Facebook ad imagery

6 principals of effective Facebook Ad Imagery

Facebook released an ad image cheat sheet that seemed to list general advice on images. This caused more than a few folks to be disappointed, as they were expecting to see technical advice and image specs. What we should keep in mind though is this: Facebook ads have their own algorithm that can either work for you or against you. Similar to the News Feed algorithm that can hurt our organic reach, ads can become more expensive to run when running counter to what the algorithm wants.

This cheat sheet from Facebook is a look inside what they, and their ad algorithms are looking for from your ads. If your ad images follow these guidelines, you should expect to run less expensive ads that engage and reach more of your intended audience. With this in mind, here’s what Facebook has to say on ad images:

Facebook’s Ad Images Cheat Sheet

  1. Show the interesting part of your business. Grab people’s attention with images of your people, products and environment.

  2. Avoid distracting image elements, like bad lighting. You want people to pay attention to your image, not your image quality.

  3. Match your image to your message. Your image and words should individually convey your message but also complement each other.

  4. Use images that incite emotion. Emotion is a powerful tool for connecting with your audience.

  5. Use images that reflect your brand. Include your brand’s color or products in your images.

  6. Stay consistent. Ad images should look and feel the same across channels so that customers recognize your messages.

Refresh your images. Ad campaigns fatigue over time, so review performance and update your images when you see ad performance dip.

What about Nonprofits?

I know the language from Facebook focuses heavily on brands and for profit organizations, but these guidelines can totally be applied to nonprofits and causes as well. Let’s go through the points in more detail and look at how nonprofits can succeed.

  1. Show the interesting part of your nonprofit or cause. Grab people’s attention with images of your team, supporters and work. People support your organization because they are interested in you and your cause. Feed their interest with images of your team hard at work in the field! This will engage them further and feed their curiosity.

  2. Avoid distracting image elements, like bad lighting. You want people to pay attention to your image, not your image quality.This one is true for anyone. The problem is you can’t always help the lighting! Never fear here are some guides that will show you how even in low light it’s possible to shoot good photos.

  3. Match your image to your message. Your image should strengthen your message, not confuse it.

  4. Use images that incite emotion. Emotion is a powerful tool for connecting with your audience. There is a fine line between enough emotion to move someone to action and too much where they begin to shut down. Therefore it’s important to always use one emotion, one call to action and one target focus.Emotions should be positive and optimistic on Facebook. Even if the cause looks bleak, inspire hope that your supports can make a difference if they act now.

  5. Use images that reflect your nonprofit’s brand. Include your brand’s color(s) or logo in your images. Yes, even your nonprofit has a brand. It may not be the typical corporate brand we usually think of but it’s a brand no less. Anything that gives your nonprofit its sense of unity or personality is your brand. These are things like logos, colors, style and tone, image subjects and more.Chances are your nonprofit already has a brand, you just haven’t thought of it that way. Here’s a good example of five nonprofits who maintain a consistent brand to give you a better idea.

  6. Stay consistent. Ad images should look and feel the same across channels so that supporters recognize you and your cause.This is true for anything you do, not just ads. Similar to branding, this is important to build and maintain so that supporters can recognize you and your cause across different platforms. This is becoming increasing important as we use more and more platforms for interaction and out reach.

Bonus

  1. Images + text are a winning duo. Similar to memes, these have the power to engage and reach tons of people you normally may not have. Put a little ad money behind it and they are even more powerful. Just keep in mind that Facebook ad images can only contain 20% text so don’t get carried away. Facebook supplies a great tool that you can use to make sure your images meet the mark.

  2. Actions make for great ad content. If you have an action that is doing particularly well it may be worth putting some ad money behind and giving it an extra boost. You can do so by choosing to “Promote a Post” inside the ad manager then picking your Action post.

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You can download or bookmark Facebook’s full pdf here.

While choosing images for your ad is both an art and science, these general best practices are definitely worth following. Have fun, experiment and listen to your audience. They will lead you in the right direction.