Three tips for creating thumb-stopping Facebook and Instagram content

When ads can come and go with just a swipe or a tap, a clever creative approach plays a crucial role in capturing attention with thumb-stopping content. If you’re creating original digital assets, editing cutdowns or optimising existing assets for Facebook or Instagram, we’ve got some key tips, best practices and handy links to help you make engaging and memorable mobile-first content.

1. Understanding ad formats

Facebook has a comprehensive guide to the creative specs and technical requirements for all the types of ads clients can create across their platforms. Make sure you understand the difference between carousels, Instagram Stories and everything in-between. See their guide here.

Once you’re getting started, this chart is a handy reference. Make sure you think about the impact different aspect ratios, video length, buttons or links might have on your messaging or visual approach. Explore the different ad types and test edits you’re working on by using mockups via Facebook Creative Hub.

Image source: Facebook

2. Using best practices

Keep best practices in mind when developing your approach to make sure your content performs well for the client.

Brand & Message:

  • Set the scene quickly. The earlier you can place the brand in the video and the clearer you can make the message, the better.
  • Reinforce the campaign message visually. Use graphics and motion to support help convey the idea beyond text.
  • Remember branding is more than just a logo in your approach to colours and style.
  • Make the most out of the available real estate and consider how you’re framing your asset.

Typography & Captions: 

  • Create visual interest with infographics and creative elements to bring the story to life.
  • Have a clear opening message to make the give context and help people get oriented quickly.
  • Design for sound off, but delight with sound on. Use captions or text, but don’t ignore sounds and music!

Crops & Ratios:

  • Make the most of ratios for mobile! Get familiar with square and vertical aspect ratios. Avoid simple crops and explore interesting framing.
  • Play with grids and stacked images like splitting the screen to show two or more parallel storylines at once.

Story & Narrative: 

  • Every moment is a chance to capture attention, so make the most of every frame.
  • Play with speed and challenge what’s possible to fit into a short amount of time.
  • Flip stories to give the narrative a twist and deliver messages quickly.
  • Create a rhythm or ‘heartbeat’ using visual repetition or other narrative devices.

3. Unleash your creativity

Facebook and Instagram are perfect platforms to be playful and creative with your visual approach and storytelling – and the best performing content is usually unique, original and has an element of surprise.

To explore current ads, trends and real-world successful examples, get inspired with the Facebook Ads Inspiration gallery here.

You can also learn more about getting creative with vertical videos here or here, and discover the best tips for Instagram Stories here.

Want to get certified? Find out more about Facebook Blueprint Training here.