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Creative Week: Creative Tips for Social Platforms

Published: February 21, 2018

Author: Tyler Cotman

How do you design creative that drives high engagement on a tight budget? How can you manage your design team efficiently without blunting creativity? This week, experts from the 3Q Creative and Social teams will be answering these questions and more by sharing tips and tactics they’ve learned over years of running high-impact campaigns with highly engaging creative.
If you’re starting up your business’ paid social efforts, you probably want to make sure that your advertising dollars are being spent in the smartest way possible. Many brands new to social advertising have a limited budget, so it’s imperative to make ad creative that is not only effective, but also can work across different platforms and formats.
Below, we break down some creative best practices across major social platforms, and also highlight when platforms share the same creative dimensions.


With Facebook, it’s easiest to start out your advertising experience with static image/link ads. Make sure your efforts aren’t wasted by keeping these simple best practices in mind!

Facebook Best Practices

  • Keep your objective in mind: Are you optimizing for product sales? Website sign-ups? Or maybe you just want to increase the awareness of your overall brand. Think of how you can tell a story through one image to entice users to complete your desired objective.
  • The image should be captivating: There are several components to creating a captivating image on Facebook. First, think about how it would look on the platform. When users are scrolling through the News Feed, will this ad stand out in the sea of content? A general rule of thumb is to stick to warm colors – yellows, oranges, etc. – to contrast with Facebook’s more toned-down, primarily blue, platform branding.
    • A general 3Q rule of thumb is the 5-foot rule (on desktop). If you are standing 5 feet away from your ad, can you tell what the ad is supposed to sell with just the image?
  • Image specs: It’s extremely important to stick to Facebook’s recommended image sizes, just like on any other platform. You don’t want to run an ad that looks stretched, blurry, or sized wrong, which would decrease the likelihood a user will click through.

Testing Tip: After you test your initial static images, try adding copy overlays/buttons to your top-performing creative! This will create a stronger call to action, likely increasing your CVR. Every brand should do a copy overlay test to see if they can find success. From there, you can move on to Facebook’s other popular ad types, such as carousel, video, and canvas ads. Keep in mind, Facebook penalizes images with over 20% text, so you want to stick to a simple call to action. Creative testing should be constant, so keep with it because you never know what could suddenly make your CVR skyrocket.


Facebook makes it extremely easy to start advertising on their Instagram platform. Once you’ve discovered your success with Facebook static images, Instagram is the next best place to test. You actually run your Instagram campaigns through Facebook’s user interface.

Instagram Best Practices

  • Strong images are key: Like Facebook, Instagram is all about story-telling within an image. If you are just getting started, a best practice would be to test your Facebook top performer on the platform. (You can even use the same image specs!)
  • Instagram is more visual: Image best practices for Instagram also align closely with Facebook, making the actual content creation easy! Keep in mind, Instagram is even MORE visual than Facebook. Users scroll past tons of photos per day; you really want to make sure they stop on yours.
  • Image Specs: As mentioned before, you can always start with your Facebook-sized images as long as they look good in the Instagram placement preview. Adjust the cropping to pop more on the Instagram feed when possible, testing both rectangular and square images. Additional specs/image guidelines can be found here.

Testing Tip: Have a good video to share? Try out the Instagram “Stories” placement. This is still a fairly new platform for advertisers, but if you are confident in your content, it is definitely an ad placement that will only get bigger.


After you determine the success of Facebook and Instagram, Pinterest is an excellent platform to consider, especially if your business works well with the planning/pinning model.

Pinterest Best Practices

  • Pinterest images last a long time: The most important thing to remember about Pinterest is that (most) pins last forever, or at least until you delete them. Creative on Pinterest is extremely important because of the visual nature of the platform. So important, in fact, that Pinterest relies heavily on CTR in their algorithm. The number one factor for having a strong CTR is creative; its importance can’t be emphasized enough. Start with a promoted pin to easily test the platform.
  • Stick with bright colors and overlays: First, make sure your pins have your logo on them, especially since pins continue to receive impressions past the lifespan of your campaigns. (You might as well make the most of your efforts by also increasing brand awareness!) Bright colors also work well on this platform. If you have multiple products, highlight them in one pin to show the user a variety. Lastly, copy overlays on Pinterest are almost ALWAYS the way to go! This is a great tactic no matter your objective, whether it’s eComm or content promotion.
  • Image Specs: Successful pins always have a vertical aspect ratio. For sizing, 600×900 is a Pinterest best practice, but you can go as long as 1500px vertically, so feel free to get creative!

Testing Tip: If you really want to get creative, test a lifestyle/product hybrid image showing your product and its use! Also don’t be shy to see what your competitors are testing; type some of your top search terms in the search bar to see what ads populate and see if it fuels your creative fuel.


Not every brand is meant for the aforementioned platforms; that’s where LinkedIn fills the gap! Typically a B2B platform, LinkedIn gives brands that are smart about their creative the ability to position themselves as thought leaders in their space. 

LinkedIn Best Practices

  • Overview: When getting started with LinkedIn, it’s likely you’ll start with “Sponsored Updates” ads. “Sponsored Updates” are essentially the same as a Facebook static image/link ad, but they appear as LinkedIn sponsored content.
  • Images with people: Like Facebook, LinkedIn recommends you use “crisp images and bright colors.” Images that include people in them typically perform better than images without (for sponsored content campaigns). Like Pinterest, copy overlay testing initially can be really beneficial for your campaigns. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box and take creative risks on LinkedIn; they just might pay off.
  • Image Specs: The best size for sponsored updates is 1200 x 627 pixels.

Testing Tip: Once you determine LinkedIn works well for your efforts, test the other ad types they have available! Based on your objective, there are several other ad types that might work well for your intended purpose. I recommend testing the text ads with language similar to your top-performing sponsored update.
Keeping branding consistent throughout all of your social media efforts can be beneficial for brand recognition in the long run. Though there are similarities between each platform, make sure you do your research to ensure your ads are properly tailored to see the best results per platform.

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