Great ads are more than just pretty pictures. In this post, we’re zooming in on what makes a truly eye-catching creative (and one that sells, at that). 

You don’t have to be a designer-photographer-stylist extraordinaire to get a positive return on your ad creatives. You just need to know the guidelines while sprinkling in a few of the tips below to produce something your potential customers will love!

Through this series of tips, we’ll show you how to stop the endless social media scroll and awe your audience. Think about when you’re checking in on the goings-on, scrolling through your Instagram like a madwoman, when something flashy catches your eye. This is what you, as an advertiser, need to be aware of and emulate to create a great ad. 

Keep your customer in mind and ask thyself when creating ads, “What stops thee in scrolling, and therefore, what will stop thy in scrolling?”

1. Interactive movement

Don’t worry – you don’t have to be a videographer! You can use Facebook’s ad creation tool to simply upload photos to make a slideshow or a video with text overlay.

2. Color and contrast

Bright colors stop users from scrolling but so does negative space. Play around with both, but don’t stray too far away from your existing brand’s attributes.

We’ve found that high-contrast and slightly over-saturated photos tend to out-compete others. Turn up the contrast and saturation ever so slightly to make your ad POP!

3. Emphasize text

Text matters. When you see something while scrolling that your brain wants to process, it can be more efficiently understood depending on its size
 
Highlight triggering words that you’d like to get across to your audience quickly by increasing their size. Be highly selective when you do so, adding emphasis to one spot rather than every bit of text on an ad. 
 
Be sure and use   Facebook’s Image Text Check  to ensure your ad’s compliant!
Pro tip: create folders in Instagram to save any ads or imagery that stopped you in your tracks (scroll).

4. Size matters

We’ve all heard it, and we’re here to tell you – it’s true. When creating an ad, keep in mind the platform(s) you’ll be running it on. This way you can size and resize your creatives to take up maximum space, and therefore exposure, in the feed!
 
Here are the most popular ad types and platforms, and they’re preferred sizes.
 
  • Facebook Feed Desktop/Mobile: 1200px by 628px OR 1080px by 1080px
  • Carousel Ad: 1080px by 1080px
  • Instagram Feed: 1080px by 1080px
  • Facebook or Instagram Story: 1080px by 1920px
  • Video Ratio: 16:9 to 9:16
 Or take a look at this full list and specs from Facebook:
 
Facebook now lets you upload different creatives for different platforms. That way you can customize each ad to perform its best.
Simply click “Select a placement to customize” to upload different creative sizes for different platforms.
 
Here’s our last tip!

5. Don’t be a hero: use tools 

Here’s some of our favorites:

  • Canva – free and user-friendly
  • Pexels or Unsplash – free stock images
  • Adobe Spark – a tool in Adobe Suite, so it’ll cost you
  • Cut Story – intuitive phone editing app
  • Instagram Story – create an Instagram Story full of stickers + other fun movement, then download for free (easiest video ad
Now there’s nothing standing in the way of your brand and profitable ads! Get creative and seek feedback from your teammates or influencers in your field.
 
Before we forget, Happy Holidays! While you’re tying up this year’s loose ends, how about you let us save you some time. Check out our   Holiday Backgrounds + Step-by-Step Instructions – this education includes 10 unique holiday-themed graphics in all + four versions of each for a total of 40 visual assets (transparent PNG files).
 
Find and spy on your competition to launch better Facebook and Instagram Ads
Honestly, launching ad campaigns can be scary. You don’t want to waste a bunch of money on ads that don’t convert. 
 
Our first piece of advice? Don’t reinvent the wheel. The smartest marketer in the room knows what their competition is up to. Pull existing inspiration from your industry to educate yourself on what’s already working. Now, here’s how we’d recommend you spy on your competitors.
Find the Competition
If you don’t already know who your competitors are, here is a simple way you can find them. 
 
Go to your Instagram profile, then click the arrow next to “Contact”. Instagram should populate with various accounts that are similar to yours. Go through them to find some direct competitors. Then repeat this process on those competitors’ profiles to find more competitors.
Find your competitors on Instagram
Make a List
 
Make a list of 3-5 top competitors you admire in your space. We like to add ours to a spreadsheet that lists the competitor’s assets like Instagram, their following and website. That way, we can quickly check up on these accounts.
Make a list of your competition
Spy on their Marketing 
 
Your next step is to see what type of ads your competition is running. Never copy and paste their work. That’s not only plagiarism, but your audience will see right through it. 
 
Simply go to  The Facebook Ad Library and type in your first competitor’s name. Facebook will populate all the ads this page has run. Take note of the following.
Use the Facebook Ad Library to see what ads your competition is running
1. How long has the ad been running:
  • Usually, longevity means it’s a winner.
Facebook Ad Library
2.  What creative is being used:
  • Do they have lots of videos? If so, are they educational videos, testimonials, slideshows? Do they run carousel ads? Catalog campaigns?
Facebook Ads Library Your Competitions Ads
3.  What copy works:
  • Is their copy short or long? Are they offering discounts or coupon codes? Are they educating in the copy of going straight to the offer?
Long versus short copy Facebook Ads
4.  See where people are being sent:
  • Click their CTA buttons to view their landing page. Are they sending customers straight to a product page on their website or to a longer sales page (to warm up leads)?
Checkout where your competition is sending their traffic, Facebook Ad Library
5. See who’s being targeted:
  • Click on the CTA button and learn more about who they’re targeting by looking at their UTMs.
Checkout your competitions UTMs to see who they are targeting
6. Get on the list:
  • Sign up for their email list to see what their opt-in flow is like. Do they send educational content? Do they run promos? What type of ads do they serve you after you’re on their list?
7. Abandon checkout:
  • Go to your competitor’s site and move through their checkout flow. Enter all your information then abandon your cart. See what type of abandoned cart email sequence and ad campaign you get. Do they offer a coupon code? Do they push any type of scarcity (Ex. “This offer is ending soon!”)

And that’s how you can easily spy on your competition and launch better Facebook ads!

Of course, you could always off load the ad work.   Schedule a free strategy call with our team    to discuss social media advertising that stacks up to the competition.

facebook advertising catalog social marketing
Ever heard of the Facebook Catalog? Often called a Dynamic Product Ad (DPA), it’s basically a database of your products ready to advertise and sell.
facebook catalog Dynamic Product Ads
Ad features clothing brand Lou & Grey, a fave among our team for standout fashion pieces.
 
 It connects directly to your site to collect information on your inventory, like whether a product is stocked and if a price or description changes. Your catalog can even pull information from your store on a daily basis in order so your catalog ad campaigns stay up to date.
 
Your Facebook catalog allows you to dynamically retarget users based on the product they viewed and deep link them directly back to that product page. When you connect your catalog to your Instagram account and Facebook page, those users can shop your profiles directly. You can even create multiple product sets in your catalog to create specific upsells and cross-sells based on what a user did or didn’t do on your site.
 
The Facebook catalog is so great because it’s an adaptable tool. It’s generally the first ad campaign we recommend launching as it can retarget users that are the lowest hanging fruit – you can send people who’ve clicked into or abandoned their cart directly back to the product pages they first viewed. In this way, these ads tend to yield the highest returns for one’s business.
 
So without further ado, we’re going to show you our favorite ways to spice up your catalog to get even more bang for your buck!
1. Stand out with a frame
dynamic product ad facebook creative examples
A video ad we made for Mother-in-Law’s Kimchi – illustrates this product’s probiotic pop with a super simple frame-by-frame animation!
 
We already know color can help catch the attention of a scrolling user, so adding a colorful frame to your product catalog to show off that mouthwatering deal will almost certainly seal the sale.
2. Be relevant
facebook advertising targeting copywriting social media
If you wanna recipe for Chocolate Banana Pancakes with Bone Broth Protein, you gotta check out Ancient Nutrition.
 
In your catalog, you can dynamically retarget people that abandoned their cart and be super relevant when you speak to them through ad copy.
3. Make a slideshow
You must have multiple photos in your Shopify product page for this one to work – great way to showcase lifestyle product photos along with your run-of-the-mill product photos! 
 
If you’ve got several product photos for each product, create a product catalog – this way, each frame is its own slideshow and catches the attention even more from the scroller!
4. Get creative
facebook slideshow example baby food
Playful catalog ad for Serenity Kids – can’t resist a cute little veggie garden.
 
Get creative and interactive by making a wide motif with copy they’ll want to read until the end. Here, the labels each have a clear subject that highlights what sets the brand apart to naturally entice the reader to continue a story or idea by clicking through the entire carousel. Try publishing the same ad with different subject lines and copy to see which tests better with your audience.
We hope you enjoyed some of our favorite ways to spice up your Facebook catalog. If you’re not constantly looking for ways to entertain your audience, you’re not doing it right. For more inspo, browse Facebook’s Ad Library or read another one of our related blog posts: 5 Key Tips to Producing  Profitable Facebook & Instagram Ads.
 

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