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3 tips for successful advertising creative

Max Pinas
Max Pinas
Executive Creative Director
8 min read
19 October 2022

Hooked from the start

Over the past few years, digital marketing investments have continued to grow by an average of 17.8% across all industries (eMarketer) and demands for ad inventory are at all-time highs, increasing costs for many advertisers.

This creates an intensely competitive environment and crowded marketplace where brands try to not only attract but also keep the consumer’s attention. Consumers are bombarded with so much messaging today that they can start to tune out advertising altogether. This ad fatigue results in responsiveness decline which is basically, less effective advertising! Most marketers cannot simply pour more assets and resources into their campaigns to compete, putting additional pressure on brands to find a way to stand out despite the cost limitations. So, what can be done to hook consumers?

One of the most effective ways to differentiate your business from the pack is with creativity that is visually arresting, connects emotionally, and is personally relevant.

Let’s take a look at three tips for brands looking to leverage bold creative to improve their marketing success and accelerate growth.

Tip #1 – uncover the power of growth marketing

It’s all too common for marketers to develop digital ad assets and launch imagery across all channels that they have ad specs for, hoping it appeals to every audience. Ultimately, this fosters a redundant, repetitive, and irrelevant experience for consumers, and often results in misaligned performance expectations. Hitting someone with a “Buy Now” or “Book Your Demo” CTA the very first time they hear of your brand won’t be an appropriate or relevant experience for them – and it won’t add more value when they see the same copy on different images six more times over the next two weeks.

Instead, marketers need to invest in the development of a strategic, full-funnel plan to define and guide proper planning, which ensures each creative piece in the campaign is effective, consistent, and on-brand. Rapid-growth sectors need to think beyond the high-ROI – but volume-limited – bottom-funnel and focus on expanding reach to include top- and mid-funnel consumers who are earlier on in the buyer journey. This is where growth marketing is invaluable.

Growth marketing relies on data to improve brand experiences. It combines strategy and planning, analytics, and compelling creative for a full-funnel marketing approach. Well-developed creative strategies and plans will centralize all brand activity around the customer’s needs at each distinct stage and across each channel in their journey, ensuring you foster rich, customized consumer interactions.

To avoid giving consumers the wrong message at the wrong time, ad design and deployment must account for their stage in the customer journey.

  • Top-of-funnel awareness campaigns focus on attracting consumers to the brand and its products and services. Messaging in these ads introduces the brand or product name and concept and attempts to familiarize consumers with the brand’s visual identity (i.e. company logo).
  • Consideration campaigns then engage mid-funnel consumers who are looking for some more information before they take the next step – this is typically done with additional content to help educate them on the benefits of the product or service.
  • Conversion campaigns then target consumers at the bottom of the funnel and are heavily focused on encouraging consumers who have shown quite a bit of interest to take the final step and make a purchase.

To be successful, these campaigns must work in coordination, not isolation, and their timing may span weeks or months across various media and placement types. Additionally, ad variations such as imagery, color palette, and copywriting that continue to ask the same thing of the consumer (such as: buy now! download today!) without introducing them to alternative value propositions are not unique enough assets to nurture someone through the buyer journey.

Marketers need to consider the complete buyer journey when developing campaign creative so that they can tailor not only the look and feel of advertising creative at each unique phase, but what information is shared about the brand and what the user is asked to do.

Tip #2 – data distinction

In a fiercely competitive market, the key to growth is moving with agility, balancing reactive flexibility with strategic vision while overcoming market and industry challenges. Customer and market data provide marketers with the firepower to make more informed decisions every day. Brands need to have a solid understanding of how their marketing goals tie back to broader company goals and establish a plan for performance measurement.

After starting with a deep understanding of their audience, marketers can begin to develop a measurement framework. A robust measurement plan should outline the operational, tactical, and strategic KPIs that each channel (and therefore, its creative) should be held accountable to, customized to each stage of the buyer’s journey. Marketers can then create, consider, and refine creative concepts based on consumer testing against those goals.

Metrics such as conversion rate (CVR) and return on advertising spend (ROAS) will always be the north star for an acquisition program, but that doesn’t mean they are appropriate metrics to measure the effectiveness of every creative asset. Success for assets designed to meet consumers earlier in their customer journey, and deployed in awareness campaigns, would be more appropriately assessed with view rate/video completion, clickthrough rate (CTR), time on site/bounce rate, or brand lift.

Then, to confirm that engagement is coming from the right people, you can test aspects of the ad design to see what resonates strongest with the target audience. In the mid-funnel, when you’re targeting consumers who are somewhat familiar with your brand, you can begin expecting your creative to deliver meatier engagements: more time on site, but also leads, content downloads, and maybe adds to cart. This is also where your creative should actively introduce new and varied value propositions to convince consumers to return and convert. Audiences that feel heard, seen, and understood are much more likely to become customers, so testing for relevance and high engagement are critical at this phase.

Even at the bottom-funnel, CVR, ROAS, and cost per acquisition (CPA) don’t have to be the end of the story. The most mature advertisers craft campaigns for better outcomes by optimizing to customer lifetime value (CLV), qualified leads/sales qualified opportunities, annual recurring revenue and monthly recurring revenue (ARR/MRR), or repeat purchase rates. To know if you’re reaching people, measure your CTR.

Perfecting creative is an iterative process. High-performing creative isn’t just what looks good or has a bold headline. A data-driven organization will push marketers to constantly test variables like…

  • Messaging
  • Logo placement
  • Colors
  • Ad sequencing
  • Value proposition
  • Problem/solutions provided by the product or service
  • Use cases
  • Ad pacing
  • Talent featured in the ads
  • Call to action

Data empowers marketers to make smarter decisions about evolving creative to more effectively attract, nurture, and convert customers while efficiently allocating resources – but the data is only as strong as your measurement framework is detailed and relevant.

#3 – Brand – Your best asset

Advertising from leading brands reflects the values, philosophy, and personality of the company which reinforces consumer trust, loyalty, and positive sentiment toward the brand. Stay top of mind with consumers by leading with your brand in your advertising. As ads serve to educate consumers on the features and key differentiators of a product or service, and whether that’s through an informative or entertaining approach, you want to remind your audience who will provide that stellar brand experience.

To connect with consumers on their level, marketers must establish a foundation of trust. As new customers get to know your brand, they’re interested in learning about the company, its history, and its products, services, and people. Creative that is relatable connects with consumers on an emotional level. From a more practical point of view, consumers want to trust that a product, service, and overall brand does what it says it will do.

With sound strategy and plans and an intelligent approach, marketers can provide a better brand experience. Consistent messaging and creative visuals across all digital marketing channels positively reinforces to consumers what you’re asking them to do. This harmony also nurtures trust with the consumer which, as we’ve said, is a must-have to build influence and drive sales.

With competition continually increasing, now is the time to fortify your leadership in the market or step aside. Those that embrace data-driven strategies to develop compelling creative will see significant growth. Stay tuned for our upcoming whitepaper on creative best practices to learn in more detail how you can improve your creative strategy, production, and distribution to accelerate your goals.

Learn more about our creative performance offering


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