Creative Best Practices For
Tip 1. Express Context
Creativity’s Changing Role
Case Study: Martini App
Tip 2. The Space Between
Tip 3. Color Me Social
Tip 4. Branding 101
Tip 5. Can Bigger be Better?
Tip 6. The Framing Ratio
Tip 7. Unconscious Cue
Tip 8. A Fresh Angle
Tip 9. Creativity is Key
Tip 10. Multivariate Testing
Case Study: JackThreads
Why is knowing your audience
and making an impact on that first
interaction so vital to success?
often starts where
In July 2013, Facebook announced that it had more than 1.15 billion
total members, 819 thousand mobile monthly users and 1 million
active advertisers. That leads to a scalable opportunity for brands and
marketers to engage their audiences in a socially charged environment.
This also means creativity plays a much more vital role than ever before.
This report will provide insight into how creativity must align with
data, ensure your brand’s creative is unique to you as a marketer, offer
tips on keeping it simple, and provide a few best practices for optimal
Creativity’s Changing Role
Function vs. design is a classic discussion that most companies
and teams must work through; designers strive to paint a canvas,
while marketers must adhere to what converts, and ultimately drives
Is “Simple” the New Black?
Creative best practices should always focus on the importance of
producing ads and copy that not only pique the interest of a target
audience but also encourage interaction and action.
As Facebook recently announced, the company is making efforts
to simplify its ad products and provide a more objective-focused
advertising model. By trimming the complexities of onboarding and
optimization, Facebook is positioning itself to appeal to large and small
businesses alike. It’s providing a truly interactive environment for these
brands to build creative that promotes engagement with their personal
Expressing context is incredibly important with mobile app install ads,
which allows marketers to direct users to interstitial app installation
pages on their smartphones.
While these ad formats support “install now” buttons, it may not be
clear to some users that these ads are actually directing them to
install applications on their device. By showing the smartphone in the
advertisement, the clarity of the intended action becomes instantly
recognizable and leads to a more qualified app installation and user.
Case Study: AdParlor and
Ultra Interactive Get Creative
§§ 8% Lower Cost Per
Acquisition utilizing custom
creative for Ultra Interactive’s
Martini Mobile App
§§ Expressed context by
displaying user devices
§§ Used strong calls-to-action
§§ Targeting was focused around
relevant interest categories
such as mobile users,
consumer electronics, fashion,
dining and entertainment.
Cost Per Install Savings
Higher Click Through Rate
Cost Per Click Savings
In comparison with other
Utilizing optimized creative on
mobile application installs
Attributed to expanding
targeting to new cities
The Space Between
When it comes to right-hand side (RHS) ads, utilizing the available
space is crucial.
These ad images are only 110×80 pixels, and the last thing you want
to do is waste the image space with text that’s too small or images
that are too tiny to see in detail. Using the space to display a visually
appealing and relevant image attracts a user’s attention and keeps the
In the examples above, the image on the left uses type that’s too small
and incorporates an image that doesn’t speak to the service. Without
carefully reading the ad, the user could think that laptops are being
sold, or old ones purchased—there’s nothing to indicate that the ad
is for laptop repair. In the ad on the right, the image makes effective
use of the space, incorporates tools to indicate repair work and grabs
attention with the bright orange exclamation mark.
All in all, it’s a much more effective image that garnered a 2.75% higher
engagement rate, 2x the number of clicks, and 4x the number of
conversions in comparison to the example on the left.
Color Me Social
A common belief among brands is that your
logo is instantly recognizable to almost
everyone; however, using your logo as your
only advertising image could lead to a much
smaller impact than expected.
Facebook offers an array of activities, so
getting your ad to “pop” is paramount within
the social environment.
Thankfully, Facebook’s branding is consistently
white and blue. The cool color scheme suggests
that images favoring a warm color scheme will
pack more punch. Red, orange, yellow and
lime green will draw attention when contrasted
against Facebook’s background. But keep in
mind that bold warm colors can sometimes be
harsh or have negative connotations when used
in certain contexts.
Sure, you might attract the attention of users
who are already engaged with your brand, but
more likely, you’ll get lost in the sea of other more
In the example ads above, utilizing an
acutal product image associated with the
brand boosted click through rates (CTR)
of up to 4%.
Note how the photographs on the left pop off the
background, drawing the eye far more than the
photographs on the right.
Can Bigger be Better?
Facebook’s standard right-hand side (RHS) ads are still effective;
however, the size constraints are far from ideal in a creative workspace.
Fortunately, Facebook offers a couple of different large ad formats
available for desktop and mobile News Feed delivery. For example,
photo page posts are displayed at a resolution of 400×300 pixels on a
desktop, which is considerably larger than the ads on the RHS.
Additionally, the News Feed is considered the primary focus for most
users on Facebook and by placing your ads there; you are more likely
to get the attention of your targeted audience.
This is evident in a number of ways, and the data clearly speaks for
itself. AdParlor recently analyzed approximately more than one billion
impressions; globally, News Feed posted an average CTR that was 8x
higher than RHS placements.
The Framing Ratio
We all think we’re the only ones impervious to
subtle unconscious cues in advertising, but
we’d be wrong.
The way you crop a photo defines the viewer’s
focus and how well that image works.
Cropping an image closely to create a focal point
helps to engage the viewer by displaying emotion
or focus. Cropping it too wide can show so little
detail that it often fails to attract any attention.
Those subtle and often overlooked cues are
something worth thinking about when choosing
images. The two images below are almost
identical, give or take a mirror. But there’s a major
difference when selecting which one to use for
your ad campaign.
So, when choosing images featuring people, pay
special attention to the eye line, or any gestures
that might direct the user’s eye. You’ll always
want them to follow in the direction of your ad
copy. It’s great if the viewer notices and likes your
image, but you need them to read your copy not
just see it. Why not help them along a bit?
Note how the first image doesn’t have as great
as an impact as the second image. Closer crops
provide more detail and clearer, cleaner images
which a user is much more likely to connect and
Following a recent A/B test utilizing both
of the above pictures in different ad units
for a campaign, the image following the
natural eye line to the right posted a 3%
A Fresh Angle
Let’s take into account what might draw your users’ interest. What
differentiates your brand and images from the rest?
As an example, a video game client recently began a campaign using
imagery of in-game play very similar to a competitor’s ads. The images
looked fine but didn’t seem to attract the user enough to encourage
After assessing the situation and brainstorming solutions, our creative
team realized that one of the game’s key selling points was allowing
live, multi-player gameplay.
Our client’s competitor, on the other hand, did not have this feature.
We created a new set of images that included multiple profile pictures
and instructive call out text. By allowing the images to introduce the
multi-player feature, we were able to grab users’ attention and drive
higher click and conversion rates.
Based on the example ads below, we created a new set of images
that included multiple profile pictures and instructive call out text. By
allowing the images to introduce the multi-player feature, we were able
to grab users’ attention and drive a 2% higher CTR and a 1% increase
in conversion rates (CVR).
At the end of the day, make every effort to understand your target
audience and test creative variations. AdParlor’s design team is
constantly monitoring graphic trends and introducing new concepts
to our clients to obtain higher conversion rates and ROI.
So take advantage and make the most of your Facebook advertising
budget by choosing the most effective images to make a great first
Creativity is Key
Can we say it again? Want someone to notice you? Be unique and
continuously test ways to represent your brand within the confines
of an 110×80 pixel image.
It’s important to keep experimenting with new elements—set and define
a trend, don’t copy one.
The image to the left is an example
of out-of-the-box thinking. This
ad used the white background to
create the illusion that the warrior’s
helmet is popping out of the frame—
definitely a touch of creative flair—
and an image that resulted in an
.08% increase in the CTR.
Below are a few examples that excelled at grabbing attention due
to the graphic elements. These successful ad images all incorporate
bright colors, great call-outs, close-crops, starbursts, borders and fun
The images above generated an average of a 1.2% higher CTR
when using a specific call to action and relevant imagery as
related to the games
A methodology we have had success with focuses on testing varying
creative approaches within individual campaigns.
Those A/B tests have varying levels of success, and sometimes offer
a surprise reaction from the target audience. While all of the best
practices included in this paper are designed to provide insight into
creating a successful ad, there’s no way to absolutely guarantee that
certain techniques work all the time.
But if we determine that one approach works over another, we redirect
design resources to producing more content based on those successful
Case Study: JackThreads
§§ Images and text were designed to make the brand name and
association with the latest street wear.
§§ Used multivariate testing on all creatives
§§ 3x return on ad spend using Facebook Offers
§§ 5x return on ad spend using Custom Audiences
§§ 15x return on ad spend using Facebook Exchange
Creativity clearly matters, whether a brand is targeting its audience
on desktop or mobile.
Make it easy for users to understand exactly what you’re promoting
in the ad through visual calls-to-action that explicitly convey your
message. Free offers or bonuses are simple ways of grabbing user
attention and increasing click-through rates.
Granted, not all “best practices” will work every time. Marketers who
understand the best times to engage their targeted audiences will
experience the greatest performance. The key component of any
successful campaign is to test, optimize and then test again. That’s
how we at AdParlor always strive to exceed our partners’ goals
and objectives. Our customers, including Groupon, MGM Resorts
International, Jack Threads and many more work with our teams to
increase awareness, drive sales, and optimize fan engagement.
Be Bold. Try New Things.
AdParlor’s approach is focused on results, providing flexible pricing
and product solutions based on client goals. We utilize our proprietary
technology, experienced teams and advanced tools to deliver solutions
designed to grow your brand’s footprint locally and globally.