Digital advertising can be supported by many technologies, but without the right creative, campaigns simply fail. Nielsen’s research shows that ad creative is responsible for nearly half of a campaign’s overall performance, while things like audience targeting contribute far less. Although I would be hard pressed to find anyone who disagrees that there is a balance between the art and science of advertising, many advertisers spend less time on the “art” and more time on targeting, probably because it’s easier to measure than to create.
With the economy uncertain, there’s never been a better time to refocus your efforts on creative best practices to get the most out of every dollar spent on a media buy. After extensive testing with top advertisers in APAC and around the world, we’ve found a few best practices that can add a little more “science” to the creative, ensuring superior overall performance.
Tip 1 – Think outside the rectangle
In the golden age of creation, every screen, from smartphone to TV, offers advertisers a slightly different canvas ripe for creative experimentation. Advertisers can create virtual product placements using artificial intelligence technology, add personalized shopping on a social media platform, and even create immersive 3D experiences with augmented reality on mobile or desktop. Even within display advertising, there are opportunities to try out non-standard sizes, repeats, and other new formats that create more engagement with audiences.
The only way to understand what works best on these different screens and creative types is to test, test, test. What works best on one platform, or for one audience, may not translate well to another channel. That’s why advertisers turn to companies that specialize in providing brands with creative data insights. Creative data helps marketers understand which creatives work best on different platforms and why. For example, whether an audience prefers cool colors or an outdoor setting in a creative design.
The good news is that most new opportunities can build on the creative assets that advertisers already have. For example, one of our telecom clients recently tested a brand buyout campaign. We repurposed their original creative elements, creating a new experience that engaged audiences at a significantly faster rate than a standard IAB ad size.
Tip 2 – Different ads for different audiences
The pandemic has dramatically changed the way people view advertising. After months of social distancing, more and more people are using their electronic devices to stream media, shop online and play games. This new level of digital savvy has changed the way people see ads, with 71% now preferring personalized ads, for example.. Of course, an advertiser can’t create individual ad campaigns for each different audience segment, but with the right approach, they can tailor specific creatives to key target groups.
A good custom build requires a robust testing phase, but the results can be worth the extra effort. For example, one might assume that an ad selling a high-definition television will work best with “suburban families,” but a series of tests might reveal that the best-performing segment is “tech-lovers.”
With this segment-specific insights, brands can tap into the best-performing audiences and, knowing which line items resonate best, spend more wisely on personalized creative where it will create the greatest impact.
Tip 3 – Keep Creations Fresh
Ad fatigue is a common problem. After a few weeks of running, campaign performance may begin to decline. Brands spend big budgets on ad creative, but when it comes to building a strong connection with their audience, many campaigns miss the mark. — with too few creative iterations and too many repetitions. A study found that 66% of consumers find creative assets too repetitive.
One way to improve the result is to use a wider variety of formats and creative treatments. Expanding the types of creative treatments can help brands reach specific audiences with more relevant messaging and hit a variety of KPIs throughout a single campaign run.
We’ve found that updating creatives every four to six weeks is a good practice for most ad campaigns.. This requires active and continuous creative updates. What works in the spring might not resonate in the summer. A hit song used in the background can be a major feature of success at first, only to become a problem once the song is overplayed. Bright colors that once stood out can become mainstream if everyone jumps on the trend. In short, posts that once seemed unique are beginning to be ignored.
The many changes in the digital landscape have begun to shine a spotlight on ad creative. Brands that have spent years learning about audience targeting are beginning to understand the effect good creative has on campaign results. If brands commit to investing in, testing, and improving creative over time, they’ll be rewarded with even better campaign performance.
See also: Kargo expands its omnichannel platform with the acquisition of Ziggeo