Anton Johansson

Creative creatives

When designing ads for Facebook you need to keep in mind the principles of any advertising; Relevance, value proposition and a single call to action.
Creative graphics you can help you achieve all these things. Whether it’s just adding a text to an image, graphics play a vital role in capturing your audience’s attention – and that is exactly what you want to do!

Here are some tips on how (and why) to make your ads pop, your copies appeal to your audience’s psychology and to help you win over your fans.


1 – Image

First of all, use the right image size. Facebook allows advertisers to upload images in different sizes, so make sure your Facebook ad design is at least the standard. By following the guidelines you make sure that your ads look good on every screen! (Facebook, 2017)

 Color psychology!
Audiences online have limited attention spans. They’re powering through websites and newsfeed, digesting information at a million miles an hour. The only way to grab their attention is to stand out from everything that is competing for their attention.
That is where color comes in.

If you’re not utilizing the psychological powers that different colors have you are missing out on an important creative force that every top advertising pro is using.
Do some and use that knowledge to make the human brain work for you instead of against you. (Neil Patel & Ritika Puri, 2014)

Use highly contrasted colors.
Higher contrasts help to draw more attention to your ad. Create ads that contrast with the entire newsfeed.

Add your value proposition in the ad image.
Your ad image is probably the first thing people notice, therefore it’s a smart idea to place your key message right there in the image. Just remember Facebooks “20% rule” regarding the amount of text allowed on ad images. So try not to have too much text in your images and videos. (Karola Karlson, 2017)

People like people.
There’s a well known psychological effect called Pareidolia that causes humans to look for faces in everyday objects. Studies show that there’s even a specific group of cells in our brains that fire only when we see a face. With other words, people love to see faces – so use that in your Facebook ads! (Jason Allan, 2015)

Be creative and make the image stand out, but be careful not to be offensive or too strong.


2 – Video

Here goes the same as for image– make sure you are using the right size! You can’t capture your audience’s attention with a video that has the same quality as The Hangover Part III.

According to Facebook 75% of all mobile data will be video by 2020.
A video ad should be as short as it can be, and as long as it needs to be. Keep in mind, though, that shorter videos of 15 seconds or less have eligibility across all Facebooks placements and have an advantage in the feed environment. (Facebook, 2017)

So, how do you capture attention and deliver a full message in 15 seconds or less. Well, it isn’t always a piece of cake.

It’s smart to start with most attractive elements and too hook people with your most engaging content. Make your audience feel captivated about your message and choose your thumbnail wisely. If you have a celebrity or a recognizable product – let people know right away!

Design for sound off
As much as 85% of Facebooks video views happen with the sound off, according to multiple publishers. The news shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, with the Auto-Play function in mind. (Sahil Patel, 2016)

With that being said, you should capture attention and deliver the message within the first couple of seconds – without sound!
Try to tell your story visually, sight and motion are the foundation of feed. Text and graphics are great tools to make your message easier to understand in a sound off environment, if your customer chooses to watch it with sound it should add value!

Experiment with framing
Remember that your story doesn’t need to be limited to the newsfeed frame. Be creative and experiment with framing. Try to make a vertical video, crop the video to square or why not to a fullscreen Insta-story format?


3 – Copy

Make sure you tie your text to your visual material; your copy and image or video should complement each other when delivering a clear message.

Less is more
The “less is more” concept rings true when it comes to getting your message across the world of advertising. You need to make your ad easy to scan and understand in seconds. This is hard for some marketers to accept. They spend a lot of time writing and adjusting the text, explaining everything about the product – but instead they end up getting the audience bored. Keep it short and concise!

Rational and emotional
An important thing to remember when you’re creating your Facebook ads is that people are emotional creatures, not only logical ones. Sure, a list of product features might sell to the rational part of some users, but you should tell your audience about the benefits they are going to receive. Find the pain point they are struggling with and tell them about how your product or service will change that. (Massimo Chieruzzi, 2016)

Ask questions
Asking a question is one of the most powerful techniques to retain a person’s attention, it tends to engage users and divert their attention from the fact that they view an ad.

The power of the word free
Free beer, free money, free food. We love the word free and are always the on the lookout for it. This is an effective technique when it comes to advertising. I’m not saying you should give away your products for free.
For example, you could make something for free that’s a part of a buying product.
You can also use free as a lead generation device. Give away helpful information for free is an effective way to spread your content. Just remember that you can’t do it without people actually read it and get value out of it. (Massimo Chieruzzi, 2016)

Add urgency
There is nothing we hate more than missing out on a great deal just because we were a little late and when we see an opportunity arise, we don’t want to let it slip through our fingers. Use words and phrases that indicate time like “Only today”, “Now” and “This week”.

Be credible
Without trust and credibility you’ll never convince a user to buy your product, give out their email address or establish any relationship.


3 – General

Never assume anything, always test everything
When you’re creating an ad, take the time to come up with a couple of different versions and test them. Try out ads with different copy, different colors and different formats to different audiences.

The final, and most essential, key is to track your progress. You need to know what’s working and what’s not – and why! Once you have discovered that, you can adjust elements to different audiences in order to always achieve the highest possible performance.




We are now going to do some external environment monitoring. With other words we are going to do as all the pro advertisers do to improve their advertising skills. By looking at others work we force ourselves to reflect over what’s working and what’s not and we bring that knowledge with us in our own work.

OK, so let’s look at some ads!
Open up your phone and start scrolling down your feed in Facebook or Instagram. Rather soon an ad will appear, you’ll now it’s an ad when it is labeled “sponsored” right under the profile name.

Start asking yourselves questions like;

How do you think the targeted audience looks?
What kind of message do you think the advertiser wanted to send? Did he succeeded and why?
Reflect over what kind of creative it is. Is it a video, an image or multiple images? How credible is the copy? Do you believe in what is said? Is it the optimal solution for the targeted audience?

What would you have done different?

Keep up this work for a couple of ads a day and notice how you’ll develop as a reflective designer!




Reference list

Allan, J. (2015). How to design Facebook ads that get results. [Electronic]

Chieruzzi, M. (21 sep 2016). Secrets the pros use to create great Facebook ads design. [Electronic]

Facebook. (2017). Creative tips for short form videos. [Electronic]

Karlson, K. (26 april 2017). 25 Facebook ad design hacks for major success. [Electronic]

Patel, N & Puri, R. (19 mars 2014). The complete guide to understanding consumer psychology. [Electronic]

Patel, S. (17 maj 2016). 85 percent of Facebook video is watched without sound. [Electronic]

Stööp, A. (17 nov 2017). Preparing your campaigns for the festive season. [Electronic]