How to Create a Facebook Ad That Rocks

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As the new graphic designer at Clicks and Clients, my main job is creating Facebook ads for our clients for their various campaigns and offers. I didn’t have experience, specifically, with creating ads for Facebook, so there were a few important things I learned right away:

  • Dimensions for all news feed ads (clicks to website and website conversions) are created at 1200 x 628px. Always start your Photoshop document in these pixels.
  • Facebook only allows for 20% text on ads. The best way to make sure you do this right (which I will show) is to make a grid of 25 boxes and lay it over the top of the ad once complete. Make sure no more than 5 of those boxes include text. Facebook will deny the ad if it goes over and you will be sad.
  • Color is really important. The Facebook home page has a lot to offer so your ad needs to stand out against everything else.
  • Call-to-action buttons! Usually placed in the bottom right corner because this is how we read books (left to right, bottom right is the end and will be the last place they look). These are really important. It draws the reader to, hopefully, click the ad to buy/receive/learn more about your offer. Add styles to the boxes to make them look more than just text. Make them unique.
  • Pay for your images! iStock.com is what we use and we pay for a certain amount of credits/month and have access to a huge photo/illustration bank. It’s awesome and makes my job possible. There’s no way I could track down every photographer of every Google image I find online and pay them for access, and there’s no way I could take all my own photos (how do I get to the Boston harbor and back for a photo for my ad in 5 minutes?)
  • No deceptive ad text like “Lose weight and get sexy now!” or “Make quick cash fast!”
  • SAVE, SAVE, SAVE YOUR WORK! And then save it again! All the time! Every 2 minutes! I cannot tell you how many times I have been kicked off Photoshop with no warning and had to redo things. This is bad if you’re working on a deadline

Let’s begin

I’m usually told what ads we need since (other people handle the social/Facebook side for the clients and runs the campaigns). I’m told the offer (this one is for a free real estate training webinar), given a link to the client landing page, and most of the time I just go from there. Sometimes I get the specifics of what’s wanted, and sometimes I get stuck and ask for help. Usually I make a list of keywords I can use to put my ad together (iStock.com has stock images that are tagged by keywords so it’s easy to have a list of my own to speed up the process). For this ad:

  • Real estate
  • Investing
  • Home improvement/remodeling
  • Webinar
  • House

Step 1

Get your document started with the correct pixels!

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Step 2

Find a background! Download it and place it into your file (File – Place Embedded). Make it fit and look great

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Step 3

Add some images that make sense. So this is a webinar about a real estate investing webinar … I have the picture of the tools on the background that show remodeling, now I need to show a webinar and include a house so we understand they aren’t working on a car, building a fence, etc.
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The computer here signifies the webinar, as it will be offered online. The screen was blank at one point, so I placed on top this photo of the house and made it fit the screen. Easy enough

Step 4

Throw some text on your ad. Sometimes the client knows what it wants the text to be, sometimes we brainstorm some great ideas, but in this case I found the text I’m using myself by scrolling the landing page. It was catchy and I thought it would work.
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Typography is a lot to learn and definitely would call for another post, but the main thing I can say is definitely explore font options (there are so many out there). There are a lot of awesome websites that can teach you more about typography, but a few quick things:

  • Combine a sans-serif font with a serif font (and vise versa).
  • Combining two similar fonts is not cool and will look bad (two heavy fonts, two serif fonts, etc.).
  • Stick to two fonts.
  • Combine fonts of complimentary moods.

Websites like dafont.com and fontsquirrel.com will be your best friend. Also, use a few different colors in your text. This text doesn’t really stand out against the orangey wood grain background but I like the colors of the text I used. To fix this, just add a background to the text! It’s a simple fix and now my text stands out way more.

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Step 5

This is one of the most important pieces. The call-to-action button! There are a few notes I wrote down about effective CTA buttons:

  • Contrasting colors – make it stand out!
  • Make it 3D and look like an actual button.
  • Directional cues: something to point to the CTA (this ad I am using a play button since it’s a webinar they will be playing).
  • Size: go big! This can’t hide in the corner but you also don’t want it to take the entire 20% text, so you have to get creative sometimes.

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This is my button for the ad. The blue stands out against the ad, I added a bevel to the blue rectangle to show the effect of an actual button (double click the layer so the layer style comes up – Bevel & Emboss – choose a style [I used Emboss] – choose depth and size), used a font that I already used previously in the ad (the bolder one that stands out more), and added a play button to add a directional cue.

Step 6

Check for 20% text! Usually I have the 25box grid (Google image search: Facebook grid) as the top layer of my ad and check often to avoid going back at the end and moving everything around. Typically, you want to use as much of the 5 boxes as you can so your text stands out as much as possible, but sometimes it doesn’t work that way

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The grid is on and I can verify that I did not go over 5 boxes, and 20% text is a go

And we’re done! Lastly I send the file to my boss, who runs the ad with the campaign and makes our clients a bunch of money. I hope you learned something useful!