Tips and Tricks to Create a Facebook Ad Design That Sells

An underperforming Facebook ad campaign is the truest form of deafening silence. Avoid disaster by learning about Facebook ad design. Here’s the scoop!

Marketing design
March 21, 2022

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Picture this: you spent a lot of time finessing your Facebook ad design and proudly launched your campaign. And then? Crickets. No replies, no likes, no clicks. That has to be the last thing your brand could use. And that’s why we’re bringing you Facebook ad design 101.

The level of audience targeting, the number of users on the platform, the analytics, and insights you gain from them. There’s no denying it: Facebook ads are effective.

There is one crucial factor that could make or break your ad, which is design. Good graphic design and Facebook ads are like peanut butter and jelly; the perfect duo. With our tips and tricks, you’ll learn the ropes on how to design effective Facebook ads.

How to design effective Facebook ads

Getting started with Facebook ad design isn’t easy. There is a lot to take into consideration. When it’s time to go to the drawing board and instantly draw a blank, know that you’re not alone.

Creating great Facebook ads is a process. An effective Facebook ad:

  • catches the attention of your audience
  • informs them who you are and what you’re offering
  • tells them why they should pick you over anyone else

We’ll start with the basics to brush up on your advertising skills.


Before jumping into the nitty-gritty of how to design Facebook ads, you need to decide which format you’re using. Currently, Facebook has eight main ad formats and several variations to them. Your design process should be based on the formats you’re using:

  • Photo - The most basic format, where you have a single image and a short header.
  • Video - Similar to the photo format, but instead showcasing a video.
  • Stories - Stories immerse viewers in a full-screen experience, which gives you the option to attract their undivided attention.
  • Messenger - An ad sent straight to your customer's inbox via Messenger.
  • Carousel - With a carousel campaign, it’s possible to showcase up to 10 individual images or videos.
  • Slideshow - Show a slideshow of images with the added option of background music.
  • Collection - With this format, you can show off a collection of images in a virtual display case.
  • Playables - Interactive ads let people play a game or use a program before downloading it.


Depending on which formats you choose for your advertisement, structure comes into play. There are several characteristics to your ad that you should include to create great Facebook ads:

  • Your business name should always be prominently displayed.
  • It’s crucial for your ad text to be interesting yet informative.
  • Good graphic design is a guaranteed eye-grabber.
  • Any ad should have a call-to-action to encourage your audience.

20 Facebook ad design hacks that sell

Facebook prefers and prioritizes visual content over written content. Images draw more attention, and that’s something you want when advertising.

Learning all about Facebook ad design is the key to a successful ad. Go from average to outstanding with these 20 hacks:

1. Contrast is key

Contrast is the design element that can put you in the limelight on Facebooks’ repetitive newsfeed. Play around using contrasting colors and text to add visual interest to your ad.

Even though it’s an example posted on Instagram stories, the contrast used by one of our designers in the below campaign instantly pulls you in.

contrast fb ad

By now, you know that visual effects are better than written ones, so add a percentage or the word ‘discount’ into your visuals. Complete your message with a timestamp to create a sense of urgency, and you’re good to go.

Make sure that people instantly recognize your ads and relate to them. Here are some tips on creating a branded look:

“Ads must not contain “before-and-after” images or images that contain unexpected or unlikely results. Ad content must not imply or attempt to generate negative self-perception in order to promote diet, weight loss, or other health-related products.”

Make sure you stay true to Facebook’s guidelines:

A carousel of images showing your product in different phases is excellent storytelling. First in its packaging, then unpacked, and then in action, for example.

From using simple icons to complex emojis and anything in between, symbols are a great way to represent your brand and make your message easier to read and understand.  

Get a little creative, by adding in wordplay, for example. Or by adding a short yet kick-ass testimonial in your visuals, like Nom Nom did.

2. Use your format wisely

Once you have decided on one of the formats we mentioned earlier, it’s crucial to design according to that format. Each format comes with different specifications in sizing, layout, and character limits.

3. Show your main message

Every millisecond counts with our short attention spans, so you better get your main message across straight away.

People will usually notice the image first, so it’s a good idea to place your message in the image. Bear in mind that according to Facebooks’ technical guidelines, no more than 20% of the image should be text.

4. Keep it short and simple

As mentioned before, heavy text ads have minimal reach on Facebook. Don’t make the mistake of overcomplicating your message. Instead, keep your message to the point.

simple copy fb ad

5. Evoke emotions

People form their relationships based on emotions - with humans as well as brands. Play on this by evoking emotions in your campaign. You can do this by using certain words that entice a feeling or by visuals.

Keep an eye out for holiday dates, and use those to evoke certain emotions. Joy during the Christmas season or romance leading up to Valentine’s. You get the point!

6. Size matters

The screens your ads are displayed on come in all shapes and sizes, so your ad must look great on each one of them.

It’s estimated that almost 80% of Facebook users log in to their accounts on their mobile phones. This is something to consider when shooting a video. Vertical videos fit the mobile screen perfectly, for example.

In advertising, size matters. Luckily, Facebook created a guide for this.

7. Include symbols

We’ve already mentioned the importance of keeping things short and sweet. If only there were a short and easy way to express a deeper meaning… But wait, there is! Symbols are your answer.

symbols fb ad

8. Use GIFs instead of images

Did you know that instead of uploading an image, you can upload a GIF? These fun, short animations are a creative way to grab the attention of your audience. Bonus points if you design one yourself, specifically for your brand.

9. Add videos

A video forces a scrolling user to stop and pay an extra second of attention before understanding what it’s about. This extra second in the digital age is considered an abundance of time; use it wisely and grab your audience's attention.  

10. Narrow down your target audience

One reason why Facebook ads are so popular is that you can specifically target your audience. And this targeting goes way beyond basic demographics such as age, gender, and location.

Make sure you get into the nitty-gritty by being as specific as possible. If you make an ad too broad, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

11. Honesty above all

Who hasn’t ever clicked on something and felt completely misled since you couldn’t find the advertised service or product? You’re left with a bitter aftertaste and a clear verdict on the brand.

Rule number one when it comes to advertising is; do not deceive your audience. Show them what they get, and make it instantly clear how to get it. There are a few ways you can do this:

  • Make your ad design and your landing page twinning. This way, you ensure those who click are on the right path.
  • Show exactly what your product looks like and how your product is being used. People like to see what they get before choosing to purchase something.
  • Make sure your copy speaks the truth while being clear and concise. No one likes clickbait.

12. Storytelling

Storytelling is the act of showing different phases in your advertisement. People love a good story, so why not let your brand star in one?

carousel fb ad

13. The hero shot

Let’s talk about the principle called the hero shot. Think of it this way: your product holds the power to transform any average Joe into a hero.

You can do this by literally adding a hero-like person into your visuals, but it isn’t limited to that. A hero shot can be of anything, as long as it helps the viewer imagine themselves enjoying the benefit of your offer.  

14. Show faces

Showing faces in your ad means a lot more engagement. It’s where most of us look when we first meet a person, and it does the same thing for Facebook ad images.

15. Be unique

It’s becoming increasingly easier to create your own Facebook ad design with free-to-use platforms popping up everywhere. Unfortunately, they don’t do much for good graphic design. Social feeds are flooded with similar visuals that use the same templates.

It will cost you a little more effort, but making sure your ad is unique and contains good graphic design will instantly set you apart from your competitors.

You may think creating ad design will cost you too much time, but remember; quality over quantity. One high-quality, creative Facebook ads design will do much more than ten low-quality ads.

16. Create a branded look

Consistency is key. This is also true for your brand, design, and advertisements.

symbols fb ad
  • Pick out one color from your logo and use it as an overlay on your images.
  • Use the same typography for each visual element of your brand.
  • Add a watermark on your social posts.
  • Illustrate different elements and use them for each visual message.

17. Discount offers are your best promoters

Everyone loves discounts, period. Why not use that to your advantage? If you run a discount campaign, make sure your audience knows it.

discounts fb ad

18. Use statistics and graphs

Do you want to ensure people actually read your ad? Throw in statistics or a graph. People will automatically like to learn what it correlates to.

19. Use color psychology to your advantage

If you think any flashy color will grab attention, think again. Color psychology is a real thing and is worth looking into if you want to learn how to design Facebook ads.

Know that each color represents an emotion. For example, yellow describes optimism, and blue is a color of trust. Link colors with the feelings you want to evoke in people. Additionally, remember that some colors carry deep meanings with them, depending on the culture.

20. Hire a pro

When it comes to designing Facebook ads, you should know that this is a job on its own. We can give you all the Facebook advertising design tips in the world; it still doesn’t ensure good graphic design.

Sometimes, it’s best to leave it up to the professionals. Instead of spending precious hours nailing your design, you could hire a designer to do things for you.

Final thoughts

Great Facebook ads help you grab the attention of your audience and tell them your story. Armed with tips and tricks and Facebook ad design inspiration, it’s now up to you to add them all together and create your own success formula.

For further tips, check out our guide on Facebook event cover size and our collection of free event cover templates.

Simone is a writer, dividing her time between native Netherlands and 'home away from home' Malawi. Whenever not stringing words together, she's either on her yoga mat or exploring any off the beaten track she can find.

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