We all struggle to get a good conversion rate with Facebook Ads, sometimes.
But then there are other times when you know that your product or service is up to snuff and your copy is on point, yet your ads are still coming up short.
Well, guess what?
The best product in the world won’t get sold by ads with sub-par design.
Ad creative is arguably the easiest factor to test when creating or troubleshooting ad campaigns. And you don’t have to be an expert to create eye-catching ads that stop the scroll.
In this article you will find a break down of what makes a “good” image and 4 step-by-step ways to design your own Facebook ad images—and the best part is, you can do it all without having to spend a dime.
Let’s jump into the first, and most important, characteristic of your Facebook ad.
1. Simple, Clear Representation of the Marketing Message
When it comes to successful Facebook ads, one thing is apparent—the offer and the messaging is the most important part of your ad. Regardless of how well designed your ad image is, if your message isn’t clear, you won’t be getting any clicks.
In the article, all examples will be of the ads for a fictional brand, Pets of DM.
Notice anything wrong with this ad?
For example, using this image of a dog when the rest of the ad copy is about cats doesn’t really make much sense.
Facebook ads are comprised of several elements, with the image being only one of them. So you need to make sure that it fits in with the rest of your ad as well.
Keep your messaging consistent
This looks better, right?
You also want to make sure the message of the ad is consistent with the landing page you are directing traffic to. You want the messaging and the imagery on the ad to resemble that of the landing page as well.
2. Choose Complementary/Contrasting Colors That Stand Out
Most people aren’t going on Facebook to browse the ads that show up in their newsfeed, so you need to make sure your ad stands out and grabs their attention. One of the easiest ways to do this is by choosing colors that are less likely to blend in with the rest of the newsfeed posts.
If you don’t have a set color palette to work with, using a site like Coolors.co to generate a palette for you is an easy way to make sure the colors work well together and look professional.
Example of a color palette from Coolors.co
3. Use Relevant, High-Quality Images
When you’re creating image ads, the last thing you want is for your ad to come off as cheesy or unprofessional by using low-quality clip art or stock photos. There are more and more resources made available every day, and finding high-quality photos and illustrations isn’t as difficult as it might seem.
The most important thing you need to look at when choosing images is the licenses that are associated with them. Pulling images from a Google image search is a big no-no, and you need to make sure that you are legally able to use the images you choose, or you can easily find yourself in hot water for copyright violations.
The rule of thumb here is that if you aren’t explicitly given permission to use an image, then avoid it altogether. Look out for images that are free for commercial use, and require no attribution. Pexels.com is a great resource for stock photos, and the licenses are shown front and center, so there is no question as to whether or not you can use an image.
Example Pexels.com search for sunsets
Make sure it is free for commercial use with no attribution required
If you’re looking for illustrations, Iconfinder.com is a great resource. The same rules apply to illustrations as photos, and you need to make sure the license allows you to use the image in your ad.
Example Iconfinder.com search for laptop illustrations
Make sure the illustration is free for commercial use and does not require attribution
4. Go Easy on the Text
When designing your ads, you don’t need to put tons of text on your images. In fact, you should only use a small amount of text, such as highlighting your offer or including a call to action.
If your ad needs a lot of explanation, keep that in the ad copy and not on the image itself. Facebook will limit the reach of your ad if you have too much text.
This was previously known as the 20% rule, and Facebook would not approve ads in which 20% or more of the image contained text.
Now, ads that are heavier on text may get approved, but the ad’s reach is determined, in part, based on the amount of text included in the image.
Facebook provides this guide to give you a better understanding of the amount of text you can include. But just to make sure, you should always check your image using Facebook’s overlay tool before submitting an image as part of an ad campaign.
Always test your ad images with Facebook’s overlay tool
Since you are limited to the text you can fit on your images, you should make sure that real estate doesn’t go to waste. Choose fonts that are easily legible and not distracting. You should use a maximum of two fonts, but if you can, choose just one and stick with it.
Avoid using distracting or hard-to-read fonts
This is an example of what can happen if you try and get too “cute” with your font choices. Compared to the example showed earlier, which one looks more professional and is easier to read?
Just like images, you also need to make sure your fonts are licensed to use commercially as well. Google Fonts is a great resource, and all of the fonts in their library are licensed for commercial use without attribution.
Google Fonts has hundreds of free commercially-licensed fonts for you to choose from
Creating Your Ad Images
Now that you’ve narrowed down your marketing message, color palette, images, and fonts, it’s time for the fun part of actually creating your ads! Here are some examples of real ads that big companies are using.
Example 1: Hubspot
In this example, you can see that HubSpot is running 2 variations of the same ad with different background colors.
Example 2: The New York Times
The New York Times is using several different variations of the same template in this example. This ad concept is fairly simple, and it keeps the focus on the offer without distractions.
This type of simplicity could work well in a retargeting campaign where you are showing the offer to someone who is already familiar with your brand.
If you are struggling with the technical aspect of creating the ads, here are two videos showing how to create the ads, step by step. The first one shows how to create an ad in Apple’s Keynote, the second is using Canva.
You should now be able to design Facebook ad images and look like a pro, even if you have no design experience at all.
As long as you follow these 4 guidelines, your ads will be bringing you in leads and conversions before you know it.
PS. The most important thing is to play into emotions. The most effective way to do that is through storytelling. As a test, you can run an ad with a short ad text vs. the one with a long copy (ad text meaning not the image but what comes above it). Test which is more effective. With good imagery to attract attention and a good story, the long ad very often wins. Especially with more expensive products.