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How to create Black Friday banner ads and graphics for free11 min read

how-to-create-black-friday-banner-ads-and-graphics-for-free

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Black Friday is just around the corner, and you know what that means…

It’s time to get your store’s banner ads and email banners ready to go!

The goal of your banners and ads is to tease Black Friday deals and build up your shoppers’ anticipation.

When the clock strikes midnight, you want your website to be the first one they go to!

How to create Black Friday banner ads and graphics using Canva

For those who aren’t familiar with Canva, it’s a drag and drop tool that allows you to create all sorts of marketing materials.

Founder and CEO, Melanie Perkins, created Canva to make “graphic design amazingly simple for everyone.”

It’s easy and intuitive, even for complete beginners with no design background!

The best part?

Canva is 100% free to use and there’s virtually no learning curve.

Already know how to use it? Then go straight to the great examples of BFCM banner ads we’ve picked out to inspire you.

Don’t like Canva? Check out our other recommendations for amazing and free graphic design resources.

Step 1: Decide on your offer

Now, before you learn how to create Black Friday banner ads, you have to decide on your offer(s).

If all your competitors are slashing their prices by half, and you’re offering just 10% off, you’re not going to get much business. Be strategic and offer the best offer, but also make sure your sales will be profitable.

So look back at the discounts your competitors have offered in the last few years, and take that into consideration when coming up with your offer. 

You might also want to take a look at your previous Black Friday performance.

Can you identify any trends and patterns?

Is there a year where you did exceptionally well? If so, do you know what caused it?

Last but not least, don’t be afraid to get creative with your offer.

Say your margins are low and you can’t afford to decrease your prices too much. Instead of a discount, for example, it might make more sense to offer a free gift with every purchase instead.

Here are some more ideas for promotion you could run for Black Friday

It’s also important to plan your Black Friday Cyber Monday deals in a way that sets you up for more sales during the holidays.

This include things like a loyalty program, bounce back coupons, and dropping new collections that will help get BFCM customers back to your store in December!

Step 2: Decide on your Call To Action (CTA)

Now that you’ve decided on your offer, it’s time to think about how to word it and format it like a button to entice people to click through.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Shop now
  • Buy now
  • Shop the sale
  • Claim my 50% off
  • Claim my exclusive deal
  • Special deals here
  • Discover more
  • Learn more
  • Start shopping
  • Start saving
  • Access crazy deals
  • Massive savings inside
  • Insane deals inside

Sound a little generic? Get creative and do something that works for your brand!

  • I want that deal. Now.
  • Gimme!
  • Sounds epic.
  • I need those savings
  • Hand it over
  • Shut up and take my money!
  • Sounds too good be to true…

How do you make your CTAs more effective? Use these tips:

First, make sure your CTA stands out from the background. A good rule of thumb is to use the color opposite on the color wheel of your current primary color. You can use ColorHexa to find the complimentary (and opposite) colors of your primary color using your color code.

Don’t know your color code? Get Colorzilla’s browser extension to easily find it.

Next, make sure your CTA is easily understandable. Clarity is key!

Step 3: Sign up for a Canva account

Now that you’re done with your offer and CTA, the next step is to head to Canva.com and sign up for a free account.

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Canva will then prompt you to choose a business type. I chose small business. It will then ask you what kind of design you’d like to make.

Choose which one will work best.

Home - Canva 2019-11-07 14-18-54

Step 4: Choose your ad format

Scroll down to check out all the different formats available, then take your pick. There are options for:

  • Instagram posts
  • Facebook posts
  • Facebook covers
  • Facebook event covers
  • Pinterest graphics
  • Twitter posts
  • Facebook ads
  • Leaderboard ads

And plenty more.

For the purposes of this walkthrough, let’s go with a standard Facebook ad (1200×628 pixels). This is a great banner ad size for your website, despite it being called a “Facebook Ad” template.

Step 5: Choose your layout

Once you’ve chosen your format, you’ll see a drop-down menu of layouts on your left, and a blank canvas on your right.

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Scroll through the layouts and choose one that you like.

There are a ton of options to choose from – just make sure you avoid the ones which come with a “$” sign at the bottom if you don’t want to pay for your graphic.

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That said, every image is only $1. So don’t be afraid to pick up a premium image if you really love it — it won’t break the bank! Just keep in mind that it only lasts 48 hours before you have to re-purchase it, so if you want to make changes after that, you’ll have to buy it again.

Step 6: Customize your layout

Here’s the fun part… customizing your layout!

If you want to upload your own images to use, click on “Uploads” in the left-hand panel, then follow the instructions. Drag your image to the editor on the right, then drag to resize it if necessary.

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You can also add elements, text, and backgrounds using the other menu options from the left-hand panel.

There are plenty of cool text options, so make sure you look those over. Once you’ve added your text, you can even customize its letter spacing and line height to achieve the look and feel you’re going for.

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Check it out — increasing your letter spacing makes your text stretch out…

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And by manipulating the line height, you can compress or stretch your text out vertically…

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Text aside, once you’ve selected an element (a shape, picture, or background) in the editor, you can do any number of things to it, including:

  • Filter it
  • Crop it
  • Flip it
  • Arrange it to layer on top or below of your other images
  • Edit its opacity

If you want to change the color of an element, click on the color panel at the top.

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You can choose from your “Document colors,” which are the colors you’re already using in your graphic, or use any one of the default colors.

Finally, if you decide that you don’t like your layout, and you want to start over, simply click on “Layouts” in the left-hand panel, and choose a new layout.

Step 7: Creating multiple graphics

Now, say you want to create multiple graphics for your Black Friday campaign.

If you need to create graphics with different formats (E.g. One Twitter banner and one Facebook ad graphic), then you’ll need to save and export the project you’re working on before going onto the next one.

But if you’re creating multiple graphics in the same format, then you can simply duplicate your existing graphic and edit it on the spot.

Go ahead and click on this icon on the right of your editor…

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And ta-dah, you’ve just duplicated your graphic!

This function is great for eCommerce store owners who want to A/B test their banners or graphics.

Using the function, you can easily create multiple graphics and switch up one element at a time. For example, if you want to test your CTA, you could do something along the lines of:

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Step 8: Exporting your graphics

Once you’re done customizing your graphics, click on the “Download” button on the top panel to export them.

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You get a choice of exporting them in JPG, PNG, or PDF — it’s pretty standard. For web use, I recommend using the PNG format, as this has the best quality and colors.

Andddd you’re done!

As you can see, Canva is really intuitive and easy to use.

5 Black Friday banner ad examples for inspiration

Need some inspiration? Here are the best Black Friday (and Cyber Monday!) banner ad examples we’ve found so far…

1. This “big reveal” banner ad

This simple banner ad won’t take you five minutes to put together, but it does the trick.

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Image from BannerSnack.com.

The choice of words (“Big Reveal”) helps to build anticipation, and we like how their CTA (“Open”) entices you to reveal your discounts.

2. This minimalist banner ad

Like the previous example, this banner ad is simple but effective.

 16-best-black-friday-banner-ads

Image from Pinimg.com.

This one doesn’t tease the details of the sale as much as the first example, but it does a great job of creating urgency.

Pro Tip: If you’re using your banner on an email newsletter (instead of a Facebook ad), you can even incorporate a countdown timer to give your subscribers more FOMO (fear of missing out).

3. This JackThreads banner ad

This banner ad is pretty straightforward, and it’s the accompanying caption — “Hurry… the greatest stuff’ll go FAST”— really does the trick.

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Image from AdEspressoInc.net.

Again, it all comes down to encouraging your audience to act quickly, and this ad does an excellent job of doing just that!

4. This monochrome banner ad

This ad is stylish and visually appealing, but it also draws us in with its powerful copywriting.

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Image from BannerSnack.com.

“Massive price falls” sounds so much more compelling than “Black Friday promotion” or “Exclusive discounts,” doesn’t it?

5. This “It’s here!” ad

This ad is cute, it’s quirky, and it’ll definitely stand out among all the other product image ads on your audience’s newsfeed.

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Image from AdEspressoInc.com.

Target uses white space and shadowing to make the dog look like it’s popping out of the screen on your Facebook news feed. Pretty cool, right?

Other great free resources for design

Designing professional looking ads and graphics is more accessible than ever. There are some really great resources out there for entrepreneurs who want to save money by doing their own design work.

Here are some of our favorites:

  • Adobe Spark
    • Adobe Spark is designed by the same company who brought us Photoshop. Create social ads newsletters, presentations, posters, restaurant menus, and more — all for free!
  • Stencil
    • Create all kinds of visual content with Stencil’s generous free tier. A cool feature is previewing how posts will look natively on social platforms, and this handy guide to image sizing for social
  • Burst
    • This is Shopify’s stock image site. It has some great photography, all free!
  • Creative Market
    • This is a great resource for free or affordable design assets. Every week they release six free high quality “goods” you can download! If you do a bit of digging, you can find more free fonts and miscellany that aren’t part of the weekly giveaway.
  • Mailchimp
    • It started out strictly as a email marketing platform, but now it can now do so much more. Mailchimp’s free tier gives you the ability to design and publish professional looking social ads, landing pages, and even postcards directly from the platform.

A final word on how to create Black Friday banner ads

Cool beans! You now know how to create Black Friday banner ads.

But just because it’s free and easy doesn’t mean you have to do everything yourself.

Sometimes, time is your most valuable asset. You might actually save money by farming out work to people with experience so you can focus on other things.

If creating your own graphics seems too overwhelming, there are affordable ways to get great graphics from professionals, like Fiverr or Upwork

Once your graphics are ready, don’t forget to push them out with some social ads or a good old email blast, and come up with a customer service strategy as well.

Alright, time to go forth and kill it this Black Friday!

If you found this article useful, please take a second to share it with your other eCommerce friends who are also preparing for Black Friday!

Bill Widmer

Written by Bill Widmer

Bill is an eCommerce content marketing and SEO consultant. He’s run several stores and worked with many well-known brands including A Better Lemonade Stand, SaleHoo, and Lifehack.

This article was originally published by our friends at Bold Commerce.

About the author

Steve Hutt

I'm obsessed with entrepreneurship, commerce, and Shopify. If you have the desire to implement what's working today for direct-to-consumer brands on Shopify, I'm excited you're here! Get the Shopify help you need. This industry blog and podcast is my digital brain where my guests and I share cutting-edge marketing strategy, must-have Shopify apps, and marketing platforms that will help you build and scale lifetime customer loyalty. To do this, I'm part of the Merchant Success Team at Shopify Plus and host of the eCommerce Fastlane Podcast.

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