Bannerbear: A Complete Guide For Marketers

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by

Daniel Wade

 / 

June 25, 2021

Bannerbear is an image processing service that enables you to push data into a graphical template to generate the template variations. You can auto-generate eCommerce banners, social media visuals, and more.

As a digital marketer, online content creator, or webmaster, using Bannerbear can save you a significant amount of time through automation. This Application Programming Interface (API)-based service, with integration for use-cases and ecosystems, enables you to create banners automatically from dynamic sources such as your website and spreadsheets.

An API is an intermediary software that allows applications to communicate with each other. Bannerbear is a vital tool to create graphics (image and video) to promote your content on online marketing platforms and social networks and an essential addition to your digital marketing tools.

Utilizing such tools to bolster your marketing strategy can be complicated and daunting. This is why it's advisable to hire a reputable advertising agency to manage your online marketing campaigns. Below is a comprehensive guide on how to use Bannerbear as well as how to automate with Zapier.

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Table of contents

Creating a Bannerbear Account

You can easily create your Bannerbear account for free. Navigate to bannerbear.com, and on the home page, you'll see a blue "Get Started for Free" tab. Click on this tap to get to the sign-in page.

On this page, click on "Create an Account." Bannerbear will request only an email and a password. When you're done, click on "Create Account." You will receive a confirmation email at the email address you provide.

How to Create a Banner

Using Bannerbear's template editor, you can create a template you can use multiple times. This way, you can generate marketing visuals. Every image or text in the template will become an object that you can modify through the API.

Once you've logged in to your Bannerbear account, you have to create a "Project" through the dashboard. This is essentially a folder where you can group all your related banners/visuals.

You have the option of selecting a template from the template library or creating one from a blank page. Bannerbear offers a wide range of templates to choose from. Some templates are developed to help you design banners from Tweets (famous quotes) or blog posts.

If you have a precise idea of what you want to create, you can use the Template Editor. The Template Editor is straightforward to use. It features a familiar sketch-like user interface, drag, and drop, full typographical controls, a wide range of fonts, and layer re-ordering.

The first step is setting the size of your banner. You can select your preferred size from a list of popular sizes or go for a custom size. You can also add different kinds of layers, such as images, text, or geometric shapes.

You can edit each of these layers with various options, including color, opacity, size, border, angle, and more. You can also align or center objects using fine-grain controls, including auto-snap guides, kerning, and pixel offsets. All these options are available to the left and right-hand of the template as you edit. Once you're done editing, click on the blue "Save Template" tab to save your template. Now you are ready for integration.

Auto Generating Videos with Bannerbear and Zapier Automation

Bannerbear video API features integration with Zapier. This allows you to auto-generate brief video clips using data from more than 2,000 apps Zapier supports. Below you will learn how to use this integration for your content marketing or ad campaigns. With Bannerbear, you can:

  • Add a watermark to your videos.
  • Add dynamic data to your videos(date or title)
  • Include auto-generated subtitles to your videos
  • Take a video from one source and combine it with information from another source to create original content.

You can automate all of this using Bannerbear and Zapier. If performing the above actions is a regular part of your workflow, then automation will be crucial. If you regularly work with video content, you can make your projects more efficient, increase your output, and save time by fully or partially automating such tasks.

The first step is adding a sample template. Once you start a new "Project," add a "Video with the Text sample" template to the project. It is a simple template that features space intended for a video background and a text object. Note that you can edit as many items as you prefer to your templates.

The next step is converting the template into an audiovisual template. Note the template you add to the project above is a conventional Bannerbear template, which means that it can only generate images at this point. There's one additional step you need to complete.

To begin creating videos, you must "Make the Video Template' centered on your new template. This is a one-click procedure. On the Home page of your project, navigate to the "Templates" section.

You'll notice the video that has the Text Sample. Scroll downwards until you get to the part on "Video Templates." Click "Create a Video Template."

Select the 'Video that has the Text Sample" template and select "Overlay" in the build pack part. Click Save, and you'll be viewing your new video template. You'll be able to tell it's a video template since it will display "Video API" to the side. Now you can generate videos.

To generate videos using this template, navigate to the Application Programming Interface Console, API. The template takes two parameters: a line of text and a video URL. Click on the blue "Send Application Programming Interface, API, request" tab, and you'll have your new video relevant to your parameters in a few moments. Bannerbear combines the two parameters to create your video with the text overlay.

Creating a Zap to Automate the Process

Log into Zapier and use the "Schedule by Zapier" trigger to create a new zap. You can select your preferred settings here, depending on your schedule. If you want your zap to run every day at noon, you can go with "every day" at midday.

The next step is conveying statistics to Bannerbear. Select Bannerbear and generate Video action. Note that you will require your project's API Key to authenticate with Bannerbear.

You can find this key on your project's settings page (top right corner). Zapier will then request your template data. Select 'Video with Text Example-overly" as the Video's Template ID.

This is the template you made earlier. Select the video URL you run earlier for the Media URL. In "Title Text," select the Pretty Day of the Week output of the "Everyday" option you made earlier.

Now you have generated a zap, which runs each day at midday and sends two bits of information to your Bannerbear templates. This is the video URL plus the current day. Click on "test & Review'' in Zapier if you want to send the data to Bannerbear. You will receive a 'Success" message with some information output.

Go to your Bannerbear dashboard for confirmation. You will see a new video rendering on the "Video Template" page for "Video with Text Sample" (overlay). It will finish rendering in a couple of moments. Now you have made an automatically generated video with Bannerbear and Zapier. Turning on the zap to create videos each day at midday.

Now that your rendered video sits in Bannerbear, you'll want to try something out with it. With Bannerbear and Zapper integration, video behaves a bit differently from images.

For images, they are generated instantly, and you can find their URLs in the zap's step result. For video, the Create Video action gets the command and begins creating the film in the background. An additional step is necessary for you to get the video eventually.

This two-step approach is necessary since videos take significantly longer to generate. You have to set up another zap to proceed with your automated workflow once a video finishes rendering.

Log into Zapier, create a new zap, and choose the trigger as Bannerbear+ New Video. Select the same Bannerbear account that you use for authentication in the steps above. When you test this zap, you'll see the video you generated.

A Bannerbear Video Object is the trigger's response. Note the video_url attribute, as you'll use it in the following step. Add another step and select "Email by Zapier" as the action.

Key in your email plus your subject line; add the link to the video in the email body. You can find this in the Video URL attribute from the previous step (the one you noted).

Ensure you select Video URL and not any of the other URLs. This is the newly rendered Bannerbear video. Test the step and go to your email. Now you'll see the URL of the newly rendered Video in your inbox. With this second process, you have set up a trigger step that gets activated when a new video is generated in your Bannerbear project.

How to Use Bannerbear to Automate Your Social Media Content

If you're creating social media assets multiple times based on a particular template, you can automate this process using Bannerbear. You organize your data on Airtable, import the data into Bannerbear, and watch your images generate.

Using Bannerbear, you can conduct your content planning using text in Airtable and click one button when you're ready to produce the content you need to post. You may be wondering; what is Airtable?

Airtable is one of the useful integration options Bannerbear supports, alongside Zapier. It serves as a spreadsheet and makes it easy to import and export data from your spreadsheets via integration with other applications.

The first step is adding your Airtable API Key to Bannerbear. Log into Airtable and navigate to the Account section to find your API key (Account Overview). Copy this key to your clipboard.

Next, navigate your way back to Bannerbear and add your Airtable API Key to Bannerbear via the "Integrations'' section. You are done with the first part. The next step is adding a Bannerbear template. Bannerbear functions on a Table to Template model. This means that you can connect an Airtable table to your template in one of the Bannerbear projects.

Let's say, for purposes of this example, that you want to create quotes to post on social media. Navigate to Bannerbear, create a project, and then add the "Quote Example' template from its library to the project. You will be taken to the Project/Template page.

Once you have edited your template (using the steps detailed earlier), you can connect the example template to an Airtable. Scroll to the bottom of the template page, where you'll see the Airtable icon. Click on this icon to get to the Airtable Integration page.

Next, you have to set up the Table Name and Base ID. Each Airtable Base features a specific Base ID and Table Name. They are necessary to connect with the template.

You will find the Base ID on Airtable's API documentation. The Base ID is towards the top of the page. The Table Name is the tab/sheet name inside the Airtable Base you're using.

Plug these details into Bannerbear and click on the blue 'Save'' tab. Once you've saved the settings, Bannerbear will display how your Airtable should look.

The next step is importing the Airtable data. Click on the blue "Import" tab. It will take a few seconds for Bannerbear to import your Airtable data to begin generating the images.

How to Use BannerBear Crawlers

A crawler is a type of integration offered by Bannerbear that allows you to extract data from a public website to generate pictures from Bannerbear templates. Let's say you run a blog or operate an eCommerce store. You'll need to add new content to your blog or add merchandise to your eCommerce site regularly.

Many times, you'll seek to promote this content throughout multiple online channels. You have to create visual assets. However, it can get tedious fast.

Bannerbear offers a better solution through its crawlers. You can now use Application Programming Interfaces (API) for the same purpose, but it's not always attainable. There may be no such interface to use in some situations.

You may lack or be denied access to an API. In case you're creating automation for clients, the site may not even have an API, or you might not have access to it.

Bannerbear Crawlers help pull the data you need in such circumstances. The first step is adding the template by creating a new Project. The next step is crafting the Crawler.

There is a "New Crawler" option on your template's page. Click on this tab and select "Generate New Crawler." The only info you'll need to provide at this particular point is the URL for the website that you need to mine data from. Enter the website URL and click on the blue "Save" tab. Once you've saved, you'll see additional options.

Bannerbear will list every template's layer you added to define a CSS' Selector. What is a CSS Selector? They are the tags or containers on the web pages you seek to extract data.

They include things like Background, Avatar, Author, Date, Title, and Reading Time. To determine the correct selector for web pages that you're crawling, you have two options.

You can inspect the source code of the web page (you will need to have a bit of coding knowledge if you're going with this option). A more comfortable option is to use a plugin, for instance, a Copy CSS Selector.

You can key in the right CSS selectors in the configuration options provided. You can give the Crawler a test from this configuration screen. Click the 'Run Test" tab.

The test takes a couple of seconds. A successful test returns a result box displaying the information that Bannerbear extracted from the web page regarding your configuration above.

Note that the test can come back with unexpected data or empty. This means that you didn't key in the right CSS Selectors. Below are some things you can check:

  • Check for unintended gaps in the selectors. These can confuse the crawlers, so you must delete them.
  • Check if there are multiple specified elements on the web page. The Bannerbear crawler will only return the initial element (specificity is crucial here).

Getting the proper CSS Selectors may take you a while. These are some of the benefits of hiring a digital marketing agency to manage your online marketing campaigns. They have easy access to experts who can handle such technical issues with digital marketing tools.

Now that you have defined and verified your crawl configuration, you can have initial crawls. In your crawler list, select "Start a Crawl" on your preferred Crawler. A crawl refers to when Bannerbear probes any URL you feed it, analyzes the data based on your configuration, and produces an image.

It's a single step process but undergoes multiple steps behind the spotlight. Crawls can take some moments to complete. One crawl leading to a single final image can take somewhere between 3 and 10 seconds. The time depends on the specific website you're crawling. One use case for Bannerbear Crawlers is auto-generating Instagram or Facebook Stories based on news/blog articles.

Bannerbear: A Complete Guide For Marketers

About THE AUTHOR

Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade

After working for multiple digital advertising agencies and managing hundreds of client accounts, spending millions of dollars via Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Native Ads and Direct Media Buying, I took things out on my own and started SparrowBoost. Now, my tight-knit team and I continue to get smarter and more efficient at running our own campaigns and we share our knowledge with you.

Learn more about SparrowBoost