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Images for Facebook Ads

Matic Broz profile picture By Matic Broz Updated August 5, 2022
Best Images for Facebook Ads thumbnail

Facebook Posts and Ads with images get 2.3x more engagement than those without images. People also remember 80% of what they see but only 20% of what they read. So, now that we established how important visual content is for advertising and marketing. Let’s see how to maximize conversions using the best images for Facebook Ads.

Should you even use Facebook Image Ads?

We know from experience that images are still at the heart of good design, mainly if you advertise on social media. And while videos have recently become more popular on all social media platforms, images remain the leading visual medium for several reasons.

  • They are the easiest to create. To make an image add, you don’t have to be a cinematographer or create a video script and then edit it. All it takes is finding or taking a great image. Optionally, you can edit it lightly and add some text or shapes to it, but that’s as far as you have to go.
  • They are the most familiar. Many people, especially older generations, haven’t gotten used to the video yet and prefer getting information this way.
  • They are practical. We often use mobile phones in surroundings where they can’t watch videos, so images win yet again. And finally, videos are larger in size, so people with poor internet connections might be unable to load them.

Image Dimensions for Facebook Ads

The dimensions vary based on which Facebook ad placement you choose. You can choose between the Facebook feed, right column, instant articles, marketplace, stories, and many more. The recommended resolution is at least 1080 x 1080 pixels, and the recommended ratio is 1:1 across all ad placements.

However, some placements are more flexible and follow the most common wallpaper sizes for devices where Facebook will show the ad.

Recommended resolution

PlacementMin widthMin height
Facebook Feed600 pixels600 pixels
Facebook right column254  pixels133 pixels
Facebook Instant Articles1080 pixels1080 pixels
Facebook in-stream video600 pixels600 pixels
Facebook Marketplace1080 pixels1080 pixels
Facebook Stories500 pixels1080 pixels
Facebook search results600 pixels600 pixels
Facebook Business Explore 600 pixels600 pixels
Facebook Reels overlay600 pixels600 pixels

Recommended image ratios

PlacementRecommended ratioAll ratios*
Facebook Feed1.91:1 to 1:14:5
Facebook right column1:11.91:1 to 1:1
Facebook Instant Articles1.91:1 to 1:116:9 to 9:16
Facebook in-stream video1.91:1 to 1:14:5
Facebook Marketplace1:116:9 to 9:16
Facebook Stories9:16 (1.91:1 for dynamic stories)All
Facebook search results1.91:1 to 1:116:9 to 9:16
Facebook Business Explore 1.91:1 to 1:14:5
Facebook Reels overlay1:1

* Only valid if you don’t use a link, or Facebook may mask them to the recommended ratio.

File types

You may use JPG or PNG file formats, which are the gold standard for images on the web. You may also recommend videos in MP4 and MOV formats. If you have a GIF, you should upload it as a video and not an image.

Best practices

You can never know how your ad will perform upfront unless you have a ton of experience. Therefore, we recommend you create multiple designs and employ A/B testing. However, there are several actionable steps you can take when creating a Facebook Image Ad to maximize its success on the first try:

  • Use the recommended aspect ratio for each placement. Different placements on Facebook, Feed, Stories, and Marketplace require different aspect ratios. For example, a 1:1 ratio can be used for Facebook Feed and a 9:16 ratio for Facebook Stories.
  • Use high-resolution images. Always use at least the minimum pixel size for photos, but we recommend you use a higher resolution for better-looking results. Facebook recommends at least 1080 x 1080 pixels, but you can also go much higher. Just make sure your images are not blurry or pixelated.
  • Showcase your brand, service, or product. People will quickly recognize your brand when you use a logo, which is beneficial for two reasons. First, they are more likely to stop and inspect the ad if they already know and like you. Second, your brand will be imprinted in their memory if they don’t know you yet.
  • Don’t use too much text. We use images to avoid using text at all. But if you must use text, remember that images with less than 20% text perform the best.
  • Emphasize your message. Images capture your audience’s attention, but using a vague image won’t work. Therefore, don’t be afraid to frame the most critical part of the image.

Best Images for Facebook Ads

There are three ways of getting images for Facebook Ads, which depend on your budget and the type of image you need.

  • Take the picture yourself or hire a photographer. If you want to show your product in the best light, you either need to take the photo yourself or hire a photographer. Both are possible because if you want to take the picture yourself, you will need to buy a camera, learn how to use it (learning photography can take years), and even set up a studio for product photography. Hiring a professional photographer, on the other hand, is cheaper but still quite expensive.
  • Stock photos are ideal if you do not need to image your product because they are the cheapest ($0.22-$100/image). This is the case if you promote something more general, such as a course. They are also great if you want to increase brand awareness. In this case, you can find a stock image of people, an office, or some other general topic and put your logo over it with optional text.
  • Graphic design services are expensive but do all the work for you. You just need to tell them what you want, send them your brand kit (colors, logo, fonts), and they will send you several versions of a design.

Since stock images are the cheapest, they are also the most commonly used. We will show you where to get them, but before that, we should discuss whether it’s a good idea to use free stock images and Google images.

Can you use Google Images for Facebook Ads?

First, you must understand that Google Images are not Google’s and are not free to use. Instead, Google Images is merely a search engine that shows you all images on the internet related to your search phrase.

But in reality, they come from websites, blogs, social media posts, stock photo sites, and other image databases. And most of these are not free to use, especially not for commercial purposes, i.e., Facebook Ads. Google lets you use filters to show only Creative Commons images. You can do this by selecting “Tools,” and from the “Usage Rights” dropdown menu, choose “Creative Commons licenses.”

Google Images Creative Commons license
Apply the “Creative Commons licenses” filter on Google Images.

But we found that it’s not very accurate. For example, the very first suggestion of this search comes from a website whose images are not Creative Commons. Therefore, we urge you not to use Google Images for Facebook Ads or other public purposes.

What about free stock photo sites?

Yes, you can use free stock photos for your Google ads. Most free stock photo sites do not require you to give credit (although recommended), even if you use the images for commercial purposes. But there’s a reason we do not think they are a good idea when used commercially (for education, they can be great):

Free stock photo websites do not guarantee that the person who uploaded the images (usually an amateur photographer) is the rightful owner. This means that the copyright of the images could be infringed, making their use illegal. Therefore, free stock photo websites do not offer legal protection, the so-called compensation that would protect you if the image gets you into trouble.

Since you are likely to spend thousands of dollars on Facebook ads, we recommend you spend a few more and buy an image from one of the many paid stock photo agencies. This will also ensure that you receive compensation for each image, ranging from $10,000 to $250,000, depending on the license type.

Standard vs. Extended Royalty-free Licenses

When buying stock photos, you usually get a royalty-free license. But depending on the site where you’re buying the photos, there are many flavors of the royalty-free license, most commonly the standard, and extended licenses. The main differences between the two are the price (~$1 vs. ~$80), the number of copies/prints allowed (500K vs. unlimited), whether or not you may use it for merchandise, and the indemnity amount.

The good news is that since you need images for Facebook Ads, which count as a web impression, you should get a much cheaper and more abundant standard royalty-free license. In other words, there is no need to get an extended license, although you can if you want to get a higher indemnity — usually $250,000 instead of $10,000.

Best stock photo sites for Facebook Ads images

We have already created an extensive guide on the best websites for stock photos, so we’re not going to rehash the ideas in this article, but here’s the gist: 

  1. Shutterstock icon
    Best images for Facebook Ads
    Shutterstock
    at Shutterstock
    Get free Read more
  2. Adobe Stock small icon
    Best for graphic designers
    Adobe Stock
    at Adobe Stock
    Get free Read more
  3. iStock icon
    Best for premium images
    iStock
    at iStock
    Get free Read more
  4. Depositphotos icon
    Best for bloggers and SME
    Depositphotos
    at Depositphotos
    Get free Read more
  5. Canva icon 70px
    Best budget pick
    Canva
    at Canva
    Get free Read more

1. Shutterstock: Best Overall

Shutterstock logo
Best overall
Shutterstock subscriptions and image packs
at Shutterstock
$0.22–$14.50/image
Shop now

Pros

  • 396+ million images.
  • Ten free images during a 30-day trial.
  • Great image quality.

Cons

  • Limited on-demand options.
  • Not the best for videos.

Number of images: 396+ million | Pricing: $0.22–$14.50/image | Free trial: Yes (10 images)

With over 396 million images in its database, 200 thousand images added weekly, and rigorous technical standards, Shutterstock is an ideal source of photos for Facebook ads. We like it because it ensures two crucial points when using images in advertising: Use high-quality images and always have fresh content at hand.

Since you only need the Standard License ($0.22–$14.50), subscriptions will be your best bet because they are the cheapest. But if you don’t need images regularly (at least 10 a month), it’s better to get an image pack. They are a bit more expensive per image but give you more flexibility. However, we recommend Adobe Stock instead of Shutterstock if you want an image pack.

2. Adobe Stock: Best for graphic designers

Adobe Stock logo
Best for graphic designers
Adobe Stock subscriptions and credit packs
at Adobe Stock
$0.26–$9.99/image
Shop now

Pros

  • Superb image and video quality.
  • Offers templates, 3D objects, and fonts.
  • More than 1 million free images.
  • Creative Cloud integration.
  • Works with Photoshop, Illustrator, & others.

Cons

  • More costly than some alternatives.
  • No promo codes or coupons.
  • Expensive premium content.

Number of images: 297+ million | Pricing: $0.26–$9.99/image | Free trial: Yes (10, 25, or 40 images)

Adobe Stock is excellent both for subscriptions and on-demand (with credits). However, it truly excels in integrating all Adobe apps, including Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere, and several others. This feature allows you to browse and use Adobe Stock assets (images, videos, etc.) inside those apps without ever leaving them, which significantly improves your workflow. Moreover, you can use all of them for free with a watermark, and you pay only for those you use at export.

Compared to Shutterstock, Adobe Stock is cheaper and more flexible for on-demand buying but more expensive with subscriptions. Yet, we like the free trial that lets you download up to 40 free images, thus saving you up to $79.99. In comparison, other stock image free trials usually grant you only 10 free images.

3. iStock: Best for premium images

iStock logo
Best for premium images
iStock basic and premium subscriptions, and credit packs
iStock by Getty Images
$0.22–$14.00
Shop now

Pros

  • 140+ million images.
  • The signature collection is of superb quality.
  • Competitive prices.
  • 10 images with the free trial.

Cons

  • Signature images are a lot more expensive.
  • Expensive extended license.

Number of images: 140+ million | Pricing: $0.22-$9.90/image | Free trial: Yes (10 images)

iStock’s pricing combines Adobe Stock’s credits (on-demand) and Shutterstock’s subscriptions. Additionally, it brings subscriptions for premium images to the table, making it affordable compared to other premium stock agencies.

However, where iStock lacks is the number of images with less than half of what Shutterstock and Adobe Stock have, plus pretty poor customer support. Also, the free trial is only available in a select few countries and not worldwide, so you might not be able to use it.

4. Depositphotos: Best for bloggers and SME

Depositphotos logo
Best for bloggers and SME
Depositphotos subscriptions and images packs
Depositphotos
$0.22–$14.00/image
Shop now

Pros

  • 224+ million images
  • Good image quality
  • No daily limit
  • Reverse image search
  • Excellent customer support (phone, live chat, and email)
  • A collection of free images

Cons

  • No custom packs (only available for enterprises).
  • Limited flexibility of on-demand options.

Number of images: 224 million | Pricing: $0.22–$14.00/image | Free trial: Yes (10 images)

Depositphotos is particularly good for Facebook ad images for those who don’t need many downloads each month since their small subscriptions are much cheaper than elsewhere. But the lower prices come at the expense of a lower indemnity of $5,000 instead of $10,000.

We recommend Depositphotos only when you want to buy up to 30 stock images per month, in which case you should get a subscription or when you need images for demand. But we discourage you from using Depositphotos for videos because video packs are too fragmented to be useful.

5. Canva: Budget pick

Canva logo
Budget pick
Canva graphic design tool with 110+ million stock images
Canva
$9.99–$12.99/month
Shop now

Pros

  • 30-day free trial
  • Inexpensive subscription
  • Intuitive and super easy-to-use
  • Huge built-in stock photo library
  • Prompts team-work

Cons

  • Bad at photo editing
  • No one-time purchase option
  • Can’t use it offline
  • Lacks advanced design options

Number of images: 110+ million | Pricing: $9.99-$12.99/month | Free trial: Yes (30 days)

Canva is an excellent online graphic design tool for creating Facebook Ads, especially for beginners, because you can leverage templates made by professionals specifically for that purpose. You then have to add your text, personalize colors to match your branding, and swap images and logos. And you can do all that for free.

If you want to take your designs a step further, get Canva Pro, which grants you unlimited access to 110 million stock images. You also get a free scheduler, branding kits, thousands of fonts, and other advanced tools for $9.99 per month.

Examples of Images in Facebook Ads

Over the months, we collected the best example of using images in Facebook Ads. Here we explain what makes each ad example suitable and what you can learn from it:

Example 1: Microsoft

Notice how Microsoft brilliantly uses its logo in the top left and its branding colors and fonts to be immediately recognized. They also use a clean, professional stock image (their photographer might have taken it) and some text on the right side to explain their service.

Facebook Image Ad - Example of Microsoft
Screenshot of a Microsoft image ad on Facebook (Credit: Microsoft/Facebook)

Key takeaways:

  • Use your logo, brand colors, and brand fonts.
  • Use images with people.
  • Pick images of people interacting with your type of product (i.e., for tennis shoes, find pictures of people jogging).

Example 2: Dealify

Dealify is an eCommerce site that intelligently leverages Facebook Image Carousel Ads, which allow you to use multiple ads within the same allotted space. Instead of using its logo, Dealify promotes the deals in its eCommerce store by providing its logos. However, notice Dealify’s logo in the profile picture, their name in the profile name, and their name as the first word in the description.

Facebook Image Ad - Example of Dealify
Screenshot of a Dealify image ad on Facebook (Credit: Dealify/Facebook)

Although their ad images are very descriptive, minimal text is in line with the modern approach to graphic design, using minimalism. Instead, they use screenshots of the products they promote to associate the product with your consumer’s visual perception quickly.

Key takeaways:

  • When beautifully designed, you can even use screenshots.
  • Use contrasty backgrounds to emphasize the image/screenshot.

Example 3: Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

For this example, we chose a screenshot from a video ad because it perfectly demonstrates everything you need to consider when creating image ads.

Facebook Image Ad - Example Adobe Acrobat
Screenshot of an Adobe video ad on Facebook (Credit: Adobe/Facebook)

Key takeaways:

  • Use your brand colors, but experiment with gradients, not just solid color background.
  • Add a call-to-action button.
  • Add your logo.
  • A simple text describing the product.

How to Create Facebook Ad Images

Now that you learned from the previous examples, it’s time to apply them to your designs. Knowing how to create a beautiful graphic, will skyrocket your conversions. And just a hint: it doesn’t have to be complicated.

Follow these 6 simple principles to create Facebook image ads:

1. Clear message

One of the most important aspects of a successful Facebook ad is a clear and concise message, which you deliver through the smart use of an image and text. Since an image is only one part of the ad, it is important that it harmonizes well with the rest of the ad.

Simple design for Facebook ads
An example of simple design.

Also, the message of the ad should be consistent with the landing page. This is called ad scent, and it is important that the message and images of the ad match those of the landing page.

2. Brand and complementary colors

Most people scroll through their Facebook news feed without looking at the ads. To make sure your ad grabs people’s attention, use colors that stand out from the rest of your posts.

If you have a set color palette for your brand, stick to it. If you do not have a set color palette, you can use a website like Coolors.co or Canva’s palette generator to create a palette that looks professional and coordinates well.

Color palettes for Facebook ads

3. High-quality images of people

When creating image ads, it is important to use high-quality images to avoid coming across as unprofessional. There are many resources available that make it easy to find high-quality photos and illustrations. When choosing images, it is important to look at the licenses associated with them to ensure you are legally able to use them. Avoid using images from a Google image search, as this can result in copyright violations. If you are not explicitly given permission to use an image, it is best to avoid it.

4. Avoid too much text

When designing your ads, use very little text on your images. Highlight your offer or include a call to action. If your ad requires explanation, do so in the ad text and not on the image itself. Facebook will limit the reach of your ad if you use too much text. This used to be known as the 20% rule. Now, ads with more text can be allowed, but the reach of the ad is determined in part based on the amount of text in the image.

Use fonts that are easy to read and not distracting. You should use a maximum of 2 fonts, but if you can, choose only 1 and stick with it. Make sure your fonts are also licensed for commercial use.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you get sued for using AliExpress images as Facebook ads?

If you uploaded the images to AliExpress, you can safely reuse them for Facebook ads. However, if you do not own the images, you cannot use them for Facebook ads as this would constitute copyright infringement. The only way to safely use someone else’s images for your commercial purposes is to get their permission.

What photos are best for Facebook ads?

The best photos for Facebook ads must have a resolution of at least 1080 x 1080 pixels, be in PNG or JPG format, not be blurry, and have an aspect ratio of 1:1. The best images show people doing something or depict everyday objects.

Can I sell branded images and videos for Facebook ads made from stock images?

You may only use branded images for resale when it’s your brand. However, you may not use other companys’ branded images for Facebook ads, unless you get their permissions, such as when you work as their ads manager.

What’s next?

If you’ve read through this article and considered the examples, you’re now ready to create your first Facebook image ad. Here’s how you should do it:

  1. Get an idea about what you want to promote.
  2. Generate a clear vision of the design.
  3. Browse one of the best stock photo sites and find a great photo.
  4. Create a Facebook Ad.
  5. Publish the ad.

Sources

  1. Recommended minimum image pixel requirements across placements. Meta Business Help Centre, Facebook. Accessed August 4, 2022.
  2. Best Practices For Image Ads. Meta Business Help Centre, Facebook. Accessed August 4, 2022.
  3. Facebook Ads Guide – Image. Meta Business Help Centre, Facebook. Accessed August 4, 2022.
  4. Alexandra Sheehan. Facebook Ad Sizes and Specs for 2022 + Free Resizing Tool. Shopify Blog. Accessed August 5, 2022.

About your guide

Matic Broz profile image
Matic Broz

Matic Broz is a photographer, graphic designer, and stock photographer. For over ten years he's been helping photographers improve their photos and graphic designers find the best images for their designs. His work has been featured by Lifewire, Skylum, and PetaPixel. In his free time, he enjoys photography, hiking, and petting random dogs. Read more

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