As we think about the ways we create value for clients, our north star has always been providing services to make the biggest impact to overall performance of a company’s marketing.
Initially, our agency started with paid and email marketing, the integration of which make everything in a brand’s overall marketing machine more profitable.
More recently, we have expanded into performance creative.
And here’s why.
Digital ads on Facebook and Instagram are more competitive than ever before. With seven million companies advertising (up from six million last year), it’s critical that every piece of your Facebook strategy and execution is stronger than ever before. In order for your creative to convert on paid digital channels, the old way of making ads will no longer be enough.
We believe that if your brand is not optimizing ads toward a primary action based goal, constantly tweaking your message to increase conversion and scale spend profitably, then you might not be spending your time, budget and energy in the most effective way.
In part one of this new series, we’re going to answer several key questions around performance creative:
What is performance/direct response creative? How does it differ from regular creative?
Unlike traditional creative, which traditionally had the purpose of being clever, cool or fun, performance creative is highly focused on getting the customer to accomplish a specific task. Most notably, buying something. What’s surprising is seeing which ads perform the best. You may think one ad is more inclined to win, but that’s not always the case. But you can learn quickly and iterate on the fly.
With performance creative, we can’t overstate the importance of experimentation. Your brand has several levers to pull in terms of testing, i.e., the call to action, the copy and the creative. And depending on which ad you’re running, each lever will differ in their effectiveness.
For example, in some cases videos exclusively work better for prospecting, as there is more product education required. Whereas static ads will perform better with retargeting audiences. What’s important to remember is that all creative is highly subjective when launched, and highly objective when measured. It all depends on the audience.
What are the key differences performance creative makes?
You can’t execute performance creative without grit. As one of our core values, here’s the way we think about grit.
Keep trying new things and your effort will be rewarded with good outcomes.
Keep testing, keep experimenting and keep pushing for more.
We’ve had accounts where we implemented minor alterations, such as turning quotations from public relations into word art. And those ads have continued to perform well for more than two years. We’ve also had accounts where we retested a different variation with a storefront collection ad, with the video on the top and products beneath shuffling through dynamically from the product catalog, seeing great success. Both of those examples never would have panned out, had we given up after the first or even fifth try. But our persistence paid dividends for the client.
Please note, if you’re experimenting with a performance creative strategy, other people on your team (and even gurus who advise on best practices) might shoot your ideas down. Be prepared to use your grit to push through to the other side. Just because one person says your strategy won’t work, doesn’t mean it’s wrong. (Read our previous post on The Fallacy of Best Practices!)
Remember, failure is acceptable, and long as you bounce back and keep retesting new things. Besides, Facebook is constantly revamping their functionality anyway. What didn’t work last year or even six months might prove to be effective today.
How much do you think good creative is worth?
From a top of the funnel standpoint, it’s branding. This is particularly useful for brands who are launching or relaunching. For that reason, mediocre creative is no longer going to cut it from a performance standpoint. Even if poorly designed creative or unprofessional images work in the short term, eventually, if your brand is known as the one with janky creative, it’s detrimental to your overall company image. It makes your products look cheap.
Customers are thinking to themselves, wow, if this apparel brand can’t even afford to produce good ads, how good are their products? In short, don’t cheap out. Invest heavily in performance creative that looks polished and professional. Grow the trust for your brand through your ads.
The one caveat worth mentioning about performance creative is the point the diminishing returns. Because in the same way that certain pop songs will turn listeners off because the tunes sound over produced, ads that are too perfect and overly clinical might have an adverse effect.
We collect ads on a daily basis as part of our market research, and we will often comment on ads that have highly professional imagery and videos, but are executed at the expense of emotional resonance. Despite the brand’s heavy investment in production, users won’t like or even click, because their authenticity alarms go off. The ad feels disingenuous, as if the brand only cares about profit mongering, rather than creating value in the customer’s life. Be sure you balance effectiveness with aesthetics to garner the highest level of conversion.
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Next week, we’ll dig into more details on the elements of successful performance creative.
For now, just know that digital marketing has reached a tipping point from a production standpoint. And if your company wants to convert on your paid digital channels, the old way of making ads will no longer be enough.
To learn more about how Metric Digital’s Performance Creative services can help your brand growth revenues, contact us today!