10 Image Advertising Secrets from the Pros

Today, visual content is essential to any good marketing strategy.

In the years to come, it’s safe to say that we will only see the importance of image advertising increase and that advertisers who miss the train will have a difficult time catching up.

As it stands right now, coloured visuals increase a customer’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%, and a whopping 34% of marketers say that visual assets are their single most important marketing weapon.

Unfortunately, not everyone understands how to ace image advertising, and much of it falls short as a result.

With this in mind, we’ve compiled the top ten image advertising secrets to overhaul your image advertising strategy, starting right now.

1. Test multiple designs of all of your images

Content, in general, is a trial-and-error game. This means that testing different iterations of everything is essential.

When you test various designs, you’re not assuming anything about your audience. Instead, you’re presenting them with a variety of options and letting them choose which one works best for them.

Effective testing will go a long way toward providing you with the insight and awareness you need to ensure that your image advertising strategy is reliable and relevant going forward.

While it may not seem like A/B testing your image design is that critical, the above Disruptive Advertising meme gets it exactly right: you need to test your designs to hone your strategy.

Without adequate testing, you’re walking blindfolded into the world of content, which is far too broad and uncertain to support such an action.

That said, test all of your visuals. It will help you find the most efficient ones quickly and will cut down on guesswork across the board.

2. Develop buyer personas and re-visit them frequently

While many advertisers associate buyer personas strictly with content, smart marketers know that buyer personas are just as essential in the way they advertise.

It’s wise to create a buyer persona for each customer segment your business is targeting.

To make these personas as effective as possible, consider things like the persona’s age, gender, occupation, annual income, concerns, motivations, and preferred social channels. To top it all off, name your personas and give each of them a photo.

Use the below template for guidance, if you need.

While this may seem unnecessary, buyer personas are critical for helping direct and focus your content, as well as your ads. By developing good ones, you can go a long way toward overhauling your image advertising strategy and ensure that everything you put out is precise and gets a return on investment.

3. Leverage testimonials or reviews as social proof

Images are a great place to input social proof factors like user numbers, testimonials, or customer reviews.

For an example of a company that exceeds in this area, consider HubSpot:

By including their subscriber and user numbers in these subdued visuals on their site, they add a level of authority to their website, which in turn encourages users to sign up for what could easily be higher rates.

While you don’t need to mimic this approach exactly, it’s wise to take a page out of their book and use any social proof your brand has to add authority and relevance to your company.

4. Add a call-to-action to all of your visuals

While a good call-to-action is essential for text-based content, it can also overhaul your visual content entirely, leading to more compelling images and a streamlined conversion process.

Check out how clothing company ModCloth does this on one of their website pages:

By pairing high-quality images with a compelling call-to-action (CTA), Modcloth builds credibility with site visitors and increases the chance they will convert.

To enhance your images and your calls-to-action, ensure that the pictures you choose to use are relevant and that the call-to-action is accurate enough to tell the reader exactly what to do.

In addition to simplifying the conversion process for your customers, this also benefits your sales funnel and helps ensure that your customers take the actions you want them to.

5. Choose compelling images for your advertisements

Image advertising is only as good as the pictures you choose, and it’s easy to go wrong by inputting an irrelevant, ugly, or low-quality image into one of your ads.

Spend some extra time focusing on the pictures you choose for your ads. Ideally, a good advertising image should do the following things:

  • It should grab the reader’s attention
  • It should be relevant to your ad copy
  • It should demonstrate the benefits of your product, good, or service
  • It should stand out in a news feed

Once you’ve chosen the perfect image for your ad, help it stand out by writing quality ad copy and using visual contrast so the photo pops off the page.

Check out how Innocent Drinks does it in a recent Facebook post:

Keep in mind that if you intend to use your ad on a platform like Facebook, you’ll need to abide by the platform’s advertising policies to ensure your ad features the way you want it to.

6. Appeal to your reader’s emotions

The best image advertisers find a way to appeal to their reader’s emotions. We’ve all heard the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words, and this couldn’t be more true for image advertising.

By choosing an image that represents your target audience and portrays a relatable, moving, or exciting situation, you can easily create an emotional response in your reader that can go a long way toward helping them bond with your company or remember your product.

Consider how outdoor clothing company Patagonia does it in the below advertisement posted on Facebook.

From the dramatic black-and-white colour scheme, to the smokestacks spewing smog up into a cloudy sky, this image makes the reader feel doom and gloom and increases the likelihood that they’ll make the move to visit the partner page.

While you don’t need to be quite as much of a downer in your image advertising, choosing an image that draws on your reader’s emotions is essential, and it will help boost the success of your advertisements.

7. Place your ads where they will make the most impact

While it’s all well and good to select your advertising images carefully and ensure that you’re writing compelling ad copy that appeals to your customers’ emotions, it’s all for naught if you’re not placing your ads correctly.

The correct positioning of your ads will depend largely on the size, shape, and content of the ad, as well as the platform on which you’re displaying it. But it’s also important to remember that placing your ad incorrectly can have a disastrous effect on its relevance and impact.

8. Ensure that your ads remain consistent with the rest of your content

If you run an image ad on a social platform, the content within the ad should be consistent with the rest of the content on your other web properties. For example, if a user clicks a Facebook ad offering a discount on a given product, the user should then be able to navigate to your website and find, not only the product pictured, but also the discount.

For a real-life example, check out this Nordstrom Rack image advertisement:

Click on this ad and you’ll make it to the company’s event page, which does not feature the green boot pictured in the ad.

To stay consistent and avoid disappointing your readers, ensure that the images you share on your advertisements are consistent with what they can find on your website as well.

9. Keep your ads credible

With image advertising, many marketers go off the rails and fall into the trap of not being credible.

For example, consider this post in the Facebook group Work from Home:

While a reader may believe that it’s possible to make money teaching courses on Udemy, $1 million is too steep to be believable, and this ad loses credibility as a result.

Be sure to keep your advertising credible. In addition to reflecting more positively on your brand, this simple step will also prevent users from overlooking your advertisement because they believe it’s too good to be true, or that clicking it will infect their computer with a virus.

10. Stay true to your brand

There are dozens of different ways to do image advertising, but the most critical consideration is always to stay true to your brand.

By infusing your image advertising with your unique personality and perspective, you can come off as reliable and relatable to your customers, all of which serves to advance your position in your industry and ensure ongoing success for you and your brand.

So whether being authentic means being silly, serious, or heartfelt, embedding your unique brand personality into your marketing is a critical step toward putting out the best possible image advertising, across the board.

Want an example of a brand that does it well? Consider Hootsuite, who captures its overall personality and its clients’ feelings in a simple Facebook ad:

By taking a page out of Hootsuite’s book and ensuring that you stay true to your brand voice in your image advertising, you can excel across all of your platforms, without breaking your back in the process.

Image Advertising Secrets, Made Simple

While image advertising may seem complicated, it’s a simple pursuit that you can quickly master with a bit of added time and attention.

Image advertising has exploded in popularity in recent years, and it’s only getting more popular as time goes on. Whether you advertise on Facebook, Instagram, or anything in-between, there is an opportunity to make the most of it for your brand.

From choosing the right images for your ads to ensuring that you maintain credibility throughout, these top ten image advertising secrets are exactly what you need to improve your digital marketing strategy, without sacrificing your brand voice or credibility in the process.

Image advertising doesn’t have to be difficult, you just need to know where to start.