Facebook ads are becoming a more common way for businesses of all types to promote on.  You can target specific audiences with a specific interest to make sure the right people see your ads.  You have control over the time your ad is ran and the money you're willing to spend on a campaign and best of all, Facebook will do all of the heavy lifting.  You, however, need to make the ad.  Here is a great, simple technique to produce a high quality ad for Facebook using GIMP.

This is the ad you'll be creating.

done

And this is how you do it.

 

1. Find your image

You need to use an image as a background for this ad.  It's not terribly important what image you use since as you can see, we blur it so its barely recognizable.  It's more important that the image has colors similar to the colors of your brand.  A couple great places to get free images are Pixabay and Pexels.   This is the image we're using for this tutorial.

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2. Fire up your GIMP

Start GIMP and import your image.  Just go to File->Open and select your image.  The first thing you need to do, before anything else, is resize the image.  Facebook recommends a size of 1200 x 628.  To do this, click on the "Image" menu and click on Canvas Size.

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Set the resolution to 1200 x 628 and click Resize. 

3. Blur the background

Next we want to create that out-of-focus look so our focus will be on the text of your ad and the call-to-action button.  Click on the "Filters" menu and scroll down to Blur.  Then click Gaussian Blur.  I generally set the Horizontal and Vertical Blur Radius to 50 but experiment with whatever works for you.  Click OK on the dialog to apply the blur. 

4. Fade the colors

This is the part where we accentuate your brand colors.  Click on the "Colors" menu and click on Hue-Saturation. 

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Fade the Hue and Ligtness sliders to get the color you want.  Try and single out the one color that you most want to see.  Then drag the Saturation slider down to grey out the image but leave that one color that is now just a slight accent.  These are the settings I used.

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5. Add the main text

Now let's add some text that says what we're trying to promote.  Click the Text tool, make the font size somewhere in the high 40's or 50's and set the justification for center.  Create a text box in the middle of your image.  Don't worry too much about placement yet since we will be fine tuning that later.  Then type your message.  So this is what we have so far.

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6. Create the call-to-action button

Create a new layer and name it button.  Create a box under the text using the rectangle selection tool and fill it in white.

4bNow we're going to add a border.  With the rectangle still selected, click on the "Select" menu and click Shrink.  We'll be doing this a few times so remember that location.

4c

On the dialog that appears, set the value to 2 and click OK.  Click the Delete key to erase everything inside the rectangle.  This should leave you with just a white border.  Then go back to the "Select" menu and click Shrink again.  This time enter a value of 1. Fill this in white.  You should now be left with the original white button with a slight see through border. 

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Now add the button text.  For the color, I like to select a color just outside the border of the button to kind of make it look like the words are coming through the back of the button.  Or you can just color it black.  Your choice.  Then add your call-to-action text.  "Get this deal", "Take our offer", whatever you like.  We went with "Click to learn more".

5b

7. Create the outside border

This is very similar to the button border except it uses the inverse colors.  Create another new layer and name this border.  Click the rectangle selection tool and click Ctrl+A to select all.  Go back to the Select menu and click on Shrink.  Enter a value of 32 and click OK.  Now fill everything inside with white.  Click Select -> Shrink and enter a value of 2.  Click OK and click the delete button on your keyboard.  You should be left with this.

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8. Line it all up

The last thing we have to do is center the text and the button and Gimp provides a nice tool for doing this.  Create another new layer and name it Grid.  Go to the Filters menu, Filters->Render->Pattern->Grid. 

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In the two boxes to the right of Spacing, type  157 for the horizontal lines and 200 for the vertical lines.  Then set the offset at 0 so the grid lines up with the outside.  This will give us perfectly sized boxes without leaving any space around our grid.  Now you just need to line up the text and button in the center of the grid.  It can be a little tough to grab the items you're trying to grab without moving anything else so I find it's easier to turn off the other layers using that eye icon in the layer panel. 

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Once you have everything centered, delete that grid and you'll be good to go!

Thanks for having a look, there is a video tutorial here on my YouTube channel if you prefer video.  Good luck!

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