Market Trends

Online Advertising: 5 Golden Rules to Select the Best Visuals

By Sane - 5 min read

How to use visuals to get the most out of your online ad campaigns

Sane Lebrun, head of online marketing for EyeEm, including EyeEm Market, gives us the lowdown on picking the perfect visuals for your advertising campaigns – and using them effectively. Read on for his insights!

Putting a display advertising campaign together and not sure where to start? Remember this: The visual is your most important creative asset – and testing a variety of visual options is an absolute must. After all, more and more advertising platforms are now allowing marketers to test numerous banners alongside each other, Facebook and Twitter included. And while your choice of visuals could send the final cost of your campaign soaring, it could also help you get even more clicks for your budget.

The visual should be the very first asset you A/B (C/D/E/F…) test. But even then you could test 6 of them without having a clear winner. So how do you find the perfect visual?
When searching for visuals for successful campaigns, follow these 5 golden rules:

1. Choose the right colors

Orange jellyfishes swimming in blue sea


Grady Brodigan

To get noticed, your banner needs to stand out from its surrounding content. If you know where your ad is going to be displayed, start by determining the dominant color of the site. Then, choose the corresponding complementary color for your ad. Check the spectrum below to see what that should be!

Example: If you’re advertising on Facebook, with its blue dominant color, orange is the complementary color that’ll help your visual grab attention. Procter & Gamble wouldn’t say otherwise.

source: Adespresso

2. Show Humans


Francesco Sambati

A user will be more likely to click on your ad if it shows a human, the reason being that he or she identifies with the person represented. For this reason, you might want to select a model who corresponds to the local targeted market. But what if your campaign is worldwide? Then, try two or three different visuals, each of them featuring a different demographic.

Make sure that the model has given the photographer permission to license the photo. To be safe, choose platforms like EyeEm Market, in which photos for sale already have their releases confirmed.

3. Convey positive vibes


Alyona Gamm

Featuring a person in your visual is one mode of gaining clicks, but you can do even more with a visual. The third golden rule is to always communicate positive emotions. A recent study confirmed that ads evoking pleasant feelings resonated more consistently with consumers.

Moreover, if you want to reassure users and position your product or service as trustworthy, then choose an image with a human looking forward and into the camera, as eye contact conveys trust and serenity.

4. Give context to your product or service



Adam Kuylenstierna

We’d like to tell you that a visitor will look carefully through your ad, check the brand and read all the text, but this is unlikely. That’s why it’s important that the value of your product should be able to be understood by the viewer within one second — and there is no better way to achieve that than to show your product being concretely used.

For instance, if your product is an app, then make sure to feature a visual of the app displayed on a smartphone that is held in a person’s hand. People will immediately understand your service is not a website but a mobile app to download.

5. Renew your visuals regularly

Once you have found a winning visual, feel free to use it again and again. But keep in mind that even the best performing visual won’t be able to maintain its performance forever. In the long term, you will eventually need a refresh. The reason is ad fatigue – when consumers are shown the same advertisement frequently, they get bored of it.

There is no set ideal rotation time, so change the visual when the click-through rate drops.

Two young women on promenade


Victoria Nikitina

To sum-up, remember to use the right dominant color, show the right people, convey the right feeling, bring context and renew the ad regularly. You will be surprised by the improvement in performance!

EyeEm Market has the photos that you need for your campaigns. Feel free to contact us to learn more. We have free creative services that will find the best photos according to your needs!
Header image by@viktoriianikitina.