Getting the most out of your images for Facebook Ads

Posted on 11 Aug 2016
Reader Question:

Doctor Digital, I read in your last blog post that the image in a Facebook ad gets 80% of the traction. Wow, have you got any tips for getting that right?

Doctor Digital Says:

I love it when questions come in that clearly demonstrate attention to blog detail. And yes, that statistic found in the blog here on Facebook ads is pretty eye opening. There are some subtleties in getting the image right, and as you are paying in a competitive market for impressions and engagement, it is critical that you give your audience exactly that.

If you are a small business, you may think small in how you approach your advertising on Facebook. It may well be time if this is the key place you source your customers to start to put your whole foot in the water. You need more than one image and one ad for a successful campaign. After reading numerous posts from experts the consensus is clear, some businesses use up to 100 different images to split test their market. Now this is obviously the extreme end of the game, but you need to have a selection of images designed with different copy texts. For a smaller business you might test two images, two texts, four in total being used simultaneously.

So what does that winning design look like? Straight up, photos of people are the most highly engaged with. Illustrations can be cute and cutting edge design aesthetically pleasing but nothing seems to speak to humans like images of other humans doing that thing you are trying to sell. If you want to get your ads clicked on, and a conversion to happen, you have to grab your customers and potential customers attention so they actually read your ad. Not just adult humans are popular. Children, pets and baby animals also have high level appeal. And when I say pets think mainstream like kittens and puppies, not axolotl and tarantulas.

The right design is what facilitates this move from eye passing to eye catching in a very crowded channel. I mentioned how a human has a lot of appeal, even more so is a human face in close up with clearly visible eyes. Use some contrast and get the image to pop. Make sure your people are looking happy, smiling, relaxed or any of the emotions that you want conveyed by your brand and products.

One common trick is to use Instagram style filters on your image to make it strong and desirable. The use of Instagram filters has become a closely observed and measured science, and in terms of using filters on humans, turns out, filters that increase the warmth, exposure and contrast of your snaps are most likely to lead to more conversions. That means filters like Mayfair, Valencia, Hefe, Nashville and Aden will flatter your humans, whereas Hudson and Clarendon are best avoided.

Knowing what type of talent to cast or use in photos is directly linked to your understanding of your demographic. Doing the work on your avatar and who it is you are selling to pays off when you are nuancing your Facebook advertising. If you have a couple of different groups that you are targeting in your business, you need to have a buyer persona for each of them. Each of these personas drills down the detail of the buyer motivations for your product, what they want, what their aspirations are, what their fears and dreams are. When it comes to choosing an image for your design, you should have a clear picture in your head who it is you are targeting in your ads and appeal to them by showing them that person they aspire to be.

Don’t forget to make sure your logo is prominent in your ad in a way that compliments the image you have selected. There should be an overall alignment with your brand and theme and adherence to your style guide across your advertising campaigns so when customers click across to your landing page they have a sense of familiarity and trust. Remember to test what people respond to for your own business, and of course watch your sector to see what’s working for other businesses competing for your audience.