Facebook Ad Images
Facebook advertising has become one of the most popular ways to advertise.
Because it’s SUPER EFFECTIVE…if you know how to create the right Facebook ad images, that is.
That, my friends, is exactly what we’ll be covering today. Between client campaigns and Uhuru’s own marketing, we run an extraordinary amount of Facebook ads each year. Needless to say, we’ve honed our skills along the way. This article is the result.
We’ve come up with a list of some seriously powerful tips that will help take your ads from average to outstanding. Put your note-taking pants on, things are about to get interesting!
This guide will cover:
- Facebook ad image structure and placement variety
- The core concepts of creating an effective Facebook ad image
- How to avoid creating images that won’t be approved
- 25 expert-level tips to help take your Facebook ad images to a whole new level
- PLUS…examples of what other advertisers are doing right and wrong
Before we get to those tips, let’s take a look at Facebook’s ad structure to ensure we are all on the same page.
Facebook Ad Structure
Depending on placement (where your ad is being shown), your ad will contain at least 2 of the following 5 characteristics:
- Social Information — Users can see if their friends have engaged with your ads/business.
- Business Name — Your business name is always displayed prominently.
- Text — The (hopefully) interesting and informative copy that tells users about your ad.
- Media — The attention-grabbing and highly compelling graphic that gets users interested in your ad.
- Call to Action (optional) — A customizable button that encourages people to click on your ad.
Now that we’re all on the same page about the structure of typical Facebook ads, let’s take a look at the fundamental properties of an effective Facebook ad Image.
The 4 Fundamental Components of an Effective Facebook Ad
1. Visuals You Can’t Ignore
Visuals are what grab our attention while swiping and scrolling through our News Feed. To reach people on Facebook means being able to communicate visually, and to do so quickly. Facebook favors visual content over written content because time has proven that visuals are what users want to see. Plus, visuals are more easily remembered and they’re far more likely to be shared.
Ads grab your attention with bright, complementary colors and an artfully eye-catching arrangement of your products.
2. Relevancy Is Key
Your ads and images must be relevant to the audience viewing them. If your ads don’t resonate with your audience, there’s little chance they’ll take a second look at your ad, let alone engage with it. Irrelevant ads are a complete waste of time and money.
Our ad for MoveGB ad below is highly relevant to their target audience. They’ll have no trouble relating to this ad and finding value in what’s being displayed.
3. Don’t Forget a Clear Value Proposition
Tell your audience why they should engage with your ad. What value will they receive and what makes your offer better than the rest? Your value proposition is the “why” behind your requested action.
Our ad for MoveGB above clearly states its value proposition. In this case, it’s in the form of a “2 weeks for £1” promotion (in the image).
4. Make the Ask
Include a clear and relevant CTA (call to action) in each ad in order to motivate your audience. You can’t blame them for not taking action if you don’t ask them to do so. Make sure you make it clear, direct and, if possible, include a sense of urgency by using words like, “buy now”, or, “shop today and save 25%.”
In fact, according to Sprout Social:
“The overall click-through rate lift from using a CTA (in your Facebook Ads) is 2.85x (285%!!!)”
Think twice about skipping the CTA selection next time you’re creating Facebook ads!
And now, without further ado, your tips!
25 Expert Tips to Create Facebook Ad Images THAT SELL
1. Show People Using Your Product
Your ad has to look like it belongs in someone’s news feed. If your audience is used to seeing updates from friends and family, make sure your ad doesn’t alienate them before they have a chance to see what it is you’re offering. Show people using your product rather than simply displaying your product by itself.
Our ad for Mazuum (below) shows a standalone image of their sunglasses, as well as someone wearing the glasses to help the viewer connect with the product on a deeper level.
2. Create Different Facebook Ad Images for Different Personas
If you haven’t created buyer personas, start there. If you have, be sure to create separate Facebook ad images for each of your different personas. Personas will help you understand exactly who it is you’re trying to reach and how to do so most effectively.
For example, the Mazzum ad we created (above) speaks to one of their buyer personas for their men’s sunglasses line. The person model in this photo is very similar to the persona we are targeting with the ad. However, we use different images of very different people to help sell their other lines of sunglasses.
3. Use Targeting to Narrow Your Audience
This may seem out of place when talking about images, but listen up: You’ve defined a clear target for your audience (or at least you should have). Now it’s time to create imagery that is perfectly suited to that target. One-size-fits-all doesn’t exist in Facebook advertising. Custom targets call for custom Facebook ad images.
4. Use Images of Faces
Facebook will tell you themselves that ads with faces in them receive a lot more engagement. That’s also true for Instagram and almost anywhere we post images. We seem to relate more with ads when we can see people’s faces. It’s where most of us look when we first meet a person and it helps us to connect with them right away. It does the same thing for Facebook ad images.
The ad below uses a clear image of a smiling woman’s face to get your attention and help develop an emotional connection.
As a whole, people tend to hate missing out. This instinctive loss aversion helps us to take advantage of opportunities in our surrounds, but it also gives us an uncomfortable feeling when we might be missing out. Setting a deadline on your offer or even including the words “limited-time offer” can help those sitting on the fence make decisions.
6. Keep Your Facebook Ad Image Free of (Excessive) Text
Facebook used to suggest advertisers include less than 20% text overlay on their images. Their updated recommendations advise against using any text overlays at all, or using as little as possible to get your point across.
While some advertisers don’t need text overlays to reach their audience, many find it more effective to include at least a short message. We recommend including a small amount of text and using Facebook’s own tool to test whether or not your image will be approved, penalized, or disapproved. Simply upload your finished media file and Facebook will give you a level of approval based on its guidelines.
In the image we created for ApCal (above) you’ll notice very little text getting in the way of the image of their venue. The text that is there is very clear and to the point, preventing the reader from experiencing confusion or overwhelm.
7. Make Your Message the Focus
If there is an especially important part of your image that communicates your message (and there should be), make sure to crop tightly around that part of the image to ensure your audience sees it.
Ask yourself, “Without reading any copy, would you understand what this image is advertising?” The example image from Hootsuite (below) is cute, sure, but doesn’t convey the message behind the ad very well.
8. Include Social Proof
Social proof means using real-life testimonials, and including these in your ads can be very powerful. Use well-crafted customer testimonials—gleaned from blog post comments, reviews, tweets, and Facebook posts—to create unique and compelling ads that show what real-life people think of your product.
9. Only Use High-Resolution Images
Nothing looks worse than a low-quality image in your ads. For this reason, be sure to use the highest quality images possible to help your ads look their best.
10. Simpler Is Better
Think about how fast people are scrolling through their feeds. Now think about how long you have to communicate your message. The simpler the image, the faster you can get your point across. Don’t miss out on opportunities by making your audience think too hard about your image.
This MOZ ad is doing too much for most people. It may be so weird that’s it’s effective at grabbing attention, but try to keep your images simple and your marketing message clear.
11. Effective Facebook Ad Images Display Benefit
Remember the fundamentals of effective Facebook ad mentioned above? This is an extremely important point and it applies to the image as well. As your image is the first thing your audience will see, it must display the benefit quickly and clearly.
This Mazuum advertisement (below) clearly displays the benefit of the promotion in both the imagery (the variety of unique sunglasses) and the text overlay of the deal (buy 2 get free shipping).
12. Keep Your Copy and Graphics Consistent
This is a problem we see all the time. You’d be surprised how many Facebook ad images have nothing to do with their copy and vice versa. You’re trying to create a cohesive ad that influences your audience to take action, so make sure that there isn’t any disconnect between what they’re seeing and what they’re reading.
In the Mazuum ad (above), we include a clear text overlay about the promotion. The copy above and below also directly relate to the promotion (buy 2 get free shipping). The copy and graphics drive the message home without any distraction.
13. Limit Your Ads to One Call to Action
This may sound confusing, but let’s tie this back to the fundamentals section above. A call to action is mandatory, but using more than one in a single ad can be confusing. Don’t offer a free ebook to download and ask your audience to “shop now.” Select the appropriate CTA when constructing your ads as well.
14. People Love FREE
Most of us are conditioned to take notice of the word “FREE” in any sort of advertising. We love the idea of getting something for nothing, so use it in your ad imagery as much as you can. Don’t worry about giving your product away for free though! Something as easy as including a FREE download, a FREE consultation, or FREE shipping could be enough to dramatically improve the engagement rates of your ads.
This MoveGB ad from grabs your attention with the word “FREE” prominently displayed in its own color. Once you have someone’s attention, it’s much easy to get your marketing message across.
15. Use Simple, Easy-to-Understand Text Overlays
We mentioned keeping things simple above, but let’s take it one step further. While you want your imagery to clearly convey your marketing message, your text overlay needs to do the same.
The MoveGB ad above is easy to read and the marketing message is simple to understand. We’re not trying to be clever or asking our audience to think too hard about what we’re promoting.
16. Use Numbers to Get Your Point Across
People are conditioned to pay attention to numbers in ads to help them understand its value more quickly. Be sure to use any number that helps support your ad’s benefit such as: “2 for 1” or “20% off!”
In our Manuel Bozzi ad, you can’t help but look at the words “SAVE 10%,15%,20%.”
17. Use a Scroll Test
When you’re coming up with ad creative, be sure to see what competitors are doing well and what you want to avoid. Try a “scroll test.” Scan your own feed to see what ads make you want to stop and look. Note the reasons you stopped on each and try to replicate their success in your images.
When we did our own scroll test on the Manuel Bozzi image above, we noticed the oversized “SAVE MORE” text and contrasting colors grabbed our attention long enough to make us want to look at the ad.
18. Test a Variety of Copy
The copy in your ads may be letting down otherwise stellar Facebook ad images. Make sure your copy resonates with your audience by testing multiple versions before you change your images. This is especially true for the text overlays, as that is the copy that people react to first. Try running multiple variants at the same time (A/B or split testing) and put your budget behind the most successful.
19. Try Using Multiple Images
In some cases, the use of multiple images can improve the efficacy of your ads. This is especially true of ecommerce ads where multiple products can be tastefully grouped together to create an effective Facebook ad image.
This MoveGB ad (below) used a variety of images to display all that its audience can benefit from by using their membership.
20. Immediately Discernable Marketing Message
While an outstanding image may capture someone’s attention, an effective ad image must also get your marketing message across immediately. There should be zero time between catching someone’s eye and their understanding of what your ad is presenting.
Take a look at our ad for the CCSPCA. We wanted people to download their free guide on how to keep pets safe during hot central California summers, and this image gets its point across from the word go.
21. Use Complementary/Contrasting Colors
Try using complementary or contrasting colors to get people’s attention when crafting your Facebook ads. Try using 2-3 complementary colors to help your ad stand out. You may also want to shock someone into looking at your ad by using highly contrasting colors. Remember, the whole point is to get someone’s attention. That said, once you have it you only have a brief moment to get your marketing message across. Make the most of your attention-grabbing colors by using an image, text overlays, and copy that keep people hooked.
Both CCSPCA images )above/below) jump out and grab your attention with the use of contrasting colors.
22. Stick to 1-2 Fonts
Too many fonts can make an ad image feel confusing, overwhelming, and hard to read at a glance. People tend to shy away from things that make them feel uncomfortable, even if they can’t pinpoint exactly what’s making them feel that way. Stick to a single font or add a complementary secondary font.
The CCSPCA ad above keeps it simple with a single font used in both bolded and unbolded format to create the urgency we were looking for but avoid distracting or confusing the reader.
23. Appeal to Both Rational and Emotional Judgment
Most of us use a relatively even mix of our rational and emotional judgment to make decisions. That said, your Facebook ad images should appeal to both sides to be most effective. Let’s look at an example.
An ad for an ecommerce shoe store might advertise, “countless summer styles to look your best on any occasion”, to appeal to their audience’s emotional side while including, “plus quality and prices that will make you a certified Smart Shopper” to appeal to their rational side.
24. Employ the Psychology of Color
Most top creatives understand the physiological stimulus generated by each color. Different colors create specific feelings when we see them. Also, specific demographics tend to appreciate certain colors. You can reach your audience more deeply by using the colors they prefer to see. While this isn’t a foolproof plan, the concept is backed by plenty of studies and is worth testing in your images.
Source: The Psychology of Color in Marketing By June Campbell – Infographic by kissmetrics.com
25. Location-Specific Graphics
This tip is especially powerful for local businesses. When people see places they know in Facebook ad images, they are far more likely to connect with them. Showcase your area in your local ads and help people take notice of your local business. Location-specific images can also be helpful when porting travel or destination-based products.
This MoveGB ad appeals to its targeted audience in Bristol, as it displays a familiar local landmark, something its readers identify with on a more personal level.
This list is the result of over 6 years of experience, countless hours of testing, and hundreds of thousands of dollars of ad spend. Thanks to these tips you’ve got a leg up on most Facebook advertisers. Don’t waste your time on Facebook ad images that don’t work. Instead, take what you’ve learned today and apply it to your ads moving forward.
Remember, while this list is based on the expert analysis by true Facebook advertising professionals, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all guideline. Take what you’ve learned here and do your own testing to see what works best for YOUR audience.
You still have to put in the footwork to make the most of your Facebook ad images, we’ve just fast forwarded your testing and learning processes to help you achieve true success at a much faster rate.
Here’s to your most successful campaign to date!