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The ultimate guide to social media ad specs

Advertising has transitioned to having a large focus on social platforms — Facebook’s advertising revenue alone exceeded $40 billion, a 47% increase compared to the previous year. This shouldn’t be surprising as there are 3.03 billion social media users worldwide.

If you’re not using a good sum of your budget on social media advertising, you’re already behind. Social media and advertising often go hand in hand these days. But to create an effective ad you need to know the social media ad specs for the platform you chose.

Make sure you understand ad image sizes, the importance of visuals for your ads and how these images are used on each platform.

To help you in this mission, we’ve developed comprehensive guides with ad specs for each platform. Choose your favorite and dig in.

Social media ad specs by platform

Related: Check out how to create a plan for your social media advertising.

Why using images in social advertisements is important

People retain 65% of the information they see in a photo or video, versus only 10% of the information with no relevant image. Three days from now your viewers will better recall your social advertising message with the help of a photo.

Not only that, but ads with images drive more engagement. This doesn’t mean, however, you should add any photo or video to what you’re trying to promote just to drive clicks or engagements with your post.

Ad images and videos should have a great level of both relevancy and quality. They should also be cut and edited to fit each platform. They’re meant to represent your brand or product, so why would you want anything less?

Related: How much does social media advertising cost?

Ways to improve the quality of your social advertising images

Low-quality images have the ability to turn away even the most loyal of customers. Think about how you’d consider eating at a restaurant based on the images of food on their menu or website.

Are you going to eat at the place with grainy and blurry photos? Or the place with bright, clear pictures of burgers that tower over a plate of fresh, steaming fries? Probably the latter.

The same goes for photos and videos. If you fail to adjust it to each social media platform, it will fail to accurately portray the message you want to send to customers.

Some elements of an effective ad image have to do with lighting, spacing and cropping.

  • Lighting is key to any good social media photo or video. The best photographers prefer to use a lot of natural light to brighten up their shots. Be sure you’re not taking photos or recordings that are too dark, as they will look less professional.
  • When considering the spacing within your shot, remember the rule of thirds, the art of symmetry and the importance of having a focal point. Your image should encompass one or more of these aspects. The same can be applied to video. Use different image styles for a more dynamic video.
  • Lastly, be sure to avoid any awkward cropping. This is the main reason for learning about social media ad sizes. You want to be sure you’re not accidentally chopping anyone’s head off or leaving the focal point out of this vital part of your social advertisement. More than that, you want to make sure the image will be cropped appropriately to convey the message you desire.

Related: How social media ads can boost brand loyalty

Know the ad specs for each social media platform

Each platform has different strengths. Your ad images should match your copy for better results.

  • Facebook advertising images tend to be bright and eye-catching. They also have a simpler look and don’t have lots of small details highlighted. Photos with happy women, children and pets or images that are funny and odd tend to perform best on Facebook.
  • Twitter recommends uniformity and simplicity for advertisers. Try using a template when promoting your content or products so viewers can easily associate the image they see with your brand.
  • LinkedIn has a very professional focus, so make sure that your social images are relevant to your brand or product to gain the attention of potential prospects.
  • Instagram is all about perspective. Your shot or layout should be interesting, organized and artistic. The image you use should help the viewer envision whatever they see as a part of their life or lifestyle.
  • Snapchat has a very fun personality associated with it. Whatever you choose to advertise with, whether it’s a video or a single image with text, should promote that playful attitude.
  • Pinterest images should not be horizontal. To keep with the flow of the well-known grid layout, be sure to keep your photos vertical. Pinterest is another platform where clean, simple and bright images perform best.
  • YouTube image or video quality depends on the type of ad you’re using. Important information should be at the beginning of a skippable ad, while ads displayed in the search results perform better when they’re related to any TV ads you’re also running.

Related: The best social media ad units to drive sales

To conquering the social media ad world

Take a deeper look into the platform you plan on using for your social ads and follow our insights to get the most out of your advertising efforts. By knowing the ad specs for each social media platform you can create better ads for social.


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