Have you previously launched advertising campaigns on social platforms with every best practice implemented in your build work, whilst targeting your top performing audiences, and yet the results seem disappointing?
If you can’t identify the reason, then you might want to review the creatives that are currently running. It’s very likely you will discover that they have a large correlation to performance. Multiple elements shape a strong campaign such as budget, bidding, and targeting, however creatives remain a fundamental contributor and a main pillar for a successful campaign. Based on a study conducted by Nielsen in 2017, creative contributes to 47% of a media campaign’s performance . This highlights why every social platform stresses the importance of investing in designing and choosing the right creatives for your objective. This blog will explore in more detail major questions to use as guidance when working on paid social creatives.
a. Where does my campaign stand in the marketing funnel?
Every stage of a business or a product life-cycle requires a different advertising approach, and so does every paid social campaign. Imagine you are being targeted for the first time by a new business that offers an innovative service to inform and educate you about their business, and after a couple of weeks of understanding their services, they use the same exact ads to encourage you to sign-up to a free-trial, and then use the same ads to ask you to download their app. This approach certainly causes ad fatigue and over time will result in a decline across performance. Consequently, if you’re targeting audiences across the funnel, ensure you’re speaking appropriately in every stage. Avoid launching the same ad across different customer journeys. Your audience behaves based on the information and experience you offer them, and if your aim is to get more prospects, use a different creative, text and CTA, than when your aim is to retarget.
b. Which ad formats should I use in my campaign?
Social platforms offer a variety of ad formats to choose from when advertising. Take a moment to consider how you want your audience experience to appear. Examine the key message you want to deliver and the corresponding ad format that compliments its delivery. For example, a new business or product launch requires more space for awareness and story-telling, which is better suited for some formats than others, while remarketing to retain customers can make better use of customized ad experiences offered by different ad formats and tools.
Similarly, you should also consider the different options across channels. Some formats are unique to each platform and may not be found on others. Give thought to the available options and make a studied decision about which platform offers the ad formats that serve your business best.
c. What are some creative best practices?
According to Facebook, people spend an average of 1.7 seconds looking at a piece of content on their mobile feed . With a short attention span, it is vital to capture their attention, highlight your brand and product, and also convey a clear message through your ads. There are plenty of best practices you can implement to ensure ultimate optimization of your creatives. One of the common pieces of advice across all social platforms is to keep your focus on your goal and have a clear call to action based on the stage of your campaign. Alongside, create native content that is mobile-friendly to increase interaction with your audiences, and a successful way to do so is to ensure the correct ad specifications are used based on the ad placement. For example, avoid using a square format for the story placement, and use a vertical creative instead.
Facebook also concluded that images with less than 20% text show better performance . Therefore, it’s advised to keep a minimal text-overlay on your creative with smaller font sizes for better customer experience and ad quality score.
d. How do I read my creative performance?
There are multiple checks to conduct in order to assess creative performance and understand when it’s time for a change. It’s important before all, to realize that creatives need time to learn after they’ve been pushed live, but when they’re receiving high impressions, it’s time for a thorough analysis on its performance. Primarily, looking at the number of link clicks and CTR of your creatives can indicate their competence. If your creative has low link click and CTR numbers, then your ad is showing signs of irrelevance, unclarity or indistinction to your audience in which case you’ll need to review areas of improvement. Other metrics that can assist include video views percentages and thruplays to compare how likely your audiences are to watch your video. Metrics like these, can then help you make the necessary changes, such as pushing your brand name to appear in the first 3-sec of your video.
e. Am I testing and tweaking?
Many advertisers fall in the trap of comfort and lose an abundance of opportunity that can help them understand which creative works best for their business. Running tests on your creatives can accelerate your performance by eliminating ideas or formats that don’t work best for your KPI’s. Social platforms offer a variety of creative related tests, such as A/B tests that provide proven incremental results. Running an A/B test using creatives as your variable will allow direct and controlled comparison of your hypothesis. Some best practices while running tests would be to have identical campaigns apart from the creative being tested, in addition to using a large enough audiences and ideal budgets .
Facebook also offers several dynamic tools that benefit creative optimization, such as running dynamic creatives that test the best possible combinations of your different creative variables, and dynamic languages which allows your ad to dynamically change languages you’ve assigned based on user behaviour on the different platforms. Using these tools benefit creative strategies by learning what works best for your campaigns and improving performance over time.
In conclusion, while the above have always been vital questions to consider in any paid social approach, it is now more than ever that a tactical creative strategy could help advertisers overcome the obstacles imposed by the new iOS 14 updates. Businesses should invest their resources in creating, analyzing and testing the performance of different creatives to deduce a solid engagement plan with their audiences, and no longer solely rely on targeting options offered on social platforms.
At Merkle MENA, we pride ourselves on having specialist knowledge across the leading paid social platforms. If you’re interested to know more about what we recommend, get in touch at [email protected].
 - “When It Comes To Advertising Effectiveness, what is key?”. 2017. Nielsen. https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/article/2017/when-it-comes-to-advertising-effectiveness-what-is-key/
 - “Capturing Attention In Feed: The Science Behind Effective Video Creative”. 2021. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/business/news/insights/capturing-attention-feed-video-creative
 - “About Text in Ad Images”. 2021. Facebook. 2021.https://www.facebook.com/business/help/980593475366490?id=1240182842783684
 - “Best Practices for A/B Testing”. 2021. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/business/help/29000991139457