What should great static ads look like? This week, our network members share best practise advice for creating images and visual assets that get your ads noticed.

With the sheer volume of brands and businesses vying for our attention on social media, it can be difficult to stand out and get someone to stop scrolling.

Competing brands will use a variety of tactics, but for the most successful campaigns, there is always one key piece to the puzzle - a well thought-out visual element.

In this article, we spoke to Network members The Behaviours Agency and Notepad to learn exactly what it takes for your static imagery and graphics to grab a customer's attention on busy platforms, and get them moving through the sales funnel.

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How to plan the visual assets for your campaign

There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to designing an eye-catching static ad, but the goal is always to create something that people want to interact with. 

Communicate a single clear message

For Harry Williams, Senior Creative at The Behaviours Agency, “you should always start with a goal to communicate a single clear message, and then create a visual that supports it. It needs to be top line.

Static ads are a single visual that need to both link to all your other campaign assets and achieve cut-through in an instant. 

So, whilst web pages, videos and other executions can go into depth and explain more your static assets are really the most focused versions of your campaign.” 

Harry Williams on how to make the most of your static imager to get your ads noticed

Create ads that will stand out for your audience

As we often here when discussing where to start with any marketing strategy, Naeem Alvi-Assinder, Founder of Notepad stresses the importance of audience research.

Make them relevant and do your audience research. With social being such a competitive climate, we have to understand our audience’s interests more than ever. 

What do they want to see and what’s going to make them stop scrolling? Creating a mood board often helps to visualise the right direction for your audience.” 

Read: TShirt &Sons appoint Notepad for Brand Identity Support

Tactics to create ads that get noticed

Even though there's no one-size-fits-all approach to designing an eye-catching static ad, there are some tactics that can be applied by any business that can help to drive engagement. 

Be brave - pick a message that will stand out from your competition

“First of all, take a look around,” advises Harry. “Get to know your audience and what they are looking for. Your ads will better perform better if they connect with your target market’s taste, style, and interests.

But you shouldn’t just want to fit in, there is so much competition for attention that it should be a prerequisite to be brave. Attention spans are short, so be single-minded, pick a key message and do something to communicate it that is individual and will stand out.” 

Play around with your formats - but don't overcomplicate it

For Naeem, where possible and relevant, it’s always good to play around with video or simple animation.

“When we’re scrolling quickly on our favourite platform, our eyes are naturally drawn to movement. Making simple gifs for podcasts or turning case studies into video is a great way to get noticed. With that said, it’s also important to keep it simple. 

Pick a focal point and make it easy for your audience to take in the information they need to click on your link.”

Naeem Alvi-Assinder on how to make the most of your static imager to get your ads noticed

Read: Evolution or Revolution – Defining and Refining your Brand Identity featuring The Behaviours Agency 

Common mistakes made with static imagery in adverts

There are many reasons a marketing campaign can fizzle out, and design is one variable that can either strengthen or weaken all aspects of that campaign. 

You might strike the right tone with your message and audience, but use a colour that’s too bright or a font that’s difficult to read and potential customers will soon lose interest.

To avoid any costly mistakes, we asked our experts to share some of the biggest mistakes they’ve seen.


Overcomplicating your ads with too many messages


Harry warns against trying to communicate too many messages.

“You should always have a clear idea of the one message you want the viewer to take away with them.

When you see static ads with two, three, four or more messages it’s just confusing.” 

Harry Williams on how to make the most of your static imager to get your ads noticed


Overdoing the stock imagery in your adverts


Should you use stock imagery in your adverts? Though it's tempting, use it wisely.

“The average person can notice up to 100 ads per day,” says Naeem, “so it’s vital to choose an image that people will absorb and remember. One of the biggest mistakes is using overused generic stock imagery. 

Quite often we see the same images being churned out which makes it impossible to connect them to one business. Stock images are great but it’s all about being relevant. It’s also important to remember to use the correct image size for the platform you’re advertising on, this will stop poor resolution and quality.” 


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How to create adverts that fit your wider brand strategy


90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and we process visuals 60,000X faster than any text. However, visuals can only do so much when they're not used as part of a wider marketing effort.


Use imagery in your adverts that clearly communicates your brand identity


“Static ads should be the visual expression of it and by that, I mean every single image should be contributing to the overall strategy,” Harry tells us.

“It's the attention to detail and consistency at this level of a single image that makes the difference between successful brands and unsuccessful brands. 

They should fundamentally help build the brand distinctiveness your marketing strategy is looking for and the memory associations needed to be a top-of-mind brand.” 

Download: The (Re)Brand Workbook


Consistency is key when advertising on different platforms


Naeem explains that having an inconsistent brand identity across your audience touch points can be quite confusing.

“Find a style that encompasses your brand and own it. Static ads are no exception, as quite often, they may be the first introduction to your business. Think about what you’re trying to say and how it’s relevant to your audience's brand experience.”

Naeem Alvi-Assinder on how to make the most of your static imager to get your ads noticed


When to use an external marketing agency vs. in-house graphic design/photography team


Most marketers possess the basic knowledge to put together simple assets, but the software and equipment needed to produce high-quality static imagery ads can be costly and require specialist skills. 

For Harry, by working on a range of products, marketing agencies build a wider range of experience. “They can draw on this experience to create a variety of work that is rooted in proven results. It also means that challenges are approached, and solutions are found through more diverse thinking.” 

Alongside this, an external agency can provide:

  • Objective, best-practise guidance on what works well with your audiences
  • Capacity to create variations of your efforts regularly
  • Up-to-date information on the latest trends in the platforms you're using


Still, it's key to find an agency that understands your brand, voice and goals. If you're looking to discover recommended agencies for your business, GO!'s cost-free agency search and qualification offering can help. Get in touch here.

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