Choosing an image for your FB ads

Client: “Hi Jamie, yep, I took those photos for you, will send them now, excited to get these ads up :-)”

Me: “cool, I’ll have a look through them and get back to you”

Me (5 minutes later): [searching for stock photos because the ones the client sent were almost impressively bad] “ugh”

It turns out that it ISN’T obvious how to choose/take good photos for FB ads.

So I thought I would write a quick guide on HOW to NOT choose shitty images that don’t sell.

First up, you need to understand the role the visual (image/video/gif) plays.

With any advertising, each part has a specific job, and that job is to make the person do/read the next bit.

In order: 

  1. The image/video’s job is to grab your attention just enough to make you stop scrolling momentarily.
  2. Just long enough to glance at the Headline.
  3. The Headline’s job is to intrigue you enough to make you want to find out a bit more by reading the first sentence or two.
  4. Each sentence is there to keep you reading to end of the copy, so you get to the CTA
  5. The CTA’s job is then to get you to do the thing we want you to do.

ATTENTION then, is the name of the game.

Getting attention is all your image needs to do.

People are scrolling through their newsfeed.

Half-distracted, probably doing something else at the same time, NOT in ‘shopping mode’, and NOT looking out for adverts from people like me or you.

Then BAM – your advert comes up with a bland, generic stock photo of a fake-smiling man with his generic boring family.

Guess what happens…?

You make all the money…?


Here are some ways to make sure your image will get attention:

  • Make it Bright &/or Bold
  • an image that ‘pops’ will naturally catch the eye.
  • this is the same for movement, so a video/gif/cinemagraph will work.
  • Push that Brightness & Contrast up high
  • Use images of your target market.
  • Running ads to mums with school-age kids? Then using an image of a mum with school-aged kids will probably get her attention.
  • Show specific & relevant emotion
  • Someone laughing/crying/screaming/angry/in pain will get more attention, but make sure it’s relevant to the thing you’re offering.
  • So if you’re offering a massage for people recovering from a knee injury, then someone holding their leg and screaming will be pretty relevant to them.
  • If in doubt – smiles do well, we are programmed to pay attention to them.
  • Show the before/during/after (not for health/fitness stuff)
  • depending on your audience and your offer, you might get better results either focussing on showing the ‘before’ state i.e. “my knee hurts”
  • or the ‘during’ state i.e. “here I am getting my knee fixed”
  • or the ‘after’ state i.e. “I can run again!”
  • pretty people (yep, stick a hot girl/guy in it, and guess what, you’re gonna get eyeballs.), BUT – no point in doing it unless the headline then grabs them and makes them want to read more.
  • Funny/cute – Again, it’s unless relevant, but if you can shoehorn a kitten falling over in there somewhere, go for it.
  • What about product images? Unless what you sell is super-desirable, then just an image of the product is probably boring to anyone who isn’t you.
    • BUT, someone in your target audience using your product is fine.
  • Before/After transformation – You aren’t allowed to do this with fitness ads, but in most other niches, a photo comparing life before and after using your product/service is pretty compelling, and will get attention.

Simple eh? Just find yourself a gorgeous smiling & angry client holding a kitten whilst getting a massage and make her into a Luminous gif.

Job done.