Stop the scroll: What is your image designer missing?

Designing images for social media ads

Being in multiple lockdowns this year (sigh) has given us time to think about our design processes and how we have refined our playbook over so many years of trial and error.

Specifically, I’ve been breaking down our graphic design process on how we formulate our image based ads to get the highest conversion rates.

I started brainstorming about what makes a good image for a Facebook or Instagram ad and how we have experimented with image based ads to maximise their sales potential.

With image based ads there’s so much to think about…

Focus, font, size… the list goes on!

With our joint over 57 years of advertising experience, the team and I have uncovered some exclusive hacks we want to share with you.

Read on to discover:

  • The ‘Image Design Playbook’ (crucial for creating a scroll-stopping image)
  • How to cut design time taking our ‘Mobile First’ approach
  • ‘The Grandma Test’ (critical for reeling in the 80% of mobile users)

Before we dig in, let’s break down what goes into an image based ad.

Headline in the image- Usually, a call out to the reader.
Image- Graphics such as someone using the product/service, real people from your business or stock images.
Testimonial (Optional)- Text from a testimonial, snapshot of Facebook/Google ad or email review.
Pricing/Offer (Optional)- Discount percentage, new price or limited time offer is available.
Call to Action– Immediate next step for the viewer to take.

The ‘Image Design Playbook’ (crucial for creating a scroll-stopping image)

They say an image is worth a thousand words, that phrase is perfectly exemplified through an image based advert.

Your image based ad has to be able to cut through the noise, and stop a person mid-scroll, not only on desktop but also on mobile.

You have seconds, sometimes even milliseconds to get their attention and get your message across.
Not an easy task!

At LiveSwitch, over the years we have tweaked our processes for a good image and came up with a few questions to consider when creating an image base ad or even reviewing ones you already have running.

What is the hierarchy of text?

It’s important to know what text needs to be read, and what information will hook in the viewer. This can be the Outcome you are promising or an Offer like a sale price, percentage off, or limited time offer. And if you have a testimonial based image ad, it might be a key 3-5 words of a quote. This can be done through font size and colours. Likewise, you can reduce clutter, and assess the need for any text not deemed as important enough to be highlighted.

In the example we created for a client, the hierarchy of text is: Offer, Testimonial then Call To Action. The offer is in the largest font, all caps and red, the testimonial is in caps and italics with a speech symbol in purple. 

Where does the text fit into the AIDA framework?

We all know the AIDA framework (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) is a proven copywriting formula, so when designing your image based ad keep in mind which element you’re trying to ignite in the viewer and where your image sits in that framework.

Is the image doing the heavy lifting?

If the image is carrying the ad, you can think of the image as the bait and the copy reels the reader in. Things to consider here are colour, size, clarity and brightness of the image, and how it connects with the target audience.

Can the important text be read on mobile?

Over 80% of traffic is looking at ads on mobile, over desktop. You need to make sure all your important text and images can be seen on a mobile newsfeed. I like to call this taking a ‘Mobile First’ approach. You can do this by resizing your image to “phone size” in the image viewer or open the image on your phone to see exactly what your ad would look like to mobile users. From here you can assess if the important text and images can be understood clearly. This could make a huge difference on whether your image ad is successful or tanks.



HOT TIP: Always create images with a ‘Mobile First’ approach, to ensure ads can be understood at mobile size to ensure all text is readable and images are clear.


‘The Grandma Test’

The Grandma Test is a Liveswitch term Rich came up with while working on our own images.

When you look at an image, think of what your grandma would see without her glasses. Or if you squint when scrolling through images on your newsfeed.

What jumps out of the screen? What colours, text or images get your attention?

Those are going to be the things that stick out the most when people are scrolling through their newsfeeds.

These features are the most important part of your image and need to include the most important information.


HOT TIP: Squint and scroll through the image based ads you’re currently running as if they were on your newsfeed and see what features you can see. You can optimise your ads based on this and highlight important information.

P.S Here’s the easiest way to navigate Facebook and Google ads

If you want continuous business growth, better leads for your RTO and would like to know more about this or other topics, please book in a call with one of our senior digital strategists.

Book in a 30 minute strategy call with a senior digital strategist. 
Obligation free.

Thanks for reading, catch you on the next one! 

— Steph from the LiveSwitch Team

Until next time, stay switched on to our socials: