Biz Tips: How To Improve Your Facebook Ad Images And Why It Matters

Biz Tips: How To Improve Your Facebook Ad Images And Why It Matters

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How To Improve Your Facebook Ad Images And Why It Matters

Illustration: Mark Armstrong

I got the idea for this post after reading Will Mitchell’s 8 Questions Successful People Ask Themselves — That You Should, Too.

One of those questions was: What Easy Thing Are You Doing Too Much?

i.e., What are you doing just because it’s easy, when you should be working on something more productive?

It conjured up a martini calling for an olive: boring, safe, and utterly predictable.

In my case, I spend too much time on social media. I tell myself I do it to stay visible, but I know I also do it because it’s easy: easy to share something on LinkedIn, send out tweets, post something to my Facebook Page.

What I should be doing more of is researching and prospecting for clients.

Speaking of Facebook: brands have seen huge declines in organic reach in recent years. Organic reach is how many people you can reach for free on Facebook just by posting to your page (as opposed to paying Facebook, i.e., buying ads, to promote your posts).

Hubspot’s Sophia Bernazzani lists some ways to maximize your organic reach on FB, but concedes that it’s “likely only a matter of time before organic reach hits zero, so you might as well hone your paid strategy now…”

Many brands have taken the hint. According to Maddy Osman of Sprout Social, “93% of marketers use Facebook advertising regularly, which translates to about 3 million businesses.” (Interestingly, 70% of those businesses are outside the U.S.)

Are Facebook ads basically the same as other ads?

No.

Copy Hacker’s Joanna Wiebe says that with Facebook, images matter more than copy. She cites a Consumer Acquisition study that found that images are responsible for some 75 to 90% of a Facebook ad’s performance.

She notes that with traditional print ads, the copy usually comes first– then the art. Not so with Facebook ads, where the image is the most important thing.

Do Facebook ads actually reflect this? Are the images unique, compelling, attractive?

I had a chance to find out thanks to another HubSpot post written by Ms. Bernazzani: 13 of the Best Facebook Ad Examples That Actually Work (And Why). The post also covers Facebook ad best practices, and the associated formats and templates.

13 ads with 13 images: 10 photos, 1 illustration, 1 video, 1 animated GIF.

I found some of the images rather bland– that’s just my opinion.

I’m going to look at 4 of the photos here, and suggest alternatives and/or improvements.

Finally I’m going to contrast 3 of the photos with the 1 illustration, and compare their visual impact.

Here’s the first ad:

Critique: I’ve never liked white type on a black background. It’s difficult to read. And I jumped to the wrong conclusion: I thought I was looking at an ad for an Apple product. Not so. Monday makes a software product designed for Macintosh computers.

I’d never heard of Monday, and I’d never seen their logo. Here’s what it looks like:

My suggestion: use a white background to make the logo (and the company) stand out, and use an arrow to show it morphing to Mac colors. Adding monday.com and for Macwould help readers understand that it’s a Monday product designed for a Mac. Here’s a quick sketch of the idea:

Here’s another photo-based FB ad from HubSpot’s 13 Best FB Ad Examples:

Critique: the image is incredibly busy. Not really something you want to look at. You can hardly make out “Mizzou Market” in the upper-lefthand corner.

My suggestion: use a photo, but restrict it to a single food item on a white background. Something “snack-ish.” Add a spot illo for entertainment value, and to show someone eating, sitting on a tailgate. A football provides context, and a plain backdrop to help the business names stand out. Like so:

A third photo-based FB ad from the same HubSpot post:

Critique: it’s a very cool photo. I especially like the curved horizon– makes it look like the concert’s taking place at the end of the earth. But it misses an opportunity to show the two headliners, Zac Brown and Kenny Chesney. Showing their faces might be the extra “push” someone needs to shell out $165 for a ticket.

My suggestion: Add the two faces in a way that retains the energy and power of the photo. Caricatures would add a fun element, adding beach balls would help them blend in.

A fourth photo-based FB ad from the same HubSpot post:

Critique: I admire the technological feat here: turning the Amazon logo into a neon sign. It’s a dark photo, however, with competing lines and elements. The most puzzling aspect: the ad is promoting a post about the odd things people buy on Amazon, but it’s passing up a chance to show one of those products– like that alarm clock that tracks your sleep patterns that’s mentioned in the text.

My suggestion: Have some fun with that to pique people’s interest. A cartoon illustration would be a great fit, and you could include the Amazon logo as well. Here’s a quick B&W sketch idea:

As mentioned above, HubSpot’s 13 Best Facebook Ads included an ad that used an illustration. Here it is:

Worth noting: it’s a custom illustration, done specifically for the story, which is aimed at Millennials. Bright colors, lots of white space. It’s a good example of how an illustration can grab your attention. It’s more eye-friendly than the photos.

Not all illustrations are good, not all photos are bad. They both have their place in marketing campaigns. You need to make wise choices if you want those campaigns to succeed.

Summary:

1. What easy thing are you doing too much?– it’s a question worth pondering.

2. Images are responsible for some 75 to 90% of a Facebook ad’s performance. (source)

3. You can combine photos and illustrations to tap into the power of both.

4. An illustration with bright colors and white space is a powerful attention-getter.

About Mark: I’m an illustrator specializing in humor, branding, social media, and content marketing. My images are different, like your brand needs to be.

You can view my portfolio, and connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

Questions? Send me an email.

Originally published at markarmstrongillustration.com on August 14, 2018.

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