Facebook has become the place for small or medium business owners to get their brand and products to the right audience. A great Facebook ad will go a long way in driving more traffic, getting more brand awareness and making more sales. But sometimes creating a Facebook ad can be challenging. There are so many things to consider when putting together an ad: where your ad appears, sizing, images, style, composition, colors, fonts. How would you know what works and what doesn’t? Or what will make your brand or product stand out?

If you’re new to advertising on Facebook or want to improve your ads, take a look at our 11 best Facebook ad design tips to help you get the most out of your ads.

Facebook ads design how to guide & tips
Illustration by OrangeCrush

1. Keep text to a minimum

Considering that users’ wish to spend as little time looking at ads as possible, keep your ad copy to a minimum.

You want to deliver your message as quickly and succinctly as you can—under 280 characters is ideal. A lot of users will disregard your post as soon as they realize it’s an ad, so it’s better to be clear and direct when you have their attention.

Always focus on a single message—don’t try to cram in multiple offers or value points in the same ad. The message itself should be simple, ideally presenting an offer (“50% off T-shirts this weekend”), promotional event (“now opening a new location”) or a particular value point (“free shipping on all orders”).

Whatever isn’t necessary to say, save until after they click the call-to-action. Whether your ad takes them to your site, app page or product page, the user can find out all that extra information there.

Facebook ad design by Maryia Dziadziulia

Designer Maryia Dziadziulia condensed BeLive’s product strategy into two words: “iron gummies.” This is a clear and succinct message to their audience. For people interested in iron supplements in candy form, that’s all they need to see to get their attention on your product.

2. Simple typography for readability

Not only do you want your text short-and-sweet, you also want it easy on the eyes. Use simple typography to make your ad copy effortless to read. Flamboyant, decorative fonts may attract some attention, but they distract from your central message and may even take longer for the reader to decipher.

Bold, sans serif fonts work best. If you’re overlapping your text on top of visuals, you want to make sure it’s still legible: it should be thick and colored in a way that it stands out.

Once you find a font you like, stick with it. Using multiple fonts can be distracting, so limit yourself to just one, or at most two.

Facebook ads design for Launchpeer
Facebook ad design by Maryia Dziadziulia

In Launchpeer’s Facebook ad design, also by Maryia Dziadziulia, the text is bold and clear. The color contrast with the background makes it even easier to read, especially when each key word or phrase gets its own frame.

3. Contrast to grab attention

Social media is a crazy circus of weirdness, with a rapid-fire of current events, wholesome feel-good stories and the regular exploits of Florida Man. That is what your Facebook ads are competing against for attention.

To help get your ads seen in the first place, let alone read, you can use visual techniques like contrast to attract attention. One of the most basic contrast techniques that anyone can apply is to use two colors opposite each other on the color wheel. Opposing colors like black/white, blue/yellow, or red/green naturally bring out the best and helps maximize visibility of the text, color and image.

Facebook ads design for Joyfully You
Facebook ad design by Arthean

Designer Arthean uses the purple and orange color contrast to bring attention to this Facebook ad design. Also notice how secondary text is often in white, another option for contrast. It’s important to remember that color contrast works when the text and images are easy to read.

4. Design for ad placement

Facebook ads can be displayed in a few different areas—the main three being the desktop feed, mobile feed or right column—and each have their own sizes and benefits. It’s tempting to design one ad and reshape it to fit all areas, but you ultimately hurt its performance by ignoring the specifics of placement.

First things first, learn about how your target customers use Facebook. Do they use it on desktop or mobile? Do they use Stories or Marketplace? This lets you optimize your ad spend and strategize which ad designs to make. For example, if almost all of your target users are on Facebook mobile, you can optimize your ads for mobile. This kind of efficient streamlining is really what gives Facebook advertising its edge, letting you maximize your ad spend.

Alternatively, you can choose “Automatic Placements” and have Facebook figure it out for you. Just keep in mind that requires designs for all placements.

If you need the complete list of the recommended dimensions for each type of ad, check out our Complete guide to social media image sizes.

Facebook ads design for Leanadrene
Facebook ad design by GayanMH

Notice how designer GayanMH keeps the same elements in the ad variations, but rearranges them for the best composition at each size. Each ad maintains the information hierarchy with the focus on the product.

5. Microtargeting

One of the greatest features of Facebook ads is the fine precision in their customer targeting. Because Facebook is more-or-less a database of people’s interests, jobs, locations and life events, you can hand-craft advertising campaigns to appeal to very, very specific types of audience, a practice known as microtargeting.

One of our best Facebook ad design tips is to take full advantage of microtargeting. Unlike more general advertising on mass media, Facebook ads can be handcrafted for even the tiniest niche, leveraging their unique preferences. Cater the imagery, ad copy, tone, color scheme or even which products you’re promoting specifically for the audience you want to reach.

Facebook ads design for Warrior Rising
Facebook ad design for a charity empowering veterans by Hawnit_Studio

This strategy is even more effective when based on actual user data. Split tests in particular can help you optimize your Facebook ads for all the elements. You can create different ads for different market segments, a more efficient approach than using the same generic ad for both.

Hawnit_Studio’s ad for the charity Warrior Rising has a specific audience who are or support veterans. Placing their ad on Facebook allows them to be strategic, precise and efficient in targeting their key audience.

6. Test different ads

If you’re new to Facebook advertising, or digital advertising in general, much of the early phases are spent shooting in the dark. Even with reliable user data, there’s no guarantees in ad campaigns until you can see them live.

Your best bet is to refine your strategy as you go along, improving and refreshing your ads based on how the previous ones performed. To cast a wider net, you can test multiple ads at once to see what works and what doesn’t.

Not only can you test the performance of your Facebook ad design, you can also test your brand’s performance in a new market. If you’re thinking of expanding into a new demographic or are experimenting with a new product range, you can test the waters with a specialized Facebook ad and see if it’s worth investing more money.

Facebook ads design for Make-a-Wish New Jersey
Facebook ad design by Artcher
Facebook ads design for Make-a-Wish New Jersey
Facebook ads design for Make-a-Wish New Jersey

For Make-a-Wish New Jersey, Artcher created a few different variations for gif ads, each with their own visuals and ad copy.

7. Choose the best formats for you

You should optimize your Facebook ad design for its format, for example, video, static image, carousel, etc. The different formats appeal to different customer groups, not to mention that certain industries can make better use of some formats than others. For example, a retailer can use Collection Ads to show off their product range more than a SaaS company.

Your options for Facebook ad formats are the following:

  • Image ads are a single image with no moving effects. This is a great way to quickly create a simple and powerful ad that will drive people to your site and raise awareness of your brand and products.
  • Video ads are a short video with sound. These ads can help your brand and product build an engaging video using a combination of photo, text, sound and motion. It’s a great way to draw people to your brand.
  • Collection ads are a series of single thumbnail images that can showcase multiple products, highlight features of a single product or explain a process step by step.
  • Carousel ads are a series of single images displayed within a single ad. Each image will have its own link. This format is best for displaying multiple products, showcasing your products’ features, creating a lookbook for your product and telling your brand story.
  • Stories ads are a full-screen vertical format that could be image or video. These ads are quick, engaging and interactive. It’s an effective format to connect with your audience in an inclusive and genuine way.

Don’t be afraid to mix-and-match different formats in the same campaign either—for example, adding some video ads to an otherwise all static image campaign increases conversions by 17% compared to static images alone.

Facebook ad design by CristianGarcia

This video ad for inke by CristianGarcia takes full advantage of the video format using clear typography and glamourous product shots to showcase the results you can get with inke.

8. Use a tried-and-true technique

Sometimes the best Facebook ad design tips are the same advice from traditional advertising. You may not be able to follow standard advertising best practices to the letter, but with a few modifications you can make them fit Facebook.

For example, one of the most notable shifts in advertising is format. As mobile phones became the primary way people consume content, the traditional landscape of advertising became less important. Despite the shift in format, one tried-and-true technique of advertising that still works is product-focused creative. When you have a clear message and focal point for your creative assets it can help drive business results. Facebook reported that product-focused creative gained 71% more content views than creatives without a clear product focus.

Facebook ads design for Emmett Till Interpretive Center
Facebook ad design by Artcher
Facebook ads design for Emmett Till Interpretive Center

See how Artcher uses conventional advertising techniques like emotional imagery and quotations from powerful figures like John Lewis to raise awareness for their cause. The ads break up points into individual, easily-digestible screens to fit the Facebook medium.

When it comes to quotations and testimonials, be mindful of how much text appears on the screen. In the example above, notice how key parts of the quotes are highlighted so the attention goes to the most important part. The animated effects makes the ad engaging and dynamic.

9. Design for your ad objective

This Facebook ad design tip has two meanings. First is the literal meaning: design your Facebook ad to further your particular goal, whether it’s more general like brand awareness or more specific like selling an individual product. That’s a good advertising tip for any platform.

The second meaning is specific to Facebook: ad objectives are one of the fields you select when creating a Facebook ad. You’ll have the following options:

  • Get more leads—users fill out their name, email, phone, etc.
  • Get more website visitors—ad clicks send the user to your website
  • Promote your business locally—your ad only reaches people within a specified 2 – 50 mile radius
  • Boost your event—either spread the word about an event or sell tickets directly
Facebook ads design for It Takes Two, Inc.
Facebook ad design by Arkline

Your entire Facebook ad design should be built around your end goal, especially the call-to-action. If your goal is to get more leads, for example, mention some incentive for filling out the form. If you’re promoting a local business, drop some keywords the locals would appreciate, like mentioning a famous dish or sports team.

The objective of Arkline’s Facebook ad for It Takes Two, Inc is to generate more donations—you can tell by the big, red call-to-action button that says “Donate Now.”

10. Brand associations

Your Facebook ads are representatives of your brand personality, so they should look and feel like it.

For starters, your Facebook ad design should always include the branding basics:

  • Logo
  • Color scheme
  • Branded fonts and typography
  • Key products or services
  • Mascots or spokespeople

But Facebook ad design, like all your visual content, should display all the elements of visual identity in branding. You should figure out these areas early on in your business model, including which fonts to use and which colors elicit the emotions you want viewers to associate with your brand. If you haven’t yet, it’s never too late—just read the guides linked here to learn how.

Facebook ads design for Abrazo Outreach 2020
Facebook ad design by arnhival.

Once you’ve defined your brand visual identity it’s important to apply that across your visual assets. If you are using a video ad, it’s recommended to display your brand logo or product within the first 3 seconds. This will establish brand association with your audience right away. But it doesn’t stop there, maintaining and ensuring consistency of your brand visual identity throughout your video is just as important when building an effective and strong brand association.

Just look at how designer arnhival added the Abrazo logo at the beginning of the video before getting into the emotional imagery. Not only does this add context to the visuals that follow, but it also ensures the viewer associates those visuals to the brand.

11. Think mobile- and stories-first

These days when thinking about creating an ad, you have to think about where your audience is likely to see that ad. And as users are on their mobile more, ads need to be designed for mobile-first. This means creating full-screen vertical ads that can engage and connect with users. Stories are exactly that, a full-screen vertical ad format that engages with your audience and builds a sense of community. That’s because Stories are about sharing and expressing moments as they happen.

Clips of people living their lives, an ad for Life360
Stories ad by Maryia Dziadziulia

They are a great way to create an authentic and genuine ad, especially if it’s shot on mobile. Facebook has reported that “mobile-shot Stories ads have a 63% chance of outperforming studio-ads for purchase, app install and checkout objects.”

Not only that, the nature of Stories is to engage with the users. Even the Stories functionality like tap and hold to pause or swipe up or polling will get your audience to immerse in your ad. These interactive elements are a great way to increase brand awareness and engage with your audience. A survey showed that 58% of people have been more interested in a brand / product after seeing it in Stories.

This ad for Life360 designed by Maryia Dziadziulia uses snippets of people’s lives, sharing and expressing moments as they happen. Their ad gives a sense of community as a way to connect with their audience.

Time to create great Facebooks ads!

Now that you have these tips, you can create a great set of Facebook ads that will help your brand and products get the attention it deserves.

If at any point you feel overwhelmed by all the ad specifications, compositions or even font choices, don’t sweat it. Our expert Facebook ad designers can not only save you time, energy and a lot of headaches, they will create stunning ads in the process.

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