Creating amazing photos for your products may seem intimidating. But with a bit of work, you can make great product ads that will have customers coming for more. Follow a few simple steps, and you can be creating professional-looking image ads in no time.
To create amazing Facebook and Instagram image ads, you need to brainstorm ideas, research ads from your competitors and colleagues, know what photos audiences want, understand basic photography concepts, and use proper lighting. With these tips, you can easily create eye-catching ads.
If that sounds like a lot to learn, don’t worry. By the time you get through with this article, you’ll be well on your way to taking better photos and creating amazing Facebook and Instagram ads.
Brainstorming should be an ongoing process. When you are doing 100 or more new ads a month, you need to keep coming up with innovative ideas to keep your campaigns fresh.
Facebook’s Ad Library is an excellent tool for researching your competitors and people in your industry. You can see the ads they are running, check their photos, product shots, and the ratio of photos to video. Screenshots will help you preserve these ads and use them for inspiration.
Pay careful attention to the oldest ads. If your competitor has been running the same ad for months, you can be sure that the ad is making money for them.
Check the websites of your colleagues and competitors, too, to see what works for them. Their successful ads are bringing in purchases that might go to your business.
When scrolling through Facebook, make a note of ads that catch your eye, for whatever reason. Maybe you liked the colors or some text spoke to you. Either way, you need a list of ads you find inspiring and save powerful images to help give you inspiration.
When looking through ads, keep the following in mind:
- Check the comments on your Facebook and Instagram pages to see what people are talking about. What frustrates them? What is keeping them from buying? What do they like enough to post testimonials? The more you know about your potential customers’ pain-points, the more you can offer them in the long run.
- Work hard on building community on your ad campaigns. The more you get people talking, the better you understand your audience. And the more people talk about your products, the more likely they are to buy them.
- The worst thing you can do in an ad campaign is to be boring. You want to build emotion – make people smile, make them curious, make them laugh. You can even make them sad or frustrated so long as your product offers a solution that will make them feel better.
- Comparing and contrasting can be a very effective advertising technique. Find out what you do better than your competitors and highlight those differences.
Stock images don’t do well on Facebook because they look very corporate and staged. If at all possible, get pictures of your clients or people they know using the product, but make sure your models look like your target audience. If your product is aimed at young women, photos with a young woman will appeal to them most strongly.
The best-performing photos feature models who look like the target audience, inspiring some emotion. The picture can be happy, heartwarming, or funny. But if your audience empathizes with your ad, they are more likely to follow through on conversion.
Of course, you want your product to look amazing, so work hard on finding the right background, lighting, and angle. The better your product photo looks, the more appealing your sales pitch will be. You can use galleries or single images, but I find that single photos do best for most of my ads. Still, you want to test for yourself to see what works for your ad sets.
You can take great pictures with your camera, especially if you have good lighting. But for the best shots, you may want to use a DSLR camera or hire a professional photographer.
Taking Better Photos
Knowing how photography works can help you take better pictures. Here are some useful terms which will help you understand your camera’s various settings:
- F-Stop is the amount of light that gets through your camera’s lens to the shutter. The lower the f-Stop, the more light gets through and the shallower your depth of field.
- Depth of field is the area within which your photo will be in focus. Everything else will be blurred or out of focus.
- Shutter speed is the amount of time your lens is open. A fast shutter speed like 1/1000 second will be necessary for sports photos: a slower speed will help you get better pictures in low light.
- ISO/ASA digitally boosts the light coming into the shutter but adds noise (visual distortion) to the picture. This makes them more realistic and appealing.
Intense backlighting makes a photographer’s job difficult. If the subject is in focus, the background becomes a blown-out white blur. However, if you adjust your settings to see the background, the subject gets thrown into shadow.
Similarly, when the light is directly over your subject’s head, sunken areas (eyesockets or indentations on a product) will be underexposed and protrusions will be overexposed. Adjust the light on your subject’s nose, and their eyes disappear: adjust for the eyes, and the nose becomes a big white highlight.
Shots taken at high noon must deal with a strong and unflattering light and if you try shooting without sufficient light, your photos will be dark and grainy. For the best results, aim for outdoor shooting 90 minutes after sunrise and 90 minutes before sunset.
Creating the Ads
I create my photo ads using the online tool Glorify. Glorify has an excellent background cutout tool and is designed for creating e-commerce photographs. If you want to do a square photo, you can find a background that works for you and then punch in your image.
Glorify also has packs where you can find templates and readjusts your photo sizes to fit various ad formats, letting you add colorful borders and text blocks to draw viewers’ attention. It also gives you access to many free photographs.
When you add an image to your ad, check it at different sizes. Your viewer may be seeing your ad in a sidebar, on a tablet, or on a larger desktop monitor, so make sure your ad looks good on small and large scales. You can also use your successful ads as templates simply by changing the text and images. This will allow you to preserve a brand image.
Keep in mind as well that saturating colors will make your ad stand out on the viewer’s screen. By choosing colors, you decide what message your ad sends. Some common emotional attractions associated with different colors are:
- Yellow: Happiness, positivity.
- Orange: Creativity, fun.
- Blue: Trust, security.
- Green: Health, growth.
- Red: Power, desire, love.
GIMP is a free photo editing tool that is very similar to Adobe Photoshop and Canva has many of Glorify’s features but is less focused on e-commerce. Many ad creators also use these tools.
Here are a few things I have learned in my social media advertising career:
- People love smiling faces and emotion.
- People love babies, puppies, and animals.
- Square ads (1080 x 1080) are good.
- Story version (1080 x 1920) is good.
- Optional: Horizontal version (1620 x 848).
- Create a variety of ads, but you can use 3-5 variations of each ad.
Your image ads are only as good as your photos and your layout. With the information you’ve learned here, you can create great images and turn them into ads that draw lots of attention — and customers!
If you haven’t seen it yet, check out my two-hour Facebook ad training program that takes you from beginner to expert. It’s FREE!
I also have an 18-day Facebook Ads email course where you get a new lesson every single day, and takes you through everything you need to succeed in Facebook Ads.