With a handful of options for campaign objectives, five different ad formats, and audience targeting tools, it’s understandable that your first look at advertising on Facebook may have you pining for the days when simple print ads in the Sunday paper reigned supreme. But with more than 1.8 billion users per month, you can’t not advertise on Facebook.
Here, we’ll take a look at three Facebook ad formats that you can totally win at sans video production skills: Single image, Carousel, and Slideshow. The secret to all of them is jaw-dropping, eye-popping, downright dazzling still images. Which you can make with the tools on PicMonkey.com when you’re at your computer, and the PicMonkey mobile app when you’re, well, mobile.
Sound scary? It’s not—promise! In fact, it’s so easy, you can whip up an effective Facebook ad while mouthing all the words to that one T-Swift song you pretend not to know (Try it. You know you wanna). Check out this quick video for a look at the process with the PicMonkey mobile app.
How to make a Facebook ad:
- Head to Facebook Ads Manager on your computer or use the Ads Manager mobile app.
- Choose an objective (like “Brand awareness” or “Lead generation”) for your campaign from the listed options. These determine which ad formats are available to you.
- Define your audience and set your budget.
- Choose one of the five available ad formats.
- Get your images ready! Beautify photos with editing tools and make eye catching designs. The intuitive tools on PicMonkey.com and/or in the PicMonkey mobile app are here to help you unlock your creativity.
- Use your images to create your ad on Facebook. The process will vary slightly depending on the ad format you chose. Facebook will walk you through it all.
- Choose your ad placements (desktop newsfeed, mobile newsfeed, right column, Instagram, etc.) You can also select Automatic Placements and let Facebook do this for you.
- Preview your ad and place your order. Facebook will review your ad and send you a confirmation email when it’s live.
And remember, adding your images to Hub lets you take your projects from PicMonkey.com to the PicMonkey mobile app (and back again) so you can use all of your fave editing features, and access your images from your phone or desktop.
Now let’s focus on step five, and take a look at the specifics for designing single image, carousel, and slideshow Facebook ad formats.
Single image Facebook ads
If you have one fabulous photo (or a pic with high-school-valedictorian-level potential), a single image Facebook ad is the way to go. This simple ad format couples your image with a short bit of copy, and it’s arguably the easiest type of Facebook ad to create.
Here’s the lowdown on single image Facebook ads:
- Image dimensions: 1200 x 628
- Image aspect ratio: 1.9:1
- Headline: 25 characters
- Above-your-image text: 90 characters
- Link description: 30 characters
Your ad will look different depending on where it displays—for example, the text with the suggested 90 character limit would appear above the image (like a caption) if this ad was displaying in the desktop newsfeed, but instead it appears below the image here because this is a right column ad, and the link description does not display. Sticking to the above guidelines ensures that your ad looks as beauteous as possible everywhere it shows up.
Before you start building your single image ad in Facebook, give it a boost with a few essential edits in the PicMonkey Editor, or on the PicMonkey mobile app. Play around with photo effects, touch-up tools (if you’re using a people picture), overlays, and text until you achieve design perfection.
One lil’ note: If you’re going the word route, keep them to a minimum. Technically, Facebook’s infamous 20% rule is defunct, but not much has changed. Instead of shunning images with more than 20% text, Facebook now has four categories for image/text combos: OK, Low, Medium, and High. The more text you have, the closer you get to High, and the less reach your ad will see (even though you’re paying for it).
Wanna take the worry out of sizing and text-to-image ratios? Plop your beautiful pic into one of PicMonkey’s Facebook ad templates. Each one of ’em was professionally designed to thwart the text/image ratio goblins, so your ad gets as much reach as possible. Customize your template as much as you like, then double check your final design with Facebook’s handy tool.
Carousel Facebook ads
Carousel Facebook ads feature up to 10 images and/or videos with individual headlines and links in a single ad. Each image is included as a “carousel card.” Viewers can scroll through the cards by clicking the arrows that appear if they’re on a computer, or by swiping if they’re on a mobile device.
Here’s the 411 on image and copy requirements for Facebook carousel ads:
- Image dimensions: 1080 x 1080
- Image aspect ratio: 1:1
- Headline: 40 characters
- Above-your-carousel images/caption text: 90 characters
- Link description: 20 characters
Just like single image Facebook ads, Carousel ads will look slightly different depending on where they’re displayed. The guidelines above are Facebook’s recommendations for making sure your ad looks sharp everywhere. Carousel right-column ads will show with the first two images and won’t be scrollable.
The key to crafting an effective, polished carousel Facebook ad is consistency—nobody wants to look at a disjointed assemblage of random images. To make your images look like they go together, try using the same photo effect, photography style, background color, and/or font on all of them.
One popular technique involves breaking one image into multiple cards. This not only ensures that must-have consistency, but also makes viewers want to see the next part of your picture. (You can also crop one pic or design into multiple cards super quick with the Crop tool in the Editor).
Facebook advertising aficionados have already discovered a whole mess of creative uses for the carousel format. Like:
- Displaying multiple products, with links to buy each one.
- Showing multiple uses for one product.
- Demonstrating how a product works.
- Highlighting features of a brand or product.
- Enticing viewers by sharing information. For example, Target made a carousel Facebook ad that features a different dish on each card, labeled Monday-Friday, and all of the ingredients can be purchased at—you guessed it—Target. (Check it out on Facebook’s carousel format example page).
One more helpful tidbit about Facebook carousel ads: Facebook can automatically order your cards based on how each one performs. If you need the cards to display in a certain order, make sure to leave the “Automatically show the best performing images and links” box unchecked when you build your ad. And if your images have text on them, make sure to put each one through Facebook’s tool (mentioned above) to make sure it passes the text/image ratio test.
Slideshow Facebook ads
Slideshow Facebook Ads stitch images, music, and text together to make mini videos. Facebook touts Slideshows as a great option for advertisers who wanna get in on the benefits of video without acquiring the necessary skills and/or production costs, and as an alternative to traditional video if your ad is going to run in parts of the world where connection speeds make video problematic. This fancy-schmancy “video light” ad format is easy to create and perfect for storytelling, so think of ways to visually tell your brand story or customer success stories. It’s also frequently used to showcase new products and show off product features (like we did with the variety of photo effects in this ad).
For slideshow Facebook ads:
- You can use 3-10 images. You can also create a slideshow from a video file.
- For best results, your images should be 1280 x 720 pixels.
- Recommended image aspect ratios: 16:9, 1:1, or 2:3.
- Pay special attention to the image you choose to use as your video thumbnail. This is the image that displays before and after your slideshow plays, so it needs to look extra spiffy.
To make sure your slideshow Facebook ad looks high-end, make the images you’re going to use look their best with basic edits and photo effects, and make sure they’re all the same size. If your images aren’t the same size, Facebook will crop your slideshow into a square. If you wanna resize your pics without cropping, head to Resize in the Basic Edits tab in the PicMonkey Editor.
Hot tip for choosing your images: Facebook recommends using product shots if you’re targeting high-intent customers (people who have been to your site or store) and lifestyle imagery if you’re trying to snag new visitors.
After your ad goes live
Once your beautiful ad ventures out into the wild and starts singing its siren song to Facebookers everywhere, it’s time to pat yourself on the back and start monitoring its performance. Facebook’s Ads Manager provides all kinds of data and reports to help you understand how your ad is doing, with categories like “Engagement” and “Conversions.”
As you create more Facebook ads, test different creative (that’s your copy, CTAs, and images) to learn what works best. You may also want to try split testing to gain valuable audience insights.
Turn inspiration into action. Treat yourself to the creative toolkit that we call PicMonkey Premium.