You can check out Noran El-Shinnawy’s full piece on this topic over at Search Engine Watch. I’d recommend you try all of the ideas in rotation, and test to see which ones attract the most clicks. If one approach doesn’t seem to be working, don’t be afraid to try a different one. With Facebook, it’s important to try to keep things fresh.
Facebook ads give you a space for a thumbnail image. Stumped for an idea of what to use? Keep it simple and use text against a white background as your image. You can even use white text on a colored background. Boil down your message into four words or less, and fit it into the space. You can even use well-understood icons. How about a heart for “I (heart) Crafting” to advertise your craft supply website? Or the words “Get Paid to Bake” as the thumbnail image in your ad promoting your culinary arts school? These kinds of ads really do attract attention, and get your point across quickly.
If you want to use an actual image, but still feel creatively stuck, hit up Google Image Search. Under its Advanced Search options, you can specifically look for royalty-free images. Even if you don’t want to use an image directly from a Google Image Search, you can use them as a jumping-off point. Throw in some of your most important keywords, and find out what people associate with your topic. El-Shinnawy notes that, once you get past the clip art, you can find different interpretations of your topic; pop cultural references to your topic (did it show up on a popular TV show or movie?); celebrities associated with your topic; and more. That kind of material can really get your creative juices flowing.
When people have a problem, they want to find someone or something that will make it better. They may also relate to images of the problem. This is one reason you find heavy people in ads promoting weight loss products. So think about what problem your product or service is intended to solve, and put an image on it. Are you selling something to help people get organized? You might show a harried executive trying to talk on three phones with an overflowing inbox and a briefcase full of paper. Auto repair? Show a clunker car. In any case, remember to include text that explains how you can help solve your reader’s problem.
If you don’t mind standing out a bit, try using a slightly goofy, off-the-wall image. You know what I’m talking about. Remember the TV commercial that features a kid bouncing on a trampoline the entire time while the parents just sit there sedately? Or – going back further – the “Where’s the Beef” commercials? They were memorable because they contained an element of the silly or unexpected (who expected the one older women surrounded by her sedate, overly polite contemporaries, to suddenly shout “Where’s the beef?!”). Make it eye-catching, and if at all possible, relevant to your product or service.
Before you run out and use these ideas, keep in mind that you don’t get your money just from click-throughs, but from conversions. As El-Shinnawy explains, “An ad that qualifies too well may keep you from getting any traffic, but if you only focus on making your ad visually engaging and compelling, you might be driving irrelevant clicks through to a page they won’t convert on.” It’s a tricky balance, which is why you’ll need to experiment with several different ads to see what works best for you. Good luck!