How to create Black Friday banner ads and graphics for free

October 24, 2018

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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!

Note: We recommend you start prepping early with our 12-week Black Friday checklist.

Week 8 of the checklist deals with how to create Black Friday banner ads and graphics, and that’s exactly what we’re covering in this article. Or you can skip to the bottom to view 5 Black Friday banner ad examples for inspiration.

With your banners and graphics, the goal is to tease your 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.

The best part?

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

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

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).

Take it from us… this isn’t the time to be conservative.

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.

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.

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.

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

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!

Last but not least, use first-person pronouns in your CTA. “Claim my 50% off” will get you more conversions than “Claim your 50% off.”

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 category...

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Go ahead and choose “Retail.”

You’ll then get access to a range of formats that you can use.

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These aren’t all that you can choose from, so click on “More design types”...

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And you’ll get redirected to a dashboard where you can choose from more formats. If you hover your mouse over each format, you’ll see the dimensions of the format type.

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 (1200x628 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.

Pretty simple, right?

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…12-canva-black-friday-banner-ad

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 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.

But if there’s something you can’t quite figure out, you can check out their knowledge base, or get in touch with their support staff.

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”) that 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 at 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 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?

A final word on how to create Black Friday banner ads

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

Once you’re done with your banner ads and graphics, make sure you work out your Black Friday email campaigns, and come up with a customer service strategy as well.

If you need to refer to our handy 12-week checklist, here’s a link to it again: 12-Week Black Friday Checklist (Be Prepared).

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!


Want to know more? Check out our best Black Friday sale ideas, conversion strategies, and optimization tips all in one place!

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.

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