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The Power of Visual Storytelling in Social Advertising

Social Media Advertising

The Power of Visual Storytelling in Social Advertising

Everyone loves a good story. In this social media-dominated age, storytelling is no longer limited to words. Images, videos, animated gifs, emojis, and other visual content are a critical part of whether or not your social ad gets noticed.

But it’s not enough to have a nice picture. The key is telling a story to draw people into your product and sell your brand. Browsing through Instagram or Facebook, an eye-catching graphic is certainly a draw, but what makes people stay and listen to what you have to say? A great story.

 Consider this ad for Extra Gum:

It’s telling a story, working its product into everyday life. Now it’s not just about the gum, it’s about the love story. The gum plays a central role, but the audience is roped in by their emotions. There are no words, instead it’s about the visuals. A powerful visual that communicates a story evokes emotions, thereby creating more consumer engagement.

So how do you get people to notice your ads? Some of it’s basic.

1. First, find the right network for your social ad. Who’s your audience, and what type of product are you trying to sell? Facebook may have the largest audience, but consider the demographics of each site. Compare consumer engagement on different sites, and find out what the best platform for your message is. A Pew Research Study has shown that 55% of internet users aged 18-29 use Instagram, compared to only 11% of 50-64 year olds, and 4% of users 65+. Since Instagram seems to be more of a hotspot for young adults and teens, it wouldn’t be the right place to advertise anti-aging cream.

2. Decide what it is you want to communicate and pick a steep angle. What story are you trying to tell? Emotions sell, and the key is to make your audience feel invested in your product. So what type of story would appeal to your audience? Are you selling to teens or older adults? A love story might be more appealing to young adults, while a retrospective-type video might appeal more to older adults. Find a story that your audience can connect to.

3. Make it real, relevant, and human. Consumers want authenticity, want to see the human experience reflected in their products. The appeal is in the relevance of a product to their lives, or to the greater human experience. It doesn’t need to be flashy. A clean image of a golden retriever and its owner is enough to get people interested.

4. Communicate your story visually. Do you have an aesthetically pleasing image of pizza that might fit best on Instagram? A funny cat video for Facebook? Or a moving homage to the past on Youtube? Your story should play to your audience’s desire for visual gratification. While a simple, clean image of a quiet day at the golf course might appeal to older adults, children tend to find bright, flashy visuals of toys, fun activities, and peers their own age appealing.

5. Lastly, make your ad trend. An ad is only effective if people see it. Use catchy hashtags to promote engagement between your social ad and your audience. Involve your brand, and make your image stick!

Grab your audience’s attention and maintain it by framing your images through a storytelling lens. Make them want your product by creating visuals they’ll connect to, by telling a story that matters. Be it funny, emotional, or downright beautiful—find your story and draw people in with what you have to say.

When was the last time you used social advertising to tell a great story about your brand? If never — now’s a great time to start! Take a look at our ultimate Guide to Advertising on Facebook and Instagram.

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