How to create professional ad images with free resources

Your campaign's ad images, in combination with the text, are tremendously important to being able to launch a successful Facebook campaign. Targeting the right person is of course important, but if the potential viewer of the ad is not drawn to your add and enticed to click, it is all for nothing. 

So, how can you, as a private business owner, small marketing team, busy marketing team, without a full fledged design team working 24/7, come up with compelling creatives for your ads? 

First, the images

Looking at the internet these days, you will start to see the same type of images being circled around over and over again. They are used in ads, used on websites, used in emails, used in flyers. These are stock photos. Yes, Adgo uses them too sometimes. The good thing is, a lot of your potential user base is still drawn to them, so even if you may grow tired of seeing them, there are many people that still get drawn to them, because they are well created. More good news is that there are many free resources for you, meaning you do not necessarily need to pay for an expensive stock photo subscription.

Here is a list of some of the best resources for free and professional looking images:

Unsplash.com - This is typically a favorite for many marketers. The photography style is clean, not too vibrant, with a lot of dead space for text overlay. Searches for "homes" "laptops" "offices" "nature", etc... give you amazing results.

Stocksnap.io - This is another favorite, and not much different from Unsplash, but some of the images have a more "edgy" feel to them.

Negativespace.co - Another good one that is sure to provide you with some nice variations for your needs. Great architecture pictures!

Mmstock.com - We personally love the close up photos of laptops (well, he does close up shots of most everything).

There are actually many more sites like these. Try doing a search for "the best free stock photo sites", and you will see for yourself. The key is to find a style, try it out with your brand, change styles, see what works and you will eventually start to even develop your own.

Creating the Ad Creative

Now that you have the images, you want to get them ready to be used in ads. In some cases, you might just need to resize the image or crop the image to the proper sizes, but in other cases you may want to add some text overlays or styling with other elements. There are many tools out there you could use if you have them (Photoshop, Illustrator, Sketch), but there are also free tools available that do exactly what you need, and better yet, they live in the cloud, which means no software downloads! 

Basically, you should use Canva.

Canva is a free service (with possible asset purchases) for creating graphics. They provide templates for a wide variety of common image sizes - Facebook covers, Twitter covers, Business cards, Blog posts, etc...

For Facebook ads, you will most likely want to use the Custom Dimensions option.

Source: Canva

Source: Canva

Depending on the Facebook campaign type, your ads will have different aspect ratio requirements. Basically you will create one or all of the following:

  • 1200px x 628px - All campaign types other than Page Likes and Post Engagement, that use single image ads (not carousel ads)
  • 1200px x 444px - Facebook Page Like ads
  • 600 x 600 - Carousel ads

Step 1: Create a custom dimension image template on Canva and upload one of the images you downloaded from one of the sites above.

Source: Canva

Source: Canva

Source: Canva

Source: Canva

Step 2: Adjust your image within the canvas to fit your preference and experiment with adding various text, elements, or layouts to your image. Some of these addons will cost you $1.00, but you should be able to create a pretty stunning image by only utilizing the free assets. 

Source: Canva

Source: Canva

Step 3: When you are satisfied with your image, click on the Download button in the upper righthand corner, select "Image: for Web (JPG)", or "Image: high quality (PNG), and voila, you have just created a creative for your Facebook campaign ads, all with free resources.

Source: Canva

Source: Canva

Designing powerful and enticing images takes practice and patience, but the work will certainly prove useful in the end as more and more potential customers start clicking on your ads. Happy Creating!