This is really an important topic to discuss because a lot of advertisers are going to be clueless once Apple normalizes its new user privacy settings in all its devices. With less data granularity for targeting and tracking, marketers, especially e-commerce marketers, need to optimize their ad creative strategy and focus on building ads that speak to a wider audience, motivating action, and driving purchases.
With Apple’s new OS update already upon us, the entire ad industry is anxiously looking for solutions. This is probably why I have created this blog post to offer a comprehensive review of the market and a valuable framework to work with.
The main topics that I will be exploring in terms of tips and insights are brand guidance and things you can do to improve your ad creatives. I will also be explaining to you about Pudding.ai, a creative analysis platform I created that helps marketers understand and communicate their ad creative performance to get actionable insights in real-time based on their KPIs (key performance indicators).
So, without further ado, let’s get started.
How did Ad Creative look in the Past?
Before I get into the details, I will do a quick run-down on the creative ad testing approach of the past. Advertisers have always faced two critical challenges-
- Developing enough creatives to stay ahead of the creative fatigue
- Performing creative testing inexpensively and rapidly to keep their return on ad spend (ROAS) high
Here is what creating testing approach looked in the past:
- A/B testing all possible creatives
- Make tons of messages
- Different creative concepts
- Run dynamic creative optimizations (DCOs)
- A/B testing to deliver the creatives to various audiences
- Determining which creative works for each audience (generate leads/encourage purchase), and allocating more budget for the winning creatives
- Repeat the procedure
While we had unlimited resources to test the creatives, there came several restrictions, especially in Facebook.
- Limited creative run per account
- Limited event tracking
What does this means is that marketers have to follow a different creative approach in order to succeed in their respective industries. This includes:
- Choosing ad creatives wisely
- Determining what events to track
Simply put, you need to have a robust strategy. This is exactly what I am going to discuss further in this post. So, stay tuned.
Ultimate Guide to Robust Creatives – Tips and Guidance
It is not easy to get started with creative ad design, particularly in 2021, when things are changing. There is so much to take into consideration. I don’t feel surprised when I talk to marketers and brand managers, and they look stumped when it is time to head to the drawing board for their next ad.
The way we do marketing has changed dramatically over the last decade. Today, it is all about how you visually present and communicate your brands and products to the public. Irrespective of how amazing your brand is or how great the offer is, it will be difficult to get traction if your ads are plain boring, visually unappealing, or just confusing.
For me, a winning creative:
- Tells the audience what they should do to take the important steps towards conversion
- Catches your readers’ attention
- Inform and educate your audience about who you are and what you are offering (product/service)
If you are ready, let’s start learning the secrets behind expert ad creatives.
- Creative Types
- Strategy for Images
- Strategy for Videos
- How to Deal with Ad Creative Fatigue
A creative is an ad displayed to users on the internet. They can be anything from videos, images, audio, and other formats that are served to users on webpages, applications, and other digital environments.
There are creative types you can leverage when creating a marketing strategy. They include video, display, and audio, depending on the ad experience you want to create for your targeted customer base.
From directly uploading standard images to uploading HTML5 zip files for creating rich ad experiences, it is up to you as a marketer to determine which one works best for you. Also, you can nudge your creative site to create image ads that cover part of video content as it plays. In some cases, marketers deliver audio ads that play during audio content.
However, in modern times, video is king. Whether you are just beginning your sales funnel or ending it, creating video ads is worth your time and efforts, especially if you are an e-commerce marketer or online seller.
In fact, Facebook has created a new type of carousel for marketers, which is called Product Carousel, that is quite effective in driving conversions, and I suggest you try it out.
Tips for Creating Winning Ad Images
Creating ad images can be really intimidating because you don’t know firsthand what will work and what won’t. For this, you will have to create a funnel to measure the performance of your ads at different intervals. At different intervals, if you feel like one particular ad or the entire campaign isn’t performing as expected, you can completely revamp it with a much better strategy.
When it comes to creating videos, there are several factors to consider. But the most important of them is the design and how you use texts in them. In recent times, I have experienced success with some simple yet effective strategies when it comes to image ads. I would want to share with you some of its insights.
Top of Funnel – Best Practices for Images:
- Use texts on the image
- Use close-ups and prefer single products
- Share offers like “Free Shipping, END OF SEASON SALE, etc.”
- Avoid crossed-out prices
Of all these, the primary aspects that are worth exploring include-
- Close up of objects
- A single or multi-group items
- Text on a separate layer
- Discounts, like “25% OFF”
Bottom of Funnel – Best Practices for Images:
- Crossed out pricing, like ‘
- 1-2 objects or multi-group items
- Repeat offers like End of Season Sale, Free Shipping, Season Finale Discount, etc.
- % OFF discounts
When creating ads for Bottom of Funnel strategy, some options that are worth exploring include-
- Close up of the products or items
- Text background colors
- Text styles – separate layer
Overall, follow the same color pallet from the beginning to the end of the funnel, including the style and flow. This will help not only in easy brand recognition but also ensure that your audience isn’t confused. Simply put, you have to be consistent with the design and color palette and follow it through the end of the ad campaign. This ensures the flow of the campaign.
Apart from the design aspects, when you are creating an ad within your brand, pay attention to the flow of vision. That is, focus on what your audience is looking for and determine whether there is a clear message or make sure that your ads are seamlessly communicated. Lastly, keep the text aligned, starting from one corner to the other. Believe me; the way texts are aligned plays a vital role because texts can be both soothing and irritating to the eyes, depending on how they are placed and aligned. CTAs (call to action) are also important to encourage users to perform actions, whether to purchase, sign up, or subscribe.
Tips for Creating Winning Ad Videos
Apart from images, video ads are probably the most effective way to garner the attention of the target users. The quality and execution of your brand/product/service video can speak volumes about your company and tell where it stands in the market.
Here’s one example of a great video ad by Amazon for the 2021 Super Bowl.
You can find additional ads we liked from the Super Bowl on the Pudding blog.
Given the new guidelines post-iOS 14.5 world, you are restricted when it comes to targeting users to a certain extent. Also, you would not want to hamper your marketing budget on a single campaign. Thus, you want to make absolutely sure that you are using the time, resources, and money effectively.
A winning ad video can be inexpensive to produce and can be used on web pages, email, and on social media sites.
For this, you will have to put together a plan. Branding plays a vital role in how your audience perceives your product or service. First, you need to determine what type of message you would like to convey to your target audience.
For me, some of the general questions that make me think and sometimes makes me anxious are as follows:
- Can I convey how my customers feel about my product or service via quotes or testimonials?
- How can I emphasize my reputation and experience?
- How does my service or product make my customers’ lives happier, better, and easier?
- Do I have a ‘special offer’ that I want to emphasize?
- Am I promoting a new product or service or just introducing my brand?
- Is it a general introduction or a full-fledged ad video that discusses the features and benefits of the product/service?
Top of Funnel Strategy Best Practices for Videos:
- Start with a quiet audio
- Slide-in social proof
- Displaying 1-2 objects
- Close up of objects for better understanding
- Center position – Active CTA
While these are my tested and effective methods, there are some options that are worth exploring. They include –
- Static frames/high motion
- Audio styles: with/without, music types, and instruments
Bottom of Funnel Strategy Best Practices for Videos:
- Displaying 1-2 objects with close-ups
- Slide-in social proof
You should be open to trying out new things apart from the obvious methods for your end-of-funnel strategy for video. I would recommend you to look into the following aspects as it has worked for me in the past quite well:
- Discount – BOGO / % OFF / and more
- Static frames / high motion / slow motion
- Using speech
- Audio styles: with/without, music types, and instruments
Please note that you will have to test things out before you can finalize a suitable strategy to end your funnel. Overall, you must include social proof in the video. It will help the users to know more about your brand and product/service. Moreover, when you include products in your ad, make sure there are no more than 2 products per frame. It will allow you to showcase the product more effectively. Most importantly, always take close-ups as it will give the viewers a grasp of the product regarding its appearance and other features.
Nevertheless, everything is worth exploring.
Creative Fatigue – An Overview
Creative fatigue or ‘ad fatigue’ is a situation where people have seen a particular ad so many times that they no longer respond. It is followed by a generalized ‘dip’ in ad performance. In simple terms, creative fatigue is when the creative performance has a constant drop over time, without a consistent budget drop.
The media-rich digital advertising ecosystem is flooded with the data coming from different platforms. This puts marketers under a lot of pressure, leaving them to try and make sense of it all. But the solution is simple!
What should you do about creative fatigue?
Most advertisers don’t know this, but spending significantly affects ad fatigue. The rate of ad fatigue is directly proportional to how much the advertiser is spending. This isn’t any sort of penalty but simply human nature. You would not want to see the same ad again and again over time. People will notice the ad only a couple of times. After that, they will start ignoring it, and ultimately, there will be no clicks.
But the solution is quite simple. All you have to do is:
- Avoid spending money on it
- Refresh the ad creative
- Update with a totally new creative
- Or you can modify the ad creative with small changes
Pudding.ai is an idea that lets you try something new to determine if it is good. The AI technology used helps marketers know whether their ad creative works and perform to its full potential. With Pudding.ai, you could gain real-time insights and update creatives to meet the changing demands.
So, that’s it! This is everything you need to know about ad creatives in a post-iOS 14.5 world. Let me be honest here. It is not going to be simple for you if you keep trying the old methods. Old keys won’t open new doors for you. Things are changing – the way we do business is changing, the way we advertise, and even the customers are getting more informed. Thus, you need a robust strategy to go with. To summarize:
- Start with KPIs (key performance indicators)
- Early (CTR)
- End goal (Purchase / ROAs, etc.)
- Make sure to track your creative from the beginning and making necessary changes to avoid creative fatigue
- Set a tone for your creative – focus on your brand
- Keep consistent with it
- Test everything else and try out different things
P.S. #1 – Watch the full webinar
This post was extracted from a webinar hosted by Fixel and Pudding. Anastasia’s brilliant insights were pulled into this post for easy consumption, but you can also watch the full session (with Etgar’s talk too) right here:
P.S. #2 – Using Google Analytics for optimizing creatives
Another way to measure your creatives is by using Google Analytics (GA). Despite Facebook and Apple’s limitation, GA will continue to work as-is, so measuring your successful ad can continue being done with it. Check out our blog post on this.