August 6, 2021 (Updated: May 4, 2023)
Small companies often look for ways to compete with their larger rivals in online advertising. Luckily, with ad creator tools, companies without large marketing and advertising departments have many creative options. These programs make it simple and easy to create professional, quality ads and graphics with little design experience or a limited budget.
Ad creators are programs that let you design visual graphics for print, online, and social media campaigns. Marketers use ad creators to make things like website banners, posters, and images. You can use these programs online, on your computer, and through mobile apps. They also generally come in both free and paid versions to meet all budgets and needs. Some ad creators are single programs of larger design suites. They may have extra features attached, such as analytics or integration with other tools.
According to Fundera by NerdWallet, 64% of small businesses have a website. Of those small businesses, 51% use in-house employees to maintain them. Most small businesses also engage in online advertising. These in-house teams focus on company self-promotion and finding new leads. Using ad creators can help them save time and effort creating attention-grabbing graphics. Plus, once they’ve created templates for different ads, they can save them to the ad creators and adjust the template for future use.
Individuals and small businesses might use ad creators for the following tasks:
Use these steps to learn how to design a graphic with an ad creator program:
There are many ad creator programs available online, for download, and on mobile apps. Consider the workspace options, such as:
With ad creators, you often have the choice of free or paid versions. You can also choose among hundreds or even thousands of features to customize your designs. Research to find out which program best fits your needs. Many free programs also offer paid tiers, while most paid programs offer free trials. This may help you test and decide which one can make the greatest impact on your business.
Almost every ad creator offers a library of templates in both the free and paid versions of their service. They can also size social media projects for the correct dimensions for each platform. This means you don’t have to know the exact dimension of things like Facebook’s cover photo or an Instagram post before you design.
Most programs also have the option to let you create an ad from scratch. You can customize the sizing and start with a plain background rather than with pre-chosen elements.
Often, you’ll create ads that match your company goals and branding. Look for images and icons that match both the message of the advertisement and your overall brand elements. For example, a movie theater holding a special midnight screening may use icons of ticket stubs or popcorn. They may also look for images of theaters or use artwork from the movie poster.
Many ad creators offer searchable stock photos and graphics that you can use for free in your designs. Most also have upload features so you can add your own photos, logos, and brand materials.
Some pre-made templates may come with sample text you can use in your ads, but you can also change the wording, spelling, or overall message by editing the text or adding more boxes. Include all important information in your ads, such as the title or purpose of the campaign, your tagline, or event information. Most templates use between one and three fonts, such as:
This font principle helps keep your advertisements clean, visually appealing, and easy to read. Consider using the same strategy if you’re creating graphics from scratch.
Unless you’re creating a black and white ad on purpose, consider using color to draw attention to your design. You can use colored elements for backgrounds, shapes, borders, and text. Many pre-made templates already have color-coordinated design elements. You can edit these to change the color scheme to align with your brand or images. Like with fonts, consider having between one and three shades, including:
When working online, you can create ads that incorporate motion graphics such as GIFs, transitions, and other moving parts. You can use motion graphics in ads on websites and social media channels or in pay-per-click (PPC) banner advertising. Additionally, many ad creator programs offer video design capabilities in free and paid versions.
Most programs allow you to download finished content to your computer or device. You can choose from multiple image, document, and video formats, such as PNG, JPG, PDF, GIF, and MP4. Some programs also offer social media integration. This allows you to share your ad to a social platform right after creation. Choosing which method to use may depend on when and where you intend to run or display your ad.
Deciding which ad creator program is the best for making advertisements is a subjective process. When making this decision, consider the complexity of ads you’d like to create and other factors such as:
When researching and testing ad creator programs, consider who that company views as its target audience. What types of advertisements are they likely to encounter, and which program allows you to create similar graphics? This can help you narrow down your choices and select a program that will maximize your audience engagement.
Think about the graphics you intend to make and the campaigns you plan to run. What’s the purpose of making these ads? Do you plan to use them on social media or in print? Do you expect them to be a certain size? Can you create visually distinct campaigns? The best program for your company supports your overall efforts. It also provides templates and guidance for your specific ad types.
Your image and vector resources may also help determine the best app for you. Do you need a library of free, accessible images? Do you need supplemental material beyond your own photos and videos? Many programs offer access to stock content libraries in a partnership with different services. When testing the programs, search for some of your typical keywords in the stock libraries to see if they offer content in your niche.
Consider if you plan on using templates or creating advertisements from scratch. Many programs offer both options. If you’re looking for templates, browse the types and styles available from each program. This can help you decide which ones may need the least amount of editing. Templates that need only minor changes can save you time to focus on other aspects of a campaign.
Most programs offer photos, video, and file exports for documents. Consider which file formats and sizes work best for your campaigns. Not all free programs offer extensive download options, so this factor could help decide which program fits within your budget.
If you plan to upload your own content to an ad creator, consider the storage availability. Free programs typically offer between 500 MB and 1 GB of space for all projects and uploaded files. If you intend to use large, high-quality photos or store a lot of content within the creator, look for programs with higher storage capabilities.
Some ad creators integrate with social media platforms to allow automatic sharing. This can help save time downloading your files and uploading them to your channels to post. It can also help save storage space on your device.
Do you plan to create video content for your ads? Even if you don’t use motion graphics yet but you’re considering it for the future, look for products with this capability. According to Biteable, 64% of consumers make purchases after watching branded videos on social platforms.
Access to this type of technology could help your campaigns. To understand the power of video and how this tool can boost your company’s profile, consider downloading CopyPress’ free eBook on video marketing to learn more.
Do you plan to use your ad creator with other programs? Aside from social media channels, some ad creators can integrate with Google Products, photo editing programs, and other tools. If you’re already using certain design programs, consider which ad creator you can use along with your established favorites.
Advertising design teams often share projects with multiple members. They do this to get feedback on designs and catch mistakes. Consider if a platform allows for collaboration across a company, and review how many accounts you can make with one plan.
Decide how, where, and when you want to use an ad creator. Most come as web-based tools, software downloads, and app downloads. Some programs offer multiple platforms that allow you to log in to your account and start or work on projects from anywhere.
Consider if you’ll need customer support for the ad creator. Some programs offer online help sections with FAQs. Others provide walkthroughs or training wizards for new users. Some even offer chat and phone support for their products.
Most programs offer both free and paid tiers. The features and accessibility are typically better with paid plans, but some free plans offer many features perfect for individual creators or small businesses. Consider how often you intend to use the ad creator and how customized you want your content to be. This can help determine if a paid plan is right for you.
Here are nine different ad creators you can review:
Canva is an online image editor that allows for team collaboration. They have pre-made templates for posters, social media posts, brochures, and more. Choose from grids, shapes, photos, text, backgrounds, charts, and uploads to customize your designs. You can also download your work in different formats to your computer.
Canva has both free and paid versions. You can try the paid tier risk-free for 30 days. Free features include:
Adobe Spark is an online image and video editing tool. They offer templates and themes to fit your design needs. You can change the size of elements, and you can drag and drop stock images and vector graphics into projects. They also offer custom uploads to further personalize designs. For video projects in Adobe Spark, you can add music and frame changes.
You can sign up for Spark for free, but Adobe offers paid plans, too. They also have three Spark apps for creation on the go: Spark Video, Spark Page, and Spark Post.
Adobe InDesign is a professional layout and ad design software. This program is common for publication layouts like magazines and newspapers, but you can also use it to create ads and graphics. Unlike Spark, InDesign is a paid program. Adobe offers a free trial to test the software to see if it’s right for you.
Wask is an all-in-one marketing program with design features. This software has templates for Facebook, Instagram, and Google. It offers free themes, backgrounds, colors, and emojis. The drag-and-drop interface helps with easy creation. With Wask, you can publish your ads right away or save the images for later campaigns. Wask also offers analytics and research tools so you can gague the effectiveness of your published designs. This paid program has a 15-day free trial on all plans.
Fotor is a web-, desktop- and app-based tool known for its photo editing capabilities. While often used as a touch-up or editing software, you can also create new content with this platform. You’ll have access to professional templates in multiple sizes, a rich text editor, color correction tools, and photo effects. You can import images from your local drive, Facebook, or Dropbox for custom use. You can also download the Mac and Windows software clients to use offline. Additionally, you can get the iOS or Android apps to design on your mobile devices.
Fotor has both free and pro plans. Free features include:
Creatopy has plenty of resources for creating social media ads. They offer size presets for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. You can also create banner ads, videos, and print materials.
Creatopy offers both free and paid plans, the latter of which comes with customer support features. Free plans include:
Visme offers templates for Facebook, website ads, and other social media posts. You can their vector icons and stock photos to supplement your own content, and the drag-and-drop interface is helpful for new designers.
Visme has both free and paid plans. With paid plans, you can add your own branded content to ads. With the free version, you receive:
Biteable software lets you make video and motion ads. With the free plan, you can access:
Free plans include a Biteable watermark on every project. You can remove the watermark by upgrading to a paid plan.
These are just a few of the many ad creators available. Choosing the one that’s right for you can help you design attractive and professional-looking ads at little to no cost. You can also use these programs for other purposes, such as creating infographics for your websites.
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