of bicycle brand Specialized's catalog ad, which replaced its plain white backgrounds with a gradient using Socioh
Specialized replaced its plain white backgrounds with a gradient and added dynamic product info to their dynamic ads using Socioh

4. Add rule-based visibility to any element(s) of your design: Show sale price only on discounted products, map category name on each product, or highlight custom information where relevant.

5. Apply category-based designs and create fallback options: Don’t want the same design on all cards? Easy! Choose different layouts for different collections or product sets. Plus, our fall-back options make sure every case scenario is handled to deliver a perfectly branded catalog ad. 

6. Map your product reviews: Directly import customer reviews from your review platform (Socioh integrates with leading review platforms like Yotpo, Judge.me, Stamped.io, and your CSV files!)

Noli designs got rid of vertical white bars and mapped their product reviews using Socioh

7. Never lose your learnings: Want to change your design? You can make endless edits to your product feed and never reset your optimized ads.

8. A/B test your creatives at scale: Want to test which design works better? Iterate on design with complete freedom with our A/B testing feature.

9. Run your ads anywhere: While Facebook’s overlays work only in FB placements (they won’t show up even on your feed ads on IG), Socioh’s Branded Catalogs can run anywhere. 

Need help designing your catalog ad?

Design services are included in all of Socioh’s subscription plans. Our team of professional designers will work with you till you are satisfied.

I would like to learn more.

How to add overlays to your dynamic ads in Meta 

Want to try Meta’s built-in frames and stickers? Here’s how to do in your Facebook Ads Manager.

First select the catalog option at the campaign level. Then, at the ad level, scroll down to creative tools and click on the ‘Edit creative’ menu:

Screenshot of Meta's UI showing how to add overlays when setting up a catalog ad
How to add frames and catalog info in Meta's Ads Manager

You can choose to ‘Add a frame’ and/or ‘Add catalog info’ to add your overlays onto your product image.

Once you select the ‘Add a frame’ option, you can upload your image by selecting ‘Custom’ on the menu under the ‘Image’.

Screenshot of Meta's UI showing how to upload a frame to add to your DPAs
Upload your frames to your catalog ads using Meta's overlays

On the right, you’ll see a preview of how your products will be displayed. Meta also offers some very basic controls (opacity, size, and position) on the left:

Screenshot of Meta's UI showing how to add frames to your DPAs
Limited settings to customize your Meta's frames and overlays

Note: Saving your frame will apply it to every product in your catalog ad. There is no way to apply the frame to only specific products within the ad.

Adding dynamic stickers on your Facebook catalog ads

Meta also offers advertisers the option to ‘Add catalog info’ to their carousel ads. This tool adds limited dynamic information like price, discount, title, etc. onto your images.  You can select from automatic or manual settings here. Automatic settings let Meta choose what information to display, while manual controls offer you a short list of product info like price, title, discount %, etc.to choose from. 

Screenshot of Meta's UI showing how to add dynamic catalog info to your DPAs
Adding dynamic catalog info using Meta's creative tools

This information is dynamically pulled for each product. You’ll also be able to choose from simple formatting options to edit the look of your stickers.

As you can see, Meta’s frames and stickers, while useful, offer extremely limited control over your catalog ads. You are simply pasting frames and stickers on top of your product images, with little to no customization when it comes to font, color, placement, or choice of product.

Socioh allows you complete freedom to create designs that work for your brand.

Plus, our team will check your catalog set-up, and work with you to create custom, on-brand templates.

Interested in seeing how Socioh can help you enhance your catalog ads? Sign up for a no-obligation demo now.

is a digital advertising platform for eCommerce brands. Our Branded Catalog is the industry leader in dynamic catalog advertising and product feeds.

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