What's an ad with weak imagery? Ineffective, that's what.

This is especially true on Facebook and Instagram, where people are bombarded with enough visual stimuli to keep them endlessly distracted.

Yes, Dynamic Ads can be effective, but like any other ad platform – you need to consider the medium.

When advertising on Facebook and Instagram, you're not just competing against other retailers. You’re also competing against photos of newborn babies, cute animals and the tasty looking avocado toast the someone had for brunch last Sunday. To make your ads stand out among the chaos of these social feeds, you need eye-catching imagery and copy that supports it.

Get creative

Unlike Google and Amazon, Facebook’s image requirements are less strict – which leaves room for more creativity.

Photographing your product on a plain white background may work well for Amazon, but not as well when it comes to Facebook. Action shots and/or in-use shots are a great place to start.

If you’re selling patterned or themed socks, show people rocking your best pairs. If you’re selling coffee, you can show a setting where people are having a good time while enjoying your delicious bean juice.

Regardless of the channel you’re on, you'll want to consider the following:

  • High resolution imagery conveys credibility. Since online shoppers don't get to actually touch/see the product in person, your visuals need to do the heavy lifting.
  • Good lighting is key. You can't effectively digitally light up poorly lit photos. You can tweak lighting with various apps/programs, but you want to aim for well-lit source photos.
  • Take all sorts of shots. Take action/in-use shots, creative shots, standard shots, shots from every angel, product feature shots, and close-up product detail shots. The more variety, the better.
  • Take more photos than you think you need. What you don't end up using for your Facebook/Instagram ads could serve a purpose on another platform.
  • Avoid colors commonly used by the platform. As you've seen by now, Facebook's color scheme is blue and white. While picking colors for your photos/ads, steer clear of that combo so your ad doesn't blend in with the platform.
  • Explore all possibly photo editing apps. There are a ton of media editing apps that can take your photos to the next level. From pro apps like Photoshop and Lightroom, to more user-friendly mobile apps for iOS and Android, there's definitely no shortage of options.
  • Take a look at what other brands are doing. In your space or outside of it – research, research, research! Maybe your competitor(s) are outdoing your style and you need to tweak your presentation to catch up. Maybe everyone is missing something that you're considering. Either way, you need to keep an eye on what others are doing (especially those that are dominating the market). Don't just copy others, use the intel to make informed decisions.
  • Consult with creative professionals and/or outsource creative work. You'll want experts to handle your visuals, unless you happen to be skilled in that realm – even then, you'll want a number of opinions before committing any significant budget to the production and presentation of your ads.

Ultimately, you need to put yourself in the shoes of your potential customers. Think, "what visuals would make me want to buy my stuff?" Assuming you're selling decent (hopefully awesome) products, do everything you can to visually present your products in the most engaging way possible.

Presentation and ad format

With those basic creative tips out there, now we'll be looking at the ad formats for dynamic ads.

You can create a dynamic ad using the single image, carousel, or collection ad format.

Single image

You've probably seen single image Facebook/Instagram ads all over the two platforms, as businesses default to this style more often than the others.

The practicality of a single-image ad – with strong, short copy and a link to the right landing page – is not to be understated. If you have a strong enough ad that fits this format, don't hesitate to commit to it.

Besides some critical thinking (on what to present and how to hook people), these ads don't rely on any sort of complex presentation like carousel and collection ads might.

Consider the following design recommendations and technical requirements for single image ads:

Overall though, these may be more effective than going with the carousel or collection format – unless you're trying to tell a story or showcase a collection of products.

A single-image with strong copy could be solid (and noninvasive) enough that it effectively invites onlookers to visit your site and/or product(s).

Carousel ads

If you're looking for more depth than a single image ad, a carousel ad may be ideal.

By using Facebook's carousel feature, you can display up to 10 images or videos per ad, each having their own link.

With carousel ads, you can showcase different products, highlight specific details about one product (or service), or tell a story about your brand/product(s).

Consider the following design recommendations and technical requirements for carousel ads:

The carousel format is particularly effective when you have a lot of relevant info to deliver.

Customers will swipe left if your carousel ad starts with a product or service they're interested in. Even just a captivating hook or an interesting concept might get them to swipe, that's more potential for engagement than a static image ad or even a video ad that doesn't immediately hook an audience.

Creative ads that don't convert well still have the potential to raise brand awareness. It's not just better than nothing, brand awareness is almost as important as conversions.

Collection ads

The last unique presentation style you can go with is the collection format – but this one is mobile-only.

This typically includes a cover image or video along with several product images. When someone clicks on the image or video, they’ll land on your Instant Experience (a full screen ad experience). If you want people to browse a selection of your products in one place, this is the way to go.

This format is ideal when you want to present a product collection in a stylish, concise way. An engaging promo video plus best-selling, eye-catching products work really well as a collection ad. There's nothing really stopping you from going with the carousel format for the same array, but consider what would make your products look better: A swipeable array of relevant products/video/story content, or a cluster of relevant media.

Ideally, you'll want to make variants of both (especially since collections are only for mobile).

Consider the following design recommendations and technical requirements for collection ads:

This ad format is effective because it's so visually immersive. Making a good collection ad takes a bit more strategy, but it's the most engaging of the three dynamic ad types. And considering that mobile devices play such a key role in ecommerce, it's certainly worth it if you have the right products.

Test your Images

You’ll never truly know which image will perform best until you test them. This is where split testing comes in.

Split testing allows you to create multiple ad sets using a different variable for each set and test them against each other to see what works best. By doing this with your images, you can see which performs best and lands you the most conversions.

Why leave ad performance up to chance? Research away!

Closing Thoughts

Images that grab the users attentions are likely to lead to more clicks and conversions.

You need to put yourself in the position of your audience and plan your imagery around what you'd want to see if you were looking for your products. If necessary, enlist the help of professionals. Visuals are far too important to skimp on, especially when it comes to ad presentation.

Dynamic product ads work, but you need solid imagery and copy that supports it.

Get those creative juices flowing and start experimenting with different images for your ads!