The Artist’s Guide to Facebook Ads: Mind the Design

We’ve learned how to choose the campaign objective and define the target audience. It’s now time to design an ad that stands out. This is the final article of our three-part Facebook advertising guide for musicians.
The Artist’s Guide to Facebook Ads: Design
Urska Jaksa

Your ad has to grab the attention of your fans (or fans-to-be) in their News Feed or Stories. Don’t underestimate the design – even though we’ve saved the creative part for last, it's arguably the most important. If your ad doesn’t stand out, people won’t click.

To tackle this stage right, do the prep and read the first two parts:

1/3: Set Your Goals

2/3: Target the Right Audiences

Your ads have to grab the attention of people who’ve never heard of you and have opened the app to read the news, see what their friends are doing, and probably watch some cat videos. So, when it comes to Facebook or Instagram ads, creative design is king.

Both Facebook and Instagram are focused on visual content. Creating ads that don’t get lost in the sea of other posts will be your main goal when it comes to designing your ads. Often it's not the best-looking posts but the ones that stand out from the others that perform the best. Don’t be afraid to test silly ideas, even if they seem a little bit out there.

It’s ok if you aren't a master of the whole Adobe suite or don’t have a designer friend on call. For DIY design, Canva is a lifesaver, as you can choose the right templates (and use it for free). Free mobile apps, such as Adobe Photoshop Express and Google's Snapseed, can help you with the design as well.


👉 Use the right formats

Different placements (Stories vs. News Feed) require different ad formats. Find Facebook’s official recommendations here and adjust your visual elements to match the format.

  • The resolution for a Story ad should be at least 1080 x 1920 pixels, and at least 1080 x 1080 pixels for a News Feed post. In both cases, you can upload images or videos, but make sure you follow the technical requirements.
  • If you want to combine more images within a single ad in the News Feed, you can select a carousel ad, which is useful if you’re selling merch.

👉 Watch out for this if your ad is a VIDEO

  • Mankind's attention span is getting shorter, so the very first frame has to be attention-grabbing. Make sure that the thumbnail is inviting, in case the video doesn’t start playing right away.
  • Rather than uploading your entire music video, make eye-catching 15-second clips, and potentially add your logo and text.
  • Think about including captions, as more than 50 % of people scroll through their feed with the volume turned off.

👉 Make the visuals pop

Your ad shouldn’t look just like any other post:

  • Test bright and strong colors.
  • Try adding effects at the start of your videos, such as strobe lighting.
  • Don’t be generic. Be careful when using stock photos/videos. If you need a background, there are free stock photos you can use (search Unsplash, Pixabay, Pexel, etc.), but you don’t want to look unoriginal.

👉 Keep your texts short and powerful

  • Try not to cover 20 % of the image with text. This is encouraged by Facebook, as they "found that images with less than 20 % text perform better". Meaning: Facebook might not push your ads to your audience as much if they contain too much text.
  • Use a concise call to action in the headline. Note that the description text might not appear to every viewer. Use it to further explain your message.
  • Round up the ad with a clickbait-y primary text. Use caps, special symbols or emojis to make it more interesting.
  • Choose the right call-to-action button.
Facebook ad copy

This is an example of UMEK promoting his new Techno collaboration with Mark Reeve with a sample of the track and a link to Beatport, where listeners can listen to the track and buy it.

👉 Make a mockup

Sometimes it’s hard to imagine how your image/video, headline and primary text will work together in someone’s feed. Check it out with an ad mockup generator, such as this one, and make some final tweaks if needed.

👉 Look for inspiration

If you want to learn from other artists, check Facebook’s Ad Library. You can search through the campaigns of every advertiser in the world. Look for an artist similar to you who’s doing well on socials, and see how they've composed their ads.

👉 Would it convince you?

Put yourself in the shoes of a fan: Would this ad catch your eye? If not, go back to the drawing board and make adjustments. When you’re happy with it, test it with your friends or peers who would match the target audience. And don't go to people who tend to agree with everything you say. If Steve’s the one who will tell you your hair looks like sh*t when it does, Steve is probably the one for the job.

👉 As with targeting, so with design: Test it!

You won’t know right away what kind of messages and content your target audience responds to the best. You can change one element of an ad (color, call-to-action, copy, etc.), run different versions, and see which one performs better. This is called A/B testing. You’ll have to try different formats, designs, headlines, etc., but with time, you’ll find the winning combination. This is where data is crucial.


  • Use images or videos, but follow the technical requirements. Different placements (Stories vs. News Feed) require different ad formats.
  • Create ads that would grab the attention of people who’ve never heard of you: make the visuals stand out and keep the copy short and powerful.
  • Rather than uploading your entire music video, make eye-catching 15-second clips. Make sure the very first frame stands out.
  • Test the ad to find out what your target audience responds to. You can change one element of an ad (color, call-to-action, copy, etc.), run different versions, and see which one performs better. This is called A/B testing.


👉 Give your ads a kickstart

When launching your ads, send links to your friends who’d be happy to give you a hand. Tell them about your project and ask them to like and comment. This will kickstart Facebook’s algorithm. When the ads reach your fans, they will be more likely to engage, as nobody likes to be the first to like or comment. This is how you build social proof, which we covered in the previous article.

👉 Follow your performance on Ads Manager and optimize budget allocation

On the Ad Set level, we get an overview of how certain sets of Ads performed compared to others. 

➡️ This comes in handy when you have many Ad Sets, divided based on interests or countries. You can instantly compare the relative costs and decide to either increase the budget for great performers, or kill off the stragglers with high costs.

  • Example 1: If you're running a Video views campaign, then your metric would be "% of a video viewed" and you would optimize your budget by allocating it to Ad Sets showing better numbers.
  • Example 2: If you have the Facebook Pixel installed and are tracking the sales of your released tracks, you want to look at "ROAS" (return on ad spend). In this case, you want ROAS to be above the 2.0 ratio, ideally between 4 and 6. This means that for the amount spent, you're getting an x-times return, making advertising worthwhile.

➡️ You can break down your results by Placements, Countries, Device types and more. It’s smart to check how an Ad Set is performing across those breakdowns. It isn't unusual for certain content to perform great as a Story, but not as a Feed post. Or maybe some Countries will be much more likely to meet your goals than others. If you have several ads in one Ad Set, make sure to compare their performance.

➡️ Focus on the following metrics, from best to worst.

  • If you don’t have the Facebook Pixel installed: Video views (example: at least 75 % of the video), Cost per click and Reach.
  • If you have the Pixel Installed: Purchases, Initiated checkouts and Landing page views

One metric to always keep In mind, especially on the Ad Set level, is Frequency. This metric tells you how many times a specific ad was shown to the same user. It's best to have this stay under 4. Above 4, “ad fatigue” can occur, making your ad less and less effective.

👉 Follow the spillover to other music channels

If you manage to increase the engagement on your music channels by investing in Facebook advertising, you’re doing a good job.

➡️ You can evaluate your performance on each platform or check the tools that combine different metrics. One such are Viberate's music analytics, which helps you look into your social media and streaming stats in one place. A visual breakdown in different timelines provides a good overview of your campaign performance. Start your free trial here.

Urska Jaksa

Urska Jaksa

Managing Editor at Viberate
Storyteller with a nerd eye for music data. Believes in the healing power of group singing, while her ultimate cure are live shows.