So you’ve tried it all:
And yet, your conversion rates are still too low.
Perhaps you checked industry benchmarks and feel you’re missing out. Or you’re simply not satisfied with it but you tried everything and …. now you’re stuck. Or are you?
You see, Facebook ads aren’t just text. Images you use have an effect on their performance too.
And in this post, I’ll show you some ways to make them more appealing to your audience.
Images Affect Conversions
I’m sure you know this already:
Images can affect a person’s behavior.
Number of studies proved that images could alter what a person’s going to do.
According to this article by The British Psychological Society, placing a poster featuring a pair of staring eyes beside the honesty box makes more people to actually put money into it.
A study by Mark Rubin from the University of Newcastle (cited in the aforementioned article) found that showing pictures of companionship increased the participants’ desire to help others but also, to seek help for themselves.
Another study conducted by researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles and George Washington University analyzed the effect of TV ad images on our brains.
Using electroencephalography researchers analyzed the effect of two types of ad images:
One containing the so-called “logical persuasion” (LP) meaning that the ad and its graphic merely presented facts about a product, and
One containing ‘non-rational influence” (NI), circumventing the customers’ awareness by using vague, fun or even sexy images that have nothing to do with the product.
And the result?
Logical persuasion ads activated regions in the respondents’ brains responsible for decision-making and emotional processing. These are the same brain regions that help prevent impulse purchases, for instance.
However, when seeing NI ads, these regions did not show the same activity levels.
The study concludes:
“These results suggest that the lower levels of brain activity from ads employing NI images could lead to less behavioral inhibition, which could translate to less restraint when it comes to buying products depicted in the NI advertisements.” (source)
It therefore goes without saying:
Images you use in ads can help attract users to click. Or deter them from the ad completely.
Luckily, there are some things you can do to ensure the former.
Before we talk about that though, let’s discuss one more thing:
Images in Facebook Ads
The social network has some strict rules about using images in ads.
You can’t use images that portray a product’s nonexistent functionality.
You also can’t feature “before and after” images or those showing unexpected or unlikely results.
Your ad images can include text but only if it takes less than 20% of the image (there are however some ways around it).
Finally, there are different image sizes depending on the type of an ad and placement you use. I’m going to piggy back on Jon Loomer’s infographic depicting every ad image size you can use.
So how can you improve your Facebook ads images?
1. Use Images Showing Emotions
Apparently the best images to use in Facebook ads are those of happy women.
I’m not sure if this is particularly true. Or at least I couldn’t find any scientific evidence to confirm this claim.
The truth is that including emotions is one of the oldest mind tricks used in advertising.
Advertisers use emotional appeal to generate an emotional response that in turn will motivate the ad’s respondent to take action. The most common emotions used for that purpose are greed, exclusivity, fear and vanity.
And… it works:
According to Neurosciencemarketing, campaigns with purely emotional appeal perform better than those with rational or mixed appeals.
And there’s a very good reason for that.
Emotional advertising seeks to include symbols denoting emotions to communicate those states directly to us.
And we’re in fact very good recipients of emotional advertising.
We scan an ad and immediately recognize cues and symbols that help us relate it to a real life.
Smile on a young, successful woman’s face immediately suggests happiness but also, control of one’s destiny, fulfillment and many others things we might seek in our lives. And thus, our brain concludes that by emulating her we might gain the same benefit.
And thus, including images communicating emotions (not only happiness, charity organizations often use shocking images that make us feel pity and increase our willingness to help) can increase the effectiveness of your ads.
2. Use Contrasting Colors to Grab Attention
In today’s world, a strong and recognizable brand is everything.
No matter what marketing materials you produce they all have to relate to your brand.
On occasion, moving away from certain aspects of a brand might actually help.
Like when you’re running advertising on Facebook, for instance.
Your goal for the Facebook ad image is first and foremost to make the ad stand out and grab the user’s attention.
If your ad image features colors that blend with Facebook’s color scheme, there is a big chance that it will disappear on the page though.
But if it features colors that contrast and stand out on a page you can be sure users will notice it.
Orange or Red Border
Another trick is to wrap your image in orange or red border.
Orange is complimentary to blue and thus, will provide the greatest contrast to Facebook’s color scheme.
(Image courtesy of Buffer)
Red, even though it isn’t exactly a blue’s complimentary color, provides strong contrast to blue. Moreover, it communicates excitement and thus, it is likely to be naturally picked up by the user.
(Image courtesy of HelpScout)
3. Include Your Value Proposition
Facebook doesn’t forbid you to add copy to ad images.
Sure, the text can’t take more than 20% of the image space but that’s often enough to include your main USP or Value Proposition, something that, if done well, is bound to attract the user’s attention.
4. Feature a Funny or Unexpected Image
I’ve already showed you research findings that proved what effect funny, wit or unexpected images; even though they aren’t related to what you’re advertising can have on the user’s brain.
Seeing such images in advertising do not activate regions in our brains responsible for decision-making and emotional processing.
And thus, we’re more likely to make impulse actions.
Like clicking on an ad for instance.
One way to include funny images that would also relate to your audience is to run a photo-based contest, asking users to submit images that you could later use in your ads.
5. Use Headshots
Lastly, here’s a trick you could use when promoting an event for instance or a marketing strategy related to a well-known person:
Use their headshot in the image.
Here’s why it works:
Since the audience is most likely already familiar with the person, seeing their picture in the news feed will arouse their natural curiosity about them.
And thus, attract their attention to the ad.
It’s that simple.
You can increase your ads conversions not only with great headline or highly focused and engaging copy but with images too.
By choosing the right image and color scheme you can grab more users’ attention and attract them to your ad.
Stuck for Ad Ideas?
Stuck for ideas of images you could use, or any other elements at all? Then check out AdEspresso’s library of Facebook Ad Examples. It contains over 1500 ad examples with their landing pages… pretty cool, huh?