Creating Facebook and Instagram Ads

The following is a strategy for how I tend to execute on Facebook and Instagram ads during my promotion. You can apply this to any type of advertising on social but this guide was made regarding the Giveaway. The goal is simple,: to attract visitors from Facebook and Instagram to register for the give away and to purchase art from the promotion.

Map it out.

When it comes to Facebook Advertising, you can make your strategy EXTREMELY dynamic and detailed, but it’s best to begin by keeping it simple and straightforward.


A few things to keep in mind:

  1. TARGETING is responsible for 90% of your success. Find the Right audiences first

  2. Campaign Objectives for the Giveaway is: Website Conversions

  3. Make sure to always have your Pixel setup

  4. The #1 metric to track is “Cost per Conversion

Ad Copy

If you didn’t know already, “copy” is there term used for the text that accompanies your posts.

I don’t have a specific formula for ad copy but I do have some suggestions. These posts are not story posts, just like on your sales page and in your emails, you want to get to the point quickly and you want the link to what ever you sharing, be it to your sales page or your giveaway, to be inside the first four or five lines of text.

Who says your 🎁 have to fit under the Christmas Tree? (👀HD)
These four posters will never be available again after this month.
🥶Ice Cave With A View 🔥Tree of Fire
🌅Hanauma Sunrise ❤️Lana

Facebook image Ad dimensions: 1200 x 292

Instagram image Ad dimensions: 1080 x 1080

Screen Shot 2019-05-05 at 5.32.51 PM.png

What makes a good ad visual

If you’re selling a piece of art, show the product, not the artwork. By that I mean, show what the people will be winning and/or buying. Showing a digital image of your art (be it a photograph or a painting) is not the same thing as showing the artwork as a product. The product makes it real.

Also, identify with your customers and speak to their needs.

Pro Tip: I did not print these posters to take this photograph. I held a piece of blank foam core then added the digital image of the post on top if it. What was the cost of making this ad image? $0.

Promote/boost what works. When you begin posting about your giveaway, try a few different captions and styles. The one that gets the most attention is the one that you should begin paid advertising with.

For each visual you create you will create 3 versions of it.

  1. Horizontal for facebook

  2. Horizontal 4:5 ratio for instagram

  3. vertical 4:5 ratio for Instagram & Facebook

If you include copy on your images do not allow more than 20% of your image to be covered in Text. You can us Facebook’s Text Overlay Tool.


  1. Create videos that are no longer than 60s

  2. The first 10 seconds of your video are extremely important. Do something in this brief moment that captures the attention of the view and holds it long enough to deliver the bulk of your message

  3. Create multiple versions of each video.

    1. Horizontal and vertical for facebook.

    2. vertical version for instagram.

    3. 15 second version stories on both instagram and facebook


This is the number of times I went live or posted a video during my giveaway

Going live allows Facebook/Instagram to notify your followers that you are available and gives people who are interested in your work an opportunity to participate in your event. It allows them to get to know you and each particular piece of art and provides the opportunity for you listen to the objections of prospective buyers and address them, both live and in your future copy.

Video is more effective than photos to capture attention. The first 3 seconds and the first 10 seconds are key to capturing attention long enough to express the reason for the video and to hook the audience. Plan your first three seconds with high-energy or a strong visual aide to capture attention. You can go to the video tab on to watch any of these videos and emulate/improve on their delivery.

Pro Tip: If you’re doing your giveaway during Christmas, include wrapped presents in your content and gift giving in your context.

Pro Tip #2: Have subtitles hard coded into all of your videos. Not everyone can watch your content with sound on. However, closed captioning disappears when you open a video on facebook and youtube. If you hardcode your subtitles into your video, then they won’t go away when you open the video up. I recommend making your captions black letters a white backdrop. The reverse is difficult to read. I use to get captions written for my videos.

Putting it all together

Hopefully you have watched my two videos on setting up your facebook pixel and creating custom audiences. The video below will walk you though setting up the marketing of your post on Facebook and Instagram.


Understanding how your ad is performing

Screen Shot 2019-07-16 at 3.49.40 PM.png

Now that you’ve begun spending your money on ads you need to pay close attention to them. Speaking (writing) frankly, you’ll know which ads are performing well and which are performing poorly. In case you aren’t sure, FB has some metrics that can help you understand your ads’ performance.

The chief tool for understanding your ad performance is CTR or Click Through Rate. This is the percentage of people who have viewed your ad that have clicked on the link included with it. The average CTR on Facebook across all industries is 0.90%, which is a pretty low bar. Here you can see some of my click through rates and you can make inferences on them when compared to other metrics, such as reach. More on that in a moment.

The second most useful tool for understanding ad performance is Cost per Result. This measures how much you’re spending on each of the measurable results. As you can see, the first ad had people clicking on a land page and it cost me $0.42 per click. The second had people going to my Messenger. Only one person actually sent me a message, so the cost of that message was $19.48! That might seem like a lot, and it truly was an ineffective ad, but if that messages landed me a new client at $500 then it’s totally worth it. It didn’t, just being honest.

Use these two metrics to objectively gauge whether your ad is making the impact you want. What do you do if it’s not? - Make adjustments. Tweak the language or “copy” that goes with your post to more clearly state your intention. Try another visual or make a video to attract more interaction and follow through.

You have to test.
You have to test.
You have to test.

What does that mean? That means you have to create your ads then to commit to a healthy ad spend to discover if they work or not? You should spend at least $10/day for three or more days to gauge how your ads are developing.

Facebook & Instagram Live

Facebook and Instagram Live should be an integral part of your giveaway. Why?

  1. Because it gives your audience an opportunity to get to know who they are buying artwork from.

  2. It give you an opportunity to share the story of each of the artworks. (You can pick a few or a single piece to explain/share at a time.)

  3. It gives people an opportunity to ask you questions.

  4. It increases the visibility of you page

  5. When ever you go LIVE, Facebook TELLS everyone, giving you an opportunity to show up in people’s news feed when you otherwise would not have.

Tips for Live Calls

  1. Have an agenda. Don’t go on and wing it- you want to be able to steer the conversation

  2. Have a great story to share

  3. Use a messenger bot to get people to sign up for your broadcast lists.

  4. Come prepared with talking points

  5. Allow a few minutes in the beginning of the video for people to show up. Use this time to thank future viewers for watching the replay.

  6. Put a hook in the beginning of the video to incentivize people to interact with you and stay until the end.

  7. Have questions for the audience that are easy to answer. Their engagement will increase the views.

  8. Don’t be afraid to leave the chat.

  9. Have a great visual space behind you so that the video is less visually boring.

  10. Do you live calls at different times so that more people can be live with you.

SEO Backlinks, Ranking, & Citation Sites


I’m already yawning just thinking about this. It is good stuff though, and you have spare time you can do a lot less effective things for your business.

So, here’s the deal - you can add your website to these citation sites to create profiles for your business. These profiles will include links back to you. The following sites have a lot of “oomph” or weight and legitimacy on google. They will lend some of that weight and legitimacy to your site and help you rank higher. Some of these cost money, others are free.

Also, if you have a physical space- even just a showroom in your home like I do, you want to add yourself to Google Maps and Google My Business

Once you’ve made it through that- you can begin hammering out the following list. You might want a box of tissues because this list will make you cry…

This is a list of sites you can add your website to in order to create backlinks.

I put this together for you because I put it together for myself. So, when you get 1/4 of the way through this and run out of tissues, remember that I have been doing this too and you’re not alone.

The Art of Selling Art Podcast!


Matt Payne, host of the F-Stop and Listen podcast surprised me a few weeks ago with an invitation to be on his podcast! He had seen a very nice review written by a member of The Art of Selling Art.

I was stoked to say Yes!

So… we had a fluid 90 minutes of discussion on all things on related to the business of art. I enjoyed it immensely and I hope you will, too. Especially if you’re an artist following this blog.

You can listen on iTunes by clicking here or the above photo or you can listen right from this website using the player below. You can also read his thoughts on the interview on Matt’s blog, here.

Please consider supporting the podcast on Patreon!

There's a ton of bonus content over there for subscribers! Your support is critical - it helps with production costs and to improve the podcast over time. Thanks! Even $1 / Matt helps a lot! 


Over on his Patreon this week, Matt and I discuss my awesome process for how to find your voice as an artist - which I think is a totally unique and worthwhile process for landscape photographers to embark upon.

Did you enjoy the conversation?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Everything I learned from meeting with the curators of Microsoft's art collection

Everything I learned from meeting with the curators of Microsoft's art collection

Last Thursday I met with the curators of the Microsoft Art Collection. It went really well and I’ve been mulling over how to digest what I learned and how it will affect my strategy moving forward. This article is going to discuss the following: 

  • Who are corporate art curators?
  • How did I get this meeting? 
  • Where do curators usually find artwork for their collections? 
    • What to consider when pitching your own.
  • What is the corporation’s budget for artwork? 
  • What timelines do they operate on? 
  • Communication. 
My With the Microsoft Art Curators at Bunker Labs

My With the Microsoft Art Curators at Bunker Labs

Corporations collect art in one of two ways. They have inside personnel that collects directly from galleries or individual artists or they hire agencies/consultant firms to that buy art on their behalf. 

In Microsoft’s case, they have a team folded into their company that curates the collection for their buildings. They have scores of buildings! The process for placing artwork in a particular building is a little bit more convoluted than simply finding it and purchasing it, but I’ll get into that. 

Making Contact

This is a meeting that I had sought after for almost a year. Microsoft is headquartered here in Washington state and they have three campuses within throwing distance of where I live. They are expansive; two of them have dozens of buildings on their campuses. When I first had the idea to look into how they purchase artwork I had no idea how to get to a human being who is knowledgeable on the subject. That is what LinkedIn is for. 

I reached out to a few LinkedIn contacts and asked them who they know and to whom they could refer me. All except one had no idea that such a position even existed. These are the people who probably never notice the art in their offices, anyway. The last person I reached out to knew who to ask to find a name and returned to me the name of one of the lead curators. 

The next step was to look her up on LinkedIn. Take that link over to RocketReach (see my video on RoecketReach) and generate some reliable contact information for her. 

I composed an excellent email and was met with… silence. When I did receive an answer it was not a pleasant one. 

Thank you for your interest. The Microsoft Art Collection team acquires artwork when there are new construction projects, and artists are selected based on feedback from the project stakeholders and approval from the Collection’s Business Manager. We do not purchase artwork from artists, only through an artist’s gallery. If you are represented by a gallery, the representative may send physical mail to our address below. Please, no email, and we do not accept donations.

Basically- that is an insurmountable stone wall for individual artists like myself who are not represented by galleries (I am now, but I don’t want to have to share my profits with someone who is not going out and generating business for me). In my not-so-humble-opinion, the gallery model is dead. I represent myself and direct sales are the only way I am going to make a living. 

Later this year I saw an opportunity to meet the curators in person, an entrepreneurship event hosted by Microsoft at their Seattle campus. I quickly saw the potential of the moment and reached directly to the organizers of the event and asked them to invite the MS curator. Which they did happily. That is how I got this meeting. 

In other circumstances, researching and finding the curator for a particular company may not be so difficult and you may not need to go to such lengths. First, you have to try. Don’t be afraid to send an email or make a call or even to send physical mail to the curator. A little effort on your part sets you well above many, many other artists. 

How They Look At Artwork. 

Art is a subjective thing. You might think, what makes one person more qualified to look judge art than another? Money. Money does. The curators travel to discover art, they are approached by galleries, art consultants, and reps constantly. They also do a lot of reaching out. Especially to galleries that are open in the region of the new building/development project for which they are working. In addition, Lele and Tuan visit art expo, after art expo, after art expo all year long searching for art they feel matches the esthetic of the project, the size for the space, and of a quality that could represent the company for which they work. Finding a gallerist/curator is not very difficult. For you to have a chance of making it into their collections, however, your work must also match the criteria of their collection: quality, aesthetic, medium, etc. Make sure you are presenting work to the curator that fits their MO. 

Curators spend YEARS creating catalogs for upcoming projects. Once a project is ready for art installations, they deliver this curated package to a group of stakeholders who then choose the pieces they like, together. 

In many cases, the curator is not the final decision maker. …but the curator is you're only way through the door.

Interestingly, when I asked Tuan about Microsoft’s budget for buying art he tried to sidestep the question by saying, “We look for emerging artists.” This comment caught me off guard. First, we all have different opinions about what it means to be “emerging,” second because I would have expected Microsoft to be looking for established artists. 

Purchasing art is a very legitimate investment for a corporation to make. Like all investments, the golden rule is to buy low and sell high. Thus, Microsoft is looking for the next big win, the next trophy for their collection. So they are looking for “emerging artists” or early-career artists. When I pressed the question I was rewarded with a figure. “About $1,000 - $8,000.” That number still seems a bit low to me considering the cost of things like sculpture and large original paintings. He said, “We’d pay more depending on the location and the size and other factors.” 

Purchasing from Galleries vs Individuals

When I pushed the point on the demise of galleries and how many successful, unrepresented artists are out there, one of the curators caved a little and said they’d consider collecting from an individual while the other was firm on his stance. There is a workaround- get yourself an Art Rep or Consultant who could be a front for you and sell through them when necessary. You’ll have to give them a cut, of course. This is what I plan to do when Microsoft comes calling for artwork.

Communications going forward. 

As hinted at above, curating projects are begun many moons in advance. Years. Tuan is working on a veteran art collection (lucky me) now that MS plans on presenting in five years! Buildings have to be designed, the ground has to be broken, then the entire thing needs to be built before art can be installed. Lele begins working on those projects before the first hole is even dug. Now that I have made contact with the curators, it is my job to stay relevant. That requires constant, strategic competition for their attention. I’ve added the curators to my mailing list and I intend to touch base with them each month to ask about projects and if I can do anything for them. I will also invite them to local and national shows, personally. 

All in all, this is a very long process. When you decide you want to add corporate art collections to your business model know that you will be creating pipelines that won't deliver for several years. You'll be taking a long view on your business strategy. It's totally worth it, though. Having your work in a prestigious collection can do wonders for your resume and your bottom line. 

Some good places to do a little reading for leads: 

Forbes: The Top Corporate Art Collections

Talking With a Top Curator at Amazon Art, on the Fine Art of Reinventing Art Buying