How to choose a good image for your social media ads

August 9, 2019

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I’ve talked previously about how people are visual beings and how important it is to choose engaging photos or videos when posting online. We live in a world where everyone is online most of the time and the amount of content we’re exposed to is ever increasing, which makes it harder to separate the things we care about from the things we don’t.

By using an impactful image, you should be able to grab your followers’ attention and make them pause on your ad when scrolling down through endless other posts. But by now you might be asking: how do I know if I have a good photo?

Although there is no magic solution and you can never be 100% sure your customers will like the photo you choose, we can give you a few tips to create the best possible visuals for your online ads.

#1: Check the requirements of the social network

The first thing to do when you think you know which photo you want to post is to check whether it fits the requirements laid down by the social platform you are advertising on. Each one has different settings and resolutions, so depending on where you are advertising, you may have to make some changes to your photos.

Here are the requirements for Facebook, Instagram, Google and Bing:

#2: Make sure your photo is of sufficient quality

This step is a bit more subjective because not everyone thinks alike. However, there are a few things we can all agree on when it comes to photographs to be used online.

One is the fact that no one likes very dark photos, where you cannot even understand at first glance what is in the picture. So my advice is that you make sure to use a photo that is nice and light and clearly shows what you want to display.

Is it a photo of a dish in a restaurant? Make sure the food looks appetising. Is it a photo of an item of clothing? Make sure that the item is free of wrinkles and clearly visible when scrolling past the photo.

Although these may seem simple examples, you have probably seen some ads with terrible photos and that can have a major impact on how they perform, so before posting an ad, maybe ask someone what they think of it or create a draft and see how it looks on your own mobile phone, because it is always easier to view something on desktop.

#3: If you don’t have a good photo, search for one.

Many people think it is better to post a poor-quality photo than not posting anything at all. Although that can be the case, there are other options for when the perfect picture is just not possible.

When you need to find a photo, you should search for royalty-free stock photos that you can use in your ads; these usually are of great quality. Here are some of my favourite websites for free stock photos: Unsplash; Pexels; Burst. If you are in the food business, you should also definitely check FoodiesFeed.

#4: Create your own visual assets

Sometimes the best thing for your ad may not be a photo; sometimes an asset that has been specially created can be more useful. So if you want to try out some different things, ask a designer to create a few options for your ads using advanced design tools such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. These offer great opportunities to make your ad pop and stand out from the others, which will mostly just use photos.

If, on the other hand, you lack the resources to hire a designer, there are a few free online tools that can help you create something to complement your ads, such as Canva. However, bear in mind that your visual assets shouldn’t have too much text on them and that it’s always best to keep it simple. So if you are not confident about your design skills, then maybe stick to a good old photo!

Need help coming up with assets for your ads? Let me know!

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