Why You Should Optimize Your Ads for Dark Mode on Social Media

Why You Should Optimize Your Ads for Dark Mode on Social Media

By Abbey Szumloz

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When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the world shut down, users found themselves having more free time than ever before. Social media consumption skyrocketed to an all-time high as individuals tried to stay connected in an entirely digital world. Not only were people spending more time in front of a screen in their downtime, but video calls became the standard format for work, school, and social gatherings. The new normal has been set. However, with this lifestyle came the rise of something known as “screen fatigue”.

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How Companies are Combatting Screen Fatigue

With data showing that 50% of all U.S residents spend half of their day or more in front of a screen, companies are trying to find ways to keep users engaged and help ease the effects of blue light on their health. While a few quick fixes have come and gone, such as the introduction of “blue light glasses”, one solution has grown in popularity over the last two years.

Users are starting to switch their devices to a setting called “Dark Mode”. When this setting is turned on, screens default to a black or grey interface with lighter text. Almost all social media platforms, such as Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, offer a Dark Mode setting. Other platforms like Google and YouTube offer dark mode as an option for its users as well.

With the continuing rise of digital consumption, dark mode has become a part of this new normal. Studies estimate that more than 80% of today’s population keep their cell phones on dark mode at all times. This has reduced eye strain and even increased battery life, allowing users even more time for scrolling through their favorite social media apps.

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Dark Mode vs Light Mode on iPhone

How Dark Mode Affects Advertising

As you plan your social advertisement strategies, it is good practice to consider when your target audience will most likely see and interact with your ads. Activity can depend on the platform and even the demographic. Older adults are more likely to be active on a social platform like Facebook during the afternoons and early evenings while younger audiences are most active on Instagram and Twitter late at night before going to bed. This can vary depending on other factors, such as gender and occupation, but usually follows the same theme.

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When creating an ad for an audience who is usually more active late at night, it is best for the ad to stand out against the dark background, but not in a disruptive way. Using a cooler color palette that compliments the dark interface can earn the attention of the user without causing eye strain before bed. If the ad is too bright, there is a risk the user will react negatively to the ad, as well as the brand, and immediately swipe away.

However, when your target audience is most active during the day, this is an opportunity to utilize brighter colors that pop out on the timeline, without the worry of disrupting sleep schedules. Also, users who are present on social media during the day are usually multitasking on multiple screens. Your ad not only has to stand out on the screen it’s served on, but also stand out in the world surrounding the user. Utilizing a warmer color palette will contrast the dark background and grab the audience’s attention when they’re in the middle of their busy day.

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Cool toned imagery vs warm toned imagery

Previously, the standard white background made it difficult for advertisers to stand out on social feeds, as everything was an overwhelming bright value. With the popularity of dark mode, there is a newfound ability to create ads that grab the consumers attention like never before. The key to any successful advertising is to make sure you understand your audience and consider how your ad may help or hinder their consumer journey.

Currently, it’s not possible for your ad to automatically adapt to either interface, but with the consistent evolution of technology, this is progress we are sure to see in the near future.



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