How to Create Facebook Ads that Convert

*Everyone* is on Facebook (well, pretty close to everyone, they have 2 billion monthly users - that’s more than a quarter of the population of the entire planet!). Facebook also has a pretty powerful advertising platform that lets you use detailed targeting to catch the right audience, all for relatively low cost.  So advertising there is a no-brainer. But designing those ads? That’s a whole different story.  

Facebook does make it easy to create ads in their platform. So why bother creating something unique?


Brand Identity

I've written before about how important consistent branding is, even on a seemingly small project like Facebook ads. By controlling your design from start to finish, you can ensure that the ad works compliments your established branding and your other marketing and sales materials.

Seeing double?

Did you know there is a stock photography model that is so popular that there are two Facebook fan pages dedicated to her? Relying on the stock photography offered by Facebook could lead you to a situation that Uber and Getaround saw themselves in — publishing almost identical ads.

Uber and Getaround.jpg

Stand out from the crowd

Want to incorporate your company's custom illustrations, mascot, or colors? You won’t be able to do that without designing something unique.

So, we’ve covered the why, but what about the how?  Here at Lightboard, we’ve designed hundreds of successful Facebook ads, and here’s what works the best.


We’re not just talking about branding consistency here, either (though, as we mentioned before, that’s important).  We’re talking about consistency between the ad you’re showing and the page your prospective customer lands on. An example of how NOT to do this was shared on the AdEspresso blog:


When the writer clicked on the Facebook ad promoting a pink shoe, he was brought to a page that didn’t feature that shoe at all, and made no mention of the discount offered in the ad.

While your product landing pages may not be as simple as “Make sure the pink shoe in the ad is on the landing page”, it’s a good example of making sure to give your customers what they are looking for.

I created a Facebook campaign for design agency Lightboard that is targeted to Marketing Managers in the United States. If someone is being served this ad they are likely a Marketing Manager and want to know how Lightboard can help them with their job.


When they click on the ad, they are brought to a landing page that has the same feel as the ad and offers specific information for Marketing Managers.  

If you are telling someone your product “Makes a great gift for teachers!”, don’t dump them onto your home page. The landing page should thematically match your ad, and tell them specifically why your product works that need. If they have to search your site to find the information that was promised in your ad, they're likely to bounce.

Choose Colors Wisely

In a study called “Impact of Color on Marketing” published in The Journal of Management History, Researcher Satyendra Singh (Department of Administrative Studies, University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg, Canada) writes:

People make up their minds within 90 seconds of their initial interactions with either people or products. About 62‐90 percent of the assessment is based on colors alone. So, prudent use of colors can contribute not only to differentiating products from competitors, but also to influencing moods and feelings – positively or negatively – and therefore, to attitude towards certain products. Given that our moods and feelings are unstable and that colors play roles in forming attitude, it is important that managers understand the importance of colors in marketing.

People buy things they have an emotional response to. Color and color combinations evoke emotion — and it happens very quickly.  A different study shows that our brains prefer easily recognizable brands, another reason to make sure your colors are consistent.

International Rescue Committee does a great job of this. Their brand colors are black and yellow - a color combination that evokes "alert" - police tape and warning signs use the same combination. Their bold colors in their ads reinforce their branding *and* create an emotional response.

A/B Test

In another great example from Ad Espresso, they A/B tested their own ads and were surprised with the results.


They admit a bias to their unique illustration style, and assumed it would do well as a Facebook ad — and all common knowledge about branding would back them up on that — but the photograph of the person performed much better. By A/B testing, they were able to determine a cost of $3.13 per download for the illustration and $1.68 for the picture of the woman. So why did a stock photo do better than their highly branded content? Facebook ads are served right alongside pictures of your audience's friends and family. In this instance the image may have fit better with the user's Facebook experience. That, in turn, may have been a factor in its better conversion rate. Sometimes you don't know until you try.

Prevent Ad Fatigue

If you’ve run Facebook Ads, you may have noticed that they tend to perform well for awhile, and then a few days or weeks later the clicks start to taper off. This is a result of ad fatigue, a real phenomenon in which your audience begins to ignore your ads once they’ve seen them a bunch of times. The blog over at SearchEngineLand has good tips for how to combat this.  They boil down to:

  •  Save some advertising budget for experimentation.
  •  Systematically track the most important aspects of the campaign: The image, the message, and the demographic.
  • Refresh your creative often. SearchEngineLand suggests every 1-2 weeks but every business is different, find the groove that’s right for you by watching for when your CTR starts to drop

Less (text) is more (impressions).

Oh, Facebook 20 percent rule, you are the bane of marketers everywhere.  While Facebook has relaxed their text restrictions a little (they used to refuse to serve ads with more than 20 percent at all), if they feel your ad has too much text, they will serve significantly fewer impressions.
Facebook provides this handy guide to help you figure out how to gauge what percentage of your image is text.


Take these essential Facebook ad design tips, and use them to create powerful ads that convert! Need a little help? Drop Sharon a line at

Sharon Magliano