Imagine you are building a brand. You are performance and growth minded, understanding that you need cash today but you also need to grow long term. You throw up an image ad on Facebook. The image you choose features a product flatlay, a brightly-colored background, and a short CTA calling out the same phrase you placed on your website home-banner. You set up a broad audience, fuel it with a few hundred dollars, and conversions start rolling in.
Did you just get a bit of nostalgia for 2018-2020? Ah, the good old days.
It’s hard to believe that just a short few years ago some of the most well known e-commerce brands were built using basic creative and tactical strategies. Brands today would have a better chance of hitting the lottery than making these strategies work on meta.
Why, though? When Apple released iOS14, Meta’s ability to see how the frequency of views and clicks over time impacted user behavior was severely deprecated. Without this transparency Meta lost the path to turning even the softest direct response creative into a performance powerhouse.
The result? Across Facebook and Instagram ads, creative has become the leading cause of any given brand’s success or failure, its growth or decline. To make sure your brand thrives for years to come, you’ll need to focus your marketing team’s energy on developing a creative strategy founded on nine direct response principles.
Here are 9 fundamentals to focus on when developing and optimizing your Facebook ad creative.
From a high-level, creative strategy is about understanding the competitive landscape, analyzing opportunities and threats, developing testing strategies, executing, and iterating on what worked and what didn’t work to drive your business towards your goals. A key component of creative strategy is about defining who your core audience is, who your conquesting audiences are, and how you need to talk to them.
If you show a bunch of ads to the c-suite and ask them which one they like, most will point to the ones that look like they were designed to sit in a designers portfolio, only to be called up during a job interview. The problem? Ads with heavy brand elements are predictable, and social media users know how to scroll right past them. This means your CTR goes down, your CAC goes up, and you underperform. Your ads need to feel like they belong in the feed. Call them “ugly ads”, “native creative”, whatever you want, you just need to make your ads feel like they belong in your audience’s organic feed. Here are a few examples of how you can use native creative across different ad formats,
People are not lazy by nature, we actively seek challenges and new experiences. But our brains are wired to look for simplicity first. When we are presented with messaging, we pursue the easiest way of understanding new information. In our Meta ads, we need to first focus our energy on 4 specific elements,
When you start developing your assets you need to focus on 5 core socio-psychological tenets to drive action closer to the click.
To know if you are moving in the right direction you need to know how to read and understand performance and growth metrics.
If you are promoting a video ad, use sound, text, and visuals to make your ad stickier. If you are promoting a static ad use text overlays in the image to help magnify the message.
Social users have gravitated toward video as their preferred medium for years, so if you are running a static ad you have to work really hard to get attention, keep attention, and get the click. Videos have a different problem. You need to develop a story arc that takes your customer from awareness to action. You do this through a series of earned views. Earn the viewers attention in your hook (first 3 seconds) where they learn about your product. Keep their attention in the ad body (5-10 seconds) by showing the value of the product. Then drive them to action with the right CTA.
To find sustainable, long-term success you need to test everything, from assumptions and biases to previous confirmations. The only constant in direct to consumer marketing is that it is constantly changing. Test assets, images, copy, messaging, frameworks, mediums. Test everything you can to iterate and scale.
To test correctly and understand how your creative assets are impacting performance, you need to use a creative analytics tool. Tools like Triple Whale’s Creative Cockpit provide you with the ability to compare performance across different ads, ad groups, or asset types. Creative Cockpit also gives the ability to make annotations in your creative to help strategy and production teams collaborate more seamlessly.
Achieving success using Meta ads is complex and the game is ever changing, however these nine fundamentals will not change. Deploy them in your strategy to make sure your brand reaches its potential.
And be sure to check out Creative Cockpit if you want to measure and optimize how your ads are performing in real time.
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