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The 7 Facebook Ad Designs That Defined 2017

Small talk

October 27, 2017

When you have over 5 million businesses competing for ad space on a platform that boasts over $9 billion in advertising revenue, you can pretty much guarantee there will be successes and failures.

The reasons a Facebook ad is a success versus one that is not can often come down to design.

People browsing through their News Feeds are going to be stopped by something that catches their eye.

And what catches their eye often leads to a purchase.

In fact, 93% of customers base their purchasing decision on just visual appearance.

So what qualifies as good Facebook ad design?

Well, that’s where studying the brands with an effective Facebook marketing strategy is important.

By studying those that did well, certain trends emerge of ad design elements often used.

We compiled these trends into one easy list that you can use to help optimize your own Facebook ad campaign.

We’ll show you the design and why it was effective in driving engagement and motivating buying decisions.  

These are the seven Facebook ad design trends that defined this year in social media marketing.

1. Testimonials & Reviews

People trust other people when it comes to their purchasing decisions.

88% of those trust online peer reviews just as much as personal recommendations.

This year saw the rise of the review and testimonial Facebook ad.

Review Facebook ad
Image source: https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/

Presenting rave comments right in your Facebook marketing copy and/or the visual itself helps to build trust with customers.

It’s especially effective to highlight customer testimonials instead of media reviews, as people are more likely to trust someone like themselves.

2. Customized Visuals

Though this isn’t an option for all businesses because of high production costs, if you can design your own Facebook ad visual it’s worth it.

Remember, 93% of people buy on visual appearance alone.

It also matters for branding purposes: Color boosts brand recognition by 80%.

Custom illustration Facebook ad
Image source: https://adespresso.com/

With a custom illustration in your Facebook ad, you can give your brand an aesthetic.

You can also use it to engage users more effectively and earn their business.

There are a few, cheaper ways to create these custom Facebook ads if you don’t have an in-house digital designer.

Online tools like Canva offer a simple platform for design, or you can use sites like Upwork to find freelancers at reasonable rates.

3. Color Gradation

We don’t need to talk again about how important visuals are in Facebook ads.

But when it comes to color, there’s one trend that keeps on repeating: Gradients.

Gradient Facebook ad
Image source: https://www.topik.in/

Gradation is so successful thanks to the role it plays in the overall consumer psychology.

Just as with the psychology of SEO, the psychology of Facebook ads is a study of how users subconsciously interact on the platform and what innately appeals to them or not.

The idea is to tap into how a consumer thinks in order to present them with the most relatable, compelling content.

Color is a crucial piece of this Facebook marketing puzzle.

Contrasting colors can boost conversion rates 60%, and gradation allows for more subtle contrast.

4. Carousel Feature

When Facebook introduced carousel ads in 2014, it drove down cost-per-conversion prices 30-50%, and cost-per-click prices down 20-30%.  

Since expanding to mobile ads in 2015, the carousel format continues to be popular among Facebook advertisers.

The feature essentially allows a slideshow of images to appear within a single ad.

This allows for a deeper visual dive into a brand’s product or service.

Carousel Facebook ad
Image source: https://www.nanigans.com/blog/

The human brain processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text.

As a result, using a carousel Facebook ad is a great way to tell a lot about your brand in an easily digestible manner.

You can expect an increase in brand recognition, awareness, and engagement as people understand what you’re offering more fully and clearly.

5. GIFs & Stop Motion

It was only in February of this year that Facebook introduced the ability to add GIFs to their Facebook ads.

Since then, though, this feature has taken off and become one of the defining social media design trends of 2017.

GIF Facebook ad
Image source: https://www.pinterest.com

GIF is a cheaper solution than producing an entire video for your Facebook ad.

It’s also one of the most powerful visual platforms in existence:

Use your creativity to create GIFs that tell a story about your brand, highlight a product, or really do anything else relevant that will capture users’ attentions.

6. Comparing to the Competition

Though you should review the competitor rules before taking on this strategy for your Facebook marketing, there has been a definite rise in the number of comparison ads.

By comparing your brand to another, you are clearly showing why yours is the better solution.

Essentially, these Facebook advertisements act as visual value-props.

Comparison Facebook ads
Image source: https://www.pinterest.com

Without explicitly spelling out why your brand is better, the visual element used makes that clear.

And we all know how important the visuals are in Facebook advertising.

You don’t even necessarily need to compare your own business with another.

Consider comparing situations that your product or service improves, such as Cleanly’s above.

They demonstrate the difference between not using their service and having to go to the laundromat vs. having your laundry delivered in the comfort of your home with their service.  

7. Flat Designs

A flat-laying Facebook ad plays into a person’s preference for organization in a visual context.

Basically, people want to see things that are placed carefully, symmetrically, and/or evenly on a layout.

Flat design Facebook ad
Image source: https://www.nanigans.com/blog

This tactic is especially useful for retail and clothing brands.

They can show off an entire array of products, including recommending style combinations in an attempt to upsell.

The flat design also makes it possible to present products that can appeal to more than one demographic.

For example, you can show shoes for men, women, and children in a flat layout all within a single Facebook ad.

Though you can expect to see some of these trends change as we move into following years, one thing they all have in common is captivating visual content.

Having visuals in your Facebook ad that draw users away from your competition and towards your brand instead is crucial.

Looking at what other businesses are doing with their ad designs is a great source of inspiration for optimizing your own Facebook marketing strategy.

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