July 15, 2021
Images are powerful, but generating the right ones can take forever. BannerBear allows you to create thousands in minutes, but are there any alternatives?
While BannerBear does what it advertises very well, there are other platforms that allow you to create images and videos quickly, at a much lower price. You’ll have to measure out the pros and cons for yourselves, but the list provided here should be a great place to start.
If you’re new to BannerBear, it’s a good idea to get an idea of what the service provides. Many times, people end up paying too much for what they really need, so if you can trade time for functionality, you could save a bundle. At the same time, BannerBear’s auto generating features are powerful and are not to be overlooked.
By far though, the best way to determine which service is right for you is by listening to the people that use them all the time. We’ve provided a number of alternatives based on real user reviews, not just based on their technical claims. After all, isn’t the real test of a product how it performs in everyday life?
What is BannerBear?
Anybody that has tried to develop images for a website or social media platform knows how labor-intensive the process can be. Not only do you have to get the words right, but then you have to match the images and find the location on the picture itself to put the text. Going through hundreds of iterations to get the right look can take forever, but thankfully, services like BannerBear allow you to generate thousands of possibilities within a few minutes.
BannerBear claims to put your image creation process on autopilot by letting the user create templates that the service will then use artificial intelligence to populate instantaneously. Their software supports multiple languages, collaboration across team members, as well as facial recognition software.
If you're in the market for video, BannerBear also has you covered. Not only can they do single or multiple image generation, but they also support video generation as well. You can create visuals in several different formats, such as landscape, portrait, or square, depending on your need, as well as banners for e-commerce (which is where BannerBear got their start). Its templates are great for social media and websites alike.
How Does BannerBear Work?
Like most Software As A Service (SAAS) companies, BannerBear relies on an API, or Application Programming Interface, to create a connection between the software and the platform. By syncing BannerBear with your WordPress site, for instance, BannerBear can extract data directly from the website, such as text or images, and create visuals based on that information. It then spits out the product on the other end.
Fortunately, these APIs work seamlessly with other communication-style platforms, such as Zapier and Airtable, which themselves connect to hundreds of other platforms. Many people will connected BannerBear to their twitter account using Zapier and set up a task that creates a tweet image every time the user likes a specific tweet. You can then share this on your social media platforms within seconds.
Since BannerBear was originally started as an e-commerce product, it makes sense that they would have Shopify integrations as well. But if you have thousands of products that you need to list on your website, it would be much easier to have the images automatically created every time you upload a product. That's exactly what BannerBear does: generate the image based on the product information.
For video services, BannerBear can also automate captions -- possibly one of the most time intensive tasks in the entire process. Since a lot of media that is consumed on social media platforms are done with the volume off, this can allow your organic reach to skyrocket when utilized effectively.
Who Benefits the Most From These Types of Services?
BannerBear was created primarily with the social media manager in mind, especially considering they have the task of generating content on an almost daily basis. While no one expects BannerBear to replace a social media manager, it can allow them to spend less time on content creation and more time on community management, which is especially important to platforms like Facebook or Reddit, which emphasize groups.
Alternatively, e-commerce and marketing agencies that service different clients, and yet still need to generate content on a per-user basis, can also benefit from services like BannerBear. They can set up the API to connect with their website or social media platform and auto populate all sorts of banners, images, product images, or other types of graphics without having to commission an artist for hours to do the same thing. This helps agencies substantially streamline their operating costs.
Are There Any Other Alternatives to BannerBear?
As stated above, finding an alternative to a service like BannerBear depends almost exclusively on your cost tolerance as well as functionality. If you value time and speed over finances, then BannerBear might be the perfect option for you. If you're a startup that is looking to bootstrap most of your content generation, then the cost of BannerBear — starting at $50 a month — may be too much to stomach for the time being.
That said, there are a number of other alternatives on the market today that do similar jobs, even if they don't cover the range of services that BannerBear provides. Look through them below and find the right software that serves your specific needs.
It's nearly impossible to create a list like this and not mention Canva. Possibly one of the most popular image creation services on the market today, Canva offers both a free and premium platform for their users. Customers can select from a variety of templates, such as Facebook or Instagram images, and can choose from native templates to customize their text.
Many people love Canva because of their wide variety of options, as well as the amount of graphics that are created on a regular basis. And, since Canva Pro — their premium service — is only $13 a month, most entrepreneurs are able to utilize the full suite of services at minimal cost.
The one thing they can not do very well is automation. Every single image or video that you create must be done by hand inside the platform, and then exported manually. While you can link your social media accounts to upload images directly to your platform, the process is not as simple as with other services. Still, it's a very viable platform, as long as you don't mind doing most of the work yourself.
One of the newest additions to the image auto generation market is AdRapid. Their service is relatively untested, but it boasts a wide suite of features that are very similar to BannerBear, such as a template library, support for various sizes of images and videos, as well as a REST API that can create images automatically.
AdRapid also claims to be working on animation generation, as well as a review tool for work done in conjunction with other team members. And, like BannerBear, they say that they provide support for Zapier and Integromat.
One thing that AdRapid does not have is support for more e-commerce solutions. While they can create banners for your website automatically, they don't seem to have the ability to do product images automatically, which is a huge pain point for many online entrepreneurs.
For agencies that work directly with clients though, AdRapid can be a good first step. They provide a free plan that lets you generate 50 banners and 10 minutes worth of video every month (by contrast, BannerBear's free plan allows you to create 30 images on their free plan), and the next highest plans are $40 and $90. For those who want more customization, there's also a flex plan that you can subscribe to when you contact them directly.
Whereas BannerBear seems to be aimed primarily at developers, AdRapid has a special focus on agencies, both large and small. As evidence of this, they also will let you white-label their products so that you can deliver creatives to your clientele without knowing where the back-end support is. This is advantageous if you need to have a designer on your staff, but are unable to afford one at the moment.
If price is the biggest consideration for your company, then how does free sound? JitBit was originally designed as an image autopopulator, and then was released as a free, open-source product that can be used by anybody. While it does automatically develop images for you, the real value for JitBit is in being able to embed a single code on your website, and then change what that image looks like from a separate interface. This means that you don't have to keep downloading and re-uploading new files wherever the URL may be.
The user interface is remarkably simple. All you need is a few words of text – whatever you want to appear — as well as a logo and a background image. From there, you select the font and click generate to create the image that you want. Simply embed the URL wherever you would like it to be, and then come back to JitBit if you need to change any of the above pieces of information for whatever reason.
This may not sound like a big deal, but for solopreneurs who are trying to wear several different hats at a time, this little API can be a lifesaver. If you've ever struggled to keep up-to-date images on your site or social media profiles, JitBit is one to bookmark.
As the name states, banners is all about…well… Banners. Whereas many see banners as being a static image on your site, Banners allows you to change all of them on your website at a single time by simply adjusting the text in their interface. Once you do that, all the banners that are attached to that URL change automatically.
This is especially helpful if you're trying to maintain consistent branding throughout your site. More than one website has fallen victim to a developer changing most of the banners — but not all of them, which creates confusion. And with the variety of banner styles and formats, you're sure to find one that will fit with the design of your site.
Banners offers both commercial and extended licenses, the latter of which allows you to use their services in end products for different clients. The price is paid once, and allows you a lifetime contract to their service.
If you want the functionality of BannerBear without the price attached to it, you might look into Placid. Offering a wide variety of templates and customization options, Placid allows you to create social images automatically and share them to tons of social media profiles, such as Facebook, Twitter, and even Pinterest.
One of the main points of differentiation between BannerBear and Placid is its cost. Whereas the lowest option (besides free) from BannerBear is $50 a month, Placid offers a $19 a month plan all the way up to $189 a month for power users. You get most of the features with the lowest plan that you would get on the highest plan, with the exception of faster image generation and resource limits, among other things. Moreover, paying for a yearly plan at the outset nets you two months for free.
Like BannerBear, Placid also integrates with Zapier and Airtable, but also provides integrations for WordPress, Integromat, Webflow, and ghost integrations. Since it also has a REST API, you can create images on the fly, while relying on their dynamic image generation templates to do the heavy lifting for you.
If you're looking for banner creation though, you'll have to look elsewhere, since Placid focuses almost exclusively on social media platforms. Though it does have a wide variety of support for these services, banner creation is ultimately unsupported. If you run an e-commerce site, you have to have an auxiliary service in order provide that functionality.
About THE AUTHOR
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