Article Image Cover for No BS Guide to Creating Stunning AI Ad Images

I have no natural ability to make effective Ads… but with AI, I have a shot. 

The process between delight and disaster is in your Process

Creating captivating ad images is no small feat, especially in needing them to work over Facebook, Instagram, Google, and Programmatic. But what if you could harness the power of AI to not only improve your process but also enhance the effectiveness of your ads? 

AI is the future of ad creation, and I want you to choose where you want to land on the AI curve. If you work in medical (or any highly regulated industry), you may be required to be in the Late Majority, but that does not mean you should avoid AI images altogether. Maybe you are just using them to quickly storyboard ideas, as I often do with my team, for them to understand the tone and direction you are trying to achieve.

No BS Guide to Creating Stunning AI Ad Images Bell Curve Gra

You have options. 

How do you use AI for images? 

What is your process?

Which tools should you use?

Do you need to be able to scale the ad creation? 

We will all be using AI for Ads; the only question is…


How to create your own AI-Generated Display Ads in 3 easy steps?

Creating personalized display ads that stand out on platforms like Facebook Ads and Google Ads has never been easier, thanks to AI technology. Here’s Alec’s guide to crafting your own AI-generated display ads in just three steps.

Step 1: Choose Your Ad Templates and AI Image Generation Tool

Start by selecting the primary platform where your ads will be displayed. Whether your focus is on Google Ads, Instagram /Facebook Ads, or another platform, choosing the right medium is crucial for reaching your target audience effectively. Once you’ve made your choice, browse through what your competition/industry peers are running for Ads longer than 90 days using tools like Meta Ad Library or Google Ad Transparency

Many tools like Canva and Adobe Express offer a wide range of customizable templates designed specifically to start you on the path to Ad success. These templates are pre-optimized for different platforms, ensuring that your ads will look great regardless of where they’re displayed.

When it comes to elevating your digital marketing efforts, a process separates the amateurs from the professionals. Have a process that includes an editing tool and an image generator. 

Here are the three I use each week and them compared:
AI Apps Comparison Table


I use Midjourney as it stands out for its capability to produce highly detailed and realistic human images. This is a critical feature for me as I believe humans connect with humans. This feature is beneficial for brands aiming to generate distinctive advertising that captures the essence of their identity. Given its prowess in creating unique visuals, Midjourney is my go-to tool when I want a memorable and engaging display ad because of the degree of control it gives me.

I use its aspect ratio parameter all the time to quickly create the base image needed for different-sized ad units


DALL-E, developed by OpenAI, is rapidly improving. I use it mostly for storyboarding and rough draft images that I can create in line with my text. It’s easier to use than Midjourney, but I find it slower to iterate an image and customize it. The one major advantage is you can use it alongside the ChatGPT API to create a Google or Excel sheet full of Ads, quickly.

If Midjourney or Dall-E don’t get you the ad results you want, I try It has several different models so its easier to tune your output and does not have the distraction of the Discord interface from Midjourney. You can have your own model, and it has an API to scale what works.


Step Two: Edit Ads in Canva or Adobe

After you’ve chosen your platform and have a rough idea of the ad images you’d like to create with AI, it’s time to move on to the next crucial step: editing those ads to perfection. 

Creating Ads using Canva or Adobe

Canva, a user-friendly graphic design tool, is your ally in this phase, providing you with the means to polish and personalize your Display Ads for platforms like Facebook Ads, Google Ads, and Instagram ads.

With Canva, you have access to a myriad of Display ad templates that can be customized to fit your brand’s style guidelines (which you can load into the UI). Whether you’re aiming for a minimalist design or a more complex, eye-catching layout, Canva’s drag-and-drop interface makes it effortless to design digital marketing materials that stand out.

Personalization is key in creating effective Display Ads. Canva’s library is enriched with fonts, icons, and graphics, enabling you to add that extra flair to your ads. These resources can help in highlighting offers, calls to action, and key messages that drive user interaction and conversion.

Remember, the goal here is not just to edit but to optimize. Utilize Canva’s analytics tools to test different versions of your ads. A/B/n testing can reveal insights into what visuals, text placements, and calls-to-action perform best, providing you with data to refine your strategy.

I find Canva easier to use than Adobe, but that is what makes me a design novice. Most professional designers gravitate to the Adobe suite and Adobe Firefly because of their interoperability. I don’t use Adobe Firefly as there is no available API for civilians yet, so it’s hard to scale Ad creation. 

Whatever tool you choose, the goal is to edit your raw image into a compelling Ad easily. If your organization already has a tool, start with that and then iterate to scale it up.


Step Three: Scale and Create several Ad Versions

The final step involves using AI to build lots of customized versions of your ads. Both Google and Meta have a similar concept of Ad Quality, and you pay less per click or CPM if your ad resonates with your customer.

Generate Ad Variations Automatically

In the realm of digital marketing, it’s essential to test different visuals in your ad campaigns. AI technologies offer a game-changing advantage by enabling you to quickly generate a variety of creative images. By simply tweaking your textual descriptions, AI tools can churn out multiple image variations, allowing you to determine which ones maximize engagement and conversion rates. This process is invaluable for platforms like Facebook Ads, Google Ads, and Instagram ads, where visuals play a critical role in performance. Whether you’re aiming for personalized display ads or broader campaigns, the ability to produce diverse ad variations automatically positions your strategy for success.

Options for Using API for Ad Creation

Leveraging API introduces dynamic ad content and allows for the seamless creation of product variations and ad sets tailored to your campaign’s needs. This powerful tool can dynamically adjust your ads, ensuring that your message remains relevant across different platforms including Facebook Ads and Instagram ads. With API, your digital marketing strategy gains the flexibility to experiment with various display ad templates, creating personalized display ads that resonate with your target audience. The ability to quickly adapt and generate fresh ad content based on weather, seasons, holiday, local promotions,or days of the week are endless.This is where you need to understand your customer so that the Ad is a relevant piece of content in their journey. 

Use AI to Personalize Ads Based on What Motivates Your Customer

Understanding what motivates your customers is paramount, and AI takes personalization in advertising to the next level. By analyzing consumer data, AI tools can tailor your ads in a way that speaks directly to the unique preferences and motivations of your audience. This ensures higher engagement rates and better conversion performance on platforms like Facebook Ads, Google Ads, and Instagram ads. Personalized display ads crafted with AI not only capture attention but also foster a deeper connection with your target audience, significantly boosting the effectiveness of your digital marketing campaigns.


Step Four: Run Ad Creative and Messaging Tests at Scale

Running tests at scale means creating multiple variations of your display ad templates. With AI, generating these variations via an API is not just efficient but also ensures that each version is optimized for performance. You might alter the visuals, the ad copy, or even the call-to-action (CTA) to see which combination yields the best results.

Scaling What Works

Upon identifying the winning combinations, the next step is to optimize and scale these higher-performing ads. We test in two-week sprints and have seen Personalized display ads,  showing increased engagement repeatedly. As you scale, continue testing different elements of your ads. What I love is the ideas that I would never think of becoming part of the testing plan. This iterative process ensures your campaigns remain dynamic and continue to captivate your target audience. 

Ad burnout is REAL.

Use AI to keep your message fresh and customized.

digital marketing dnt daunting

AI Ad FAQ’s 

Let’s address the most common questions from our marketing students so you’re well-equipped to harness the power of AI in your digital marketing campaigns.

How Can I Create Images with AI?

Creating images with AI is easier than you might think. First, choose a platform that offers AI image generation services. Tools like Canva are designed to facilitate the creation of digital ads, including Facebook Ads, Google Ads, and Instagram ads. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide:

    • Select a Template: Many AI tools provide a variety of display ad templates suitable for different platforms. Choose one that fits your campaign’s needs.

    • Customize Your Ad: Using the AI’s capabilities, you can personalize the ad to match your brand’s aesthetics. This includes adjusting colors, fonts, and incorporating your brand’s logo.

    • Generate and Review: With a click, the AI tool produces several ad image options based on your brief. Review these options and select the one that best aligns with your campaign goals.

    • Edit as Needed: Most AI tools allow for tweaks and adjustments even after the initial creation. Utilize this feature to fine-tune your ad image.

Can I Create Good Ads with AI?

Absolutely! AI technology has advanced to the point where creating high-quality, engaging ads is not only possible but also efficient. AI-generated ads can rival those created by professional designers in terms of creativity and visual appeal. Here’s why:

    • Personalization at Scale: AI excels at personalizing ad content to individual preferences and behaviors. This means AI can help create ads that are more likely to engage your target audience.

    • Optimization for Platforms: Whether it’s Facebook Ads, Google Ads, or Instagram ads, AI tools often come with optimized display ad templates and formatting guidelines specific to each platform. This ensures that your ads look great regardless of where they’re displayed.

    • Data-Driven Insights: AI tools can analyze vast amounts of data to identify trends and patterns. This knowledge can be used to design ads that will perform better. 

    • Efficiency and Speed: AI can generate multiple ad variations quickly, allowing you to test different creative approaches and find out what works best with your audience.

Not only can you create good ads with AI, but you can also do so more effectively and efficiently. Leveraging AI in your digital marketing strategy allows for more dynamic, personalized, and successful advertising campaigns.

How good is ad creative AI?

Ad creative AI is exceptional for designing engaging ads with great conversion rates and extensive platform integration. Despite a learning curve with its interface, it significantly enhances brand visibility and engagement.

What is Google Ads AI?

Google Ads AI helps advertisers by setting optimal bids, targeting relevant searches, and generating effective ads based on AI. Improving your ad’s response strength to “Excellent” can lead to a 12% increase in conversions, according to Google’s internal data.

Here’s a closer look at the key features and functionalities of Google Ads AI:

1. Smart Bidding: Google Ads AI offers various smart bidding strategies, such as Target CPA (Cost Per Acquisition), Target ROAS (Return On Ad Spend), Maximize Conversions, and Maximize Conversion Value. 

2. Responsive Ads: Responsive search and display ads automatically test different combinations of headlines, descriptions, and images to discover which combinations perform best. This is done through AI analyzing vast amounts of data to determine the most effective ad variations for your target audience.

3. Audience Targeting: Google’s AI helps in refining audience targeting by predicting which users are most likely to convert based on past behavior, search patterns, and browsing habits. This allows for more precise targeting and better ad performance.

4. Dynamic Search Ads: Utilizing AI, Dynamic Search Ads automatically generate ad headlines and landing pages based on the content of your website. This is particularly useful for advertisers with large inventories or frequently changing product lines.

5. Performance Max Campaigns: A newer addition, Performance Max campaigns use AI to optimize ad performance across all of Google’s platforms, including YouTube, Google Search, Display Network, and more. They aim to maximize conversion value by automatically finding the best-performing ad placements and formats.


Level Up Your Ad Game By Learning How to Edit them in Canva!