By Teresa Conner
With so many books in the world and ads on every platform imaginable, social media can often feel like screaming into a void. In order to get any traction, you need ad design that gets noticed by your ideal reader or target audience. Following these 3 tips will give you a bit of a secret sauce foundation for capturing those clicks.
(Note: In this article, I will specifically be talking about static ads, but all of these tips can also be applied to video ads.)
Catch Readers’ Attention
Before a reader can act on your ad, it needs to draw them in and stand out from the countless other ads vying for their eyeballs. The principles you need to consider when designing are: contrast, legibility, white or negative space, genre expectations, and essentialism.
Just as your book cover should meet genre expectations for readers, so should your promotional graphics. If you’re writing dark and gritty mystery, don’t have pastel colors on your ads and so on. Just as film goers are used to genre conventions in movie poster design, so are readers with book design. Know your market and keep ads relatable to them.
Contrast is the difference between two or more elements in a design or layout. The bigger the difference, the better something can be read, processed, and understood by the viewer. Catch readers’ eyes with sharp contrasting colors. Think of a black background with a bright yellow text. The difference in those colors creates contrast.
But also keep accessibility in mind. Check out WebAIM’s Contrast Checker to see if your chosen colors are accessible to readers with visual disabilities. You want your chosen shades to have enough distance between them on the brightness/luminance spectrum. Here’s an example of insufficient contrast versus good contrast:
Both blues match the image, yes, but only one offers enough contrast to be easily read against the pale background.
Choose typography (fonts) that are easy to read. Sticking with serif or sans-serif fonts for the majority of your image is the best advice. If you must use a display, script, or brush font, make it large and perhaps only use it for one attention-grabbing word, such as FREE, as I did in this Bookbub Ad example.
Being mindful of how much text is on your ad is crucial. You want readers to focus on the most important part (sale price, release date, blurb, review, etc). Sparse text also creates a pleasing visual full of white space. No one likes cluttered graphics. Just as your book’s plot shouldn’t be stuffed with unnecessary things, neither should your promo graphics. Elements need room to breathe, and simplicity appeals to a greater audience. Do less, and do it better.
Make Your Offer
In order to get potential readers clicking on your ads, you must make certain your graphic (referred to in marketing by some as a “creative”) has a crystal clear message. This means, you should make your book (the product – yes, I know, authors hate thinking of their art as a product but it is) the star of the show.
According to Facebook, “product-focused creative drives business results more efficiently, with 71% more content views versus creatives without a clear product focus.”
Consider the size of your product and the visual placement. Don’t be too vague. Users will only take 1-2 seconds to look at your ad before they decide to stop or to keep scrolling. If your product is a mystery, odds of them clicking on it lower drastically. Don’t let them wonder. But also don’t stuff too much information into your ad. Laser focus on one message—be that a sale/discount, a new release, a one-line review or endorsement, etc. Pertinent info only.
Encourage Readers to Act
Now that we have the design streamlined and the focus solely on your book, let’s make the Call to Action on your ad clear and obvious. A Call to Action (CTA) is marketing copy that encourages the audience to take a particular, desired action in their buyer’s journey. In the case of book marketing, you want them to eventually make a purchase, download a freebie, or subscribe to your newsletter, for instance.
A CTA could be in text format only or be enclosed in a button design. It could be the main part of your ad or a secondary portion. Examples of Calls to Action are: Grab this book, Click Here, Buy Now, Read Now, Sign Up, Subscribe, Learn More, Get, Download Here, Join Us, etc. As you can see, they are centered around action verbs. Sometimes they are focused around creating a sense of urgency, but not always.
It might seem like CTAs are pointless because isn’t the point of an ad to click it? But humans are more apt to act when they are explicitly told to. According to conversion consultant Jeremy Smith, “The CTA reinforces our psychological sense of reward. We take action based on what we perceive the reward to be. After receiving rewards for certain actions, we develop learned conditions that predispose us to take the same action that leads to the same reward.”
Putting these guidelines into play will have your ads seeing greater conversion rates than before. Now, go forth and sell your books! 😊
Want to learn how Book Brush can help you with image creation? Check out Book Brush’s demo page, which is always available with tips and tricks on how to use our platform.
You can also sign up to our Platinum plan and view the Sell More with Facebook Ads Platinum Academy class with Skye Warren.
Teresa Conner is Lead Graphic Designer at Book Brush. When not creating graphics for Book Brush or book covers for indie authors and traditional publishers, Teresa can be found writing erotic romance under her pen name Torrance Sené.