How To Create Image Ads With No Artistic Ability In 5 Minutes

By Adam Lundquist | @adamlundquist | CEO of Nerds Do It Better

Image of hero shot


You’re not Bob Ross, and there are no happy clouds.


As a PPC manager you are required to perform many tasks, and few of them require artistic ability. Yet, now you need image ads for the client who suddenly decides they want to use the Google Display Network.


So you open Photoshop and begin to play around with some settings and try out some ideas. Ok, all you have to do is choose from one of the 5 million fonts, figure out what a hex color is, and get the stupid program to copy and paste. Why does Photoshop make it so hard to copy and paste?


After hours of grinding through it you have an image ad that is almost acceptable, and then you realize that you have to create the same ad in about 15 other sizes.


And they need to be interactive.


This is frustrating.


You think there is just no way you are going to get this done, it is way too much work and you don’t have the training or talent for images. Maybe the Display Network is just for people who have access to a design department. Or for those who have an innate artistic ability.


Except that that image ads are not just for the select few! By utilizing two of my favorite efficiency techniques you can create image ads quickly, for free, and with an amount of effort that won’t make you cry into your paintbrushes.


So put away your beret and take off your smock – it is time to create image ads for those who have no artistic ability.


Problem: You Rely On Ability


I have noticed that the majority of PPC advertisers are good at writing text ads, crunching numbers, and making adjustments in various interfaces based on data. However, we seem to be lacking in the artistic/design department (I am included in this – my artistic ability peaked in 4th grade with a drawing of Patrick Ewing).


If you attempt to create image ads organically, with limited training and artistic talent you have to:


  1. Learn a photo editing software like Photoshop (or its alternative Gimp)
  2. Learn art principles such as font choices, weighting images, and color palettes
  3. Create the ads in a variety of different sizes
  4. Have some sort of artistic ability


Trying to accomplish all of this with your limited time and abilities is inefficient.


The good news is you can get around this (and almost any) problem leveraging technology and templates.


Solution: Leverage Technology and Templates for Efficiency


If you didn’t know how to code, you wouldn’t try to code landing pages for your PPC campaign from scrap. You would use technology and templates to efficiently overcome your knowledge gap. For landing pages that may include providers like Unbounce, LeadPages or the template selection from ThemeForrest.


You would still need to customize the templates and utilize the technology for your landing pages to be ready for production. But, by utilizing these 2 elements you eliminate 80% of the work while still reaping all the rewards.


The same principle applies to creating image ads.


To get by your lackluster artistic skills and knowledge deficiency simply find the combination of technology and templates that allow you to create image ads.


Fortunately, Google provides just such an offering.


How To Use Google Display Ad Builder to Leverage Technology and Templates


Here is how to use Google’s Display Ad Builder to create great looking, compliant image ads in 5 minutes for those with 0 artistic ability. I will walk you through the process using, as an example, building an ad set for my company Nerds Do It Better.


1. First, I log into Google AdWords
2. In the ads tab, I select Ad and then select Image ad


Image of image ad setup


3.  A new screen will pop up. In this screen where it says Get ideas from I make sure it is the landing page I plan to send users to and click Create ad.


Image of image ad builder


4.  Google scans the site and using its technology creates a variety of handsome templates of image ads to choose from. Google automatically selects an image, a headline and the logo from the landing page.


Image of image ad examples


5.  Though Google pulled what it thinks are the correct elements – in this case it is off. The image ads in the example look like an advertisement for hand model J.P. Prewitt from Zoolander. Google also chose a headline that is obnoxiously capitalized, and a call to action button doesn’t match what the user encounters on my landing page.


I need to customize the ads.


To begin customizing I scroll over the ad set and click Edit.


Image of editing image ads


6.  I update the text by with a strong headline, an appropriate call to action and add a description.


Image of changing image ad


7.  Next I want Google to provide me access to all the images on my landing page so I can find a more appropriate image than a weird hand.


To do this I click Update Image and select My site.


Image of editing ad in AdWords interface


8.  I enter the URL of the landing page, certify I can use the images commercially and tell Google to fetch the images from my site.


Image of URL


9.  Google presents all the images on my landing page and I select the image of a book, because it is a lead gen campaign where the user gets an eBook when they fill out the form.


Image of logos


10.  My ad set is now assembled and customized to my satisfaction so I select Done.


Image of ad editor


11.  For QA purposes I want to make sure the ad looks good in all its sizes so I select See all variations.


Image of finished ads


I am no Salvador Dali, but those ads pass my artistic eye.


The ads are done, they look great and they are ready for action. No artistic ability, no problem.


Image of final ads


How do you use technology and templates to improve the efficiency of your campaigns?