Using Built-In DPA Overlays on Meta

The capability differences between Enriched Catalogs and overlay frames in Meta.
Pierce Porterfield

There are a ton of hidden features within Meta Ads Manager. It typically takes a while for them to catch on just because there are so many nooks and crannies to wade through. Such is the case for the built-in DPA creative overlay feature. Often people refer to this feature as “Frames”, “Facebook Frames”, or “Meta Frames”.

How do you use overlays in Meta?

First you will need to open a dynamic product ad. This is an ad that is using a catalog as it’s creative vs. uploading a single image or video.

Once you are in the ad setup screen, you will need to scroll down and find the edit creative button under creative tools. Clicking this button will open multiple options. The “Add a frame” and “Add catalog info” options are what we consider the overlay feature.

Adding frames

Frames are fairly simple. Once you click “Add a frame”, you are taken to a screen where you have an option to upload or choose an image file. To upload an image change the dropdown from “none” to “custom” and then click the upload button. Once you upload the image you will see examples of how your products displayed on the right. You also have a few basic controls to change the opacity or position of your applied frame.

Once you click save this frame overlay will be applied to every product image within this ad. You cannot set the frame to only apply to specific images within the ad.

Adding catalog info

The other creative overlay tool is the “Add catalog info” option. This tool allows you to add text elements that will change dynamically per product. The options for what you can show are fairly simple. If you select automatic then Meta will automatically choose from a short list of product info to add to the frame. If you choose manual then you can pick from columns like price, title, etc. to decide which product info will show. After selecting which info will populate in the creative you are given a few simple formatting options to edit the look of the text.

Once you save the catalog info settings, your changes will affect each product shown in this ad. The product info will pull from the catalog so that it is relevant to each product.

What is the difference between Meta overlays and Marpipe Enriched Catalogs

Both Enriched catalogs and the built in overlays within Meta are addressing the same core problem: Catalog ads are plain and boring.

Meta’s built in overlays are a great place to start if you’re new to DPA but more mature advertisers are not going to find the limited creative options suitable for their brand.

Here are the main shortcomings of the built in overlay tools:

  • You are only able to choose from a few fixed positions when aligning overlays.
  • Styling is locked to a few preset options
  • Overlays merely sit on top of your product image, leading to certain parts of the image getting cut off and limited options for layouts.
  • You can only pull in one piece of dynamic product info at a time.
  • Font/color options are very basic making it hard to truly make any design stand out with your branding.
  • Overlays have to apply to every product in the ad causing you to compromise on creativity to try and create something that fits every product image no matter what.

Marpipe allows you to build dynamic designs that are more complex than simply pasting an image over the existing product image. In Marpipe you can move every element around on the canvas individually, including your product image.

Here are the main design benefits of using Marpipe over built-in overlays:

  • Control every layer individually like in Canva or Figma
  • Add multiple pieces of dynamic info to the canvas at a time
  • Customize which designs get applied per product/product set
  • Use any colors or fonts that you want
  • Styling is completely open ended and custom
  • Push updates to live designs without resetting the ads in Meta
  • Nest catalog info inside of text boxes to create dynamic phrases
  • Automatically remove the backgrounds of your product images to create even more design possibilities

You don’t need to be a Marpipe customer to try out the design capabilities of Marpipe for yourself. Make an account at and check start designing with your real product feed to see how much further you can push your DPA.

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