While there are numerous ways to increase visual ad performance, for example optimizing headlines and descriptions, the optimization of a visual ad begins with the graphic or video design. In this guide, we will cover tips to creating highly effective graphic image ads and highly effective video ads. 

The first tip is to create multiple ads to split test for each platform. Three of the most popular platforms, Google, Facebook, and YouTube, each have different requirements to post an ad and each is used to target different audience segments. 

General Pointers

Specifications for each platform: Google | Facebook | YouTube

In general, creating image ads specific to Google and Facebook is recommended. Creating three separate video ads to fit the need for a 15-second video, 6-second video, and longer video is also recommended. 

Google – Create an ad for each ad size offered by the platform to increase exposure. Create an animated GIF ad to test alongside your static image ads.

Facebook – Images cannot contain more than 20% text or 125 characters. This tool will tell you if your ad meets the requirement. You can also advertise video ads on Facebook using the 15-second video created for YouTube.

YouTube – Create a 15-second ad and another longer ad. The 15-second ad should be catchy, while the longer ad can be anything. Don’t worry, we’ll explain this later. Bonus: create a 6-second ad if you’d like to utilize Bumper Ads. Read on to find out more!

Types Of YouTube Ads

TrueView Ads – TrueView ads include both In-Stream ads and standard Video Discovery ads. We’ll use the 15-second video ad for In-Stream purposes and the longer video ad for Video Discovery purposes.

Preroll Ads – Preroll ads are just like In-Stream ads, but they appear before a video and are non-skippable. 

Bumper Ads – Bumper ads play before shorter videos. Keep in mind that can be tough to maximize 6 seconds, so keep it simple. Hint: If your longer ad has an attention grabber in the first 5 seconds, you may be able to use that clip for your Bumper Ads.

YouTube Ad Examples: 



Video Discovery

Things To Consider When Creating A Visual Ad

Consider the venue.

On social media, the ad should include real photos of real things that include your product in them. You can take these shots yourself or you can source these types of photos from your followers. 

In this ad, you can see that Michael Kors has put their product into a photo that seamlessly fits into the theme of the platform. 

Consider your target audience.

With the power to segment your audience based on their demographics, it’s important to design an ad that speaks to the audience segment being targeted. 

If the image is being targeted to your remarketing audience, you want to use language that invites them back to your website or even includes a promotion. 

Choose A Theme

A theme can be just about anything, but the most effective ads typically play towards things like comedy, emotion, desire, shock, or sex. 

Comedy: There’s no doubt that humor works in advertising. Incorporating an industry-related joke can be a highly effective way to grab your customer’s attention. 

Emotion: Playing towards one of the four base emotions, happiness, sadness, surprise/anger, or disgust is an intelligent way to drive traffic to your website. 

Desire: Advertising to your audience’s wants and needs drives them to take action. 

Shock: Shock your audience with imagery that catches their attention. 

Offer A Great Discount

People love to feel like they are getting a killer deal. Including a discount or an exclusive code in your ad is a surefire way to bring people to your website. Offering an even deeper discount to people who are on your remarketing list can increase the likelihood that they buy. 

We recommend testing different discounts, however, there is science behind using percentage discounts over specific dollar amounts. A study published in Entrepreneur Magazine found that people perceive a percentage discount as being a better deal than a specific dollar amount when the product is inexpensive. People perceive a dollar discount as being a better deal when the product expensive. As always, A/B test this to find out which discount type converts better for you.

Choose The Right Color

Different colors provoke different feelings so consider this when choosing the color in your ad.

These are the psychological associations people tend to make with different colors.

Green – Wealth & Nature. Stores use this color to promote relaxation as it’s an easy color to process. 

Blue – Trust & Security. 

Red – Energy. Stores use this to increase urgency on sales. You see this color on clearance signs. 

Yellow – Optimistic & Youthful. A great color to use for people who are unfamiliar with your brand. 

Orange – Aggressive. Use this for your call to action. 

Pink – Romantic & Feminine. 

Black – Powerful & Sleek. Great for high ticket items. 

White – Purity & Cleanliness.

Purple – Calm. 

Tips Specific To Video Ads

Use surprise. 

Memorable ads break the mold and add an element of surprise. You can do this by being quirky or adding something unexpected to your video. Look at examples of what advertisers in your industry are doing and challenge yourself, or your ad creator, to do something completely different. 

In this video, the CEO of Dollar Shave Club drops the F-bomb. That grabs attention. 

Inspire viewers to take action.

Start your video by outlining a problem. Share testimonials and facts to outline how important that problem is. Then, provide a solution using your company’s product. 

In this ad, Squarespace uses a testimonial/case study to convince their audience to make their next move and create a website. 

Make it nostalgic.

People have an emotional connection to their past. You can use this to your advantage by creating nostalgia. 

In this ad, Internet Explorer taps right into the 90s nostalgia.

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