Even the best targeting can’t fix bad creative. Here’s how to make the best creative choices for programmatic display advertising campaigns.
In digital advertising and marketing, we spend a lot of time planning and calculating. So much emphasis is put on the data. Who are we targeting? Where are we targeting them? What do we expect the response rate to be compared to industry benchmarks?
So much hard work goes into the planning, we often forget one of the most important elements of any campaign: the creative. The fact is that the creative can make or break a campaign. Even the best targeting in the world can’t fix art and messaging that doesn’t resonate.
So, what if you’re not a globally-recognized brand like L’Oréal or Pepsi? What if you don’t have a bottomless marketing budget? How do you know what ad sizes you should consider, or how to prioritize creative styles?
With dozens of ad sizes and formats available, it might be helpful to focus on ad sizes that are most widely available for purchase in current inventory. These include:
- Display Ad Sizes: 300x250, 728x90,160x600, 300x600, 970x250
- Mobile Ad Sizes: 300x50 & 320x50
- Social Ad Sizes: 1200x628 or 600x600
Keep in mind that it is important to have a mix of sizes in your campaign. However, when strapped for resources, you really don’t need dozens of variations. The research is already done on the best ad sizes for web.
At MediaCrossing, we work with all types of clients with all types of goals. From the first day we work with a client, we discover their creative capabilities and what that looks like for each campaign. We ask a lot of questions, including:
- Do you have an in-house creative agency?
- Do you outsource your creative needs?
- Do you work with complicated messaging that is subject to compliance or regulatory approval (i.e., pharma or financial services)?
- How long does your internal creative approval process take?
- Do you have a creative library already prepared?
The list goes on. Once we have answers to all our questions, we’ll work alongside your teams to develop a creative game plan that’s customized to achieve your goals.
Stick to creative that works with and for your goals
Are you a brand advertiser? Do you have a story to tell? In that case, video formats might serve your needs best. In today’s advertising landscape, consumers are inundated with messages in all shapes, sizes and lengths. It’s important to cut through all that clutter and communicate your message in a concise, clear-cut manner, wasting as little time as possible before getting to the hook.
If you are an advertiser focused on a conversion KPI – like sales or signups – you might want to consider an image-based ad. Stand out by choosing bright colors and a clear call-to-action. Not only can a clean, vibrant design help you rise above the noise, image ads can also help you stay within your budget – and drive a higher ROI as a result.
Are shorter ads really better?
Put yourself in the consumer’s shoes. You’re bombarded with ads all day long, on every screen. How often do you actually notice them? How frequently do you really watch an ad in its entirety?
These are all questions marketers need to ask when producing creative, particularly if you’re working with video formats. If your ad is longer than 30 seconds, you might lose the attention of your consumer – especially on mobile. In fact, most consumers are only willing to watch for three seconds! You may feel like you have a lot to share about your product, service or event, but it really is important to crystallize your message so you’re only highlighting the most important benefits or features.
The quicker you can convey important information, the better. For example, in a video, be sure to keep important information present for the duration of the ad. If you are promoting a certain event, keep the show dates, times, city, and how to buy present via text on the screen throughout. If you wait until the end of the ad to display these details, you may well miss your opportunity, as it’s possible the user has already clicked off. The same is true for image ads! Those “hero” images (your most well-known images) and a clear call to action are important, so users know how to interact with the ad.
MediaCrossing runs into creative questions from nearly every advertiser we work with! It’s easy to get lost in everything you want to say or show about your product or event, but MX is here to provide an outside perspective.
One of our clients produces and markets live events, and their goal is to sell tickets online. We collaborate with their teams to ensure the most important information is present and visible across every video they create. This type of feedback - and open communication with the client - has contributed significantly to their successes.
How often should advertisers refresh their messaging? (WAY less thank you think!)
It’s very common for advertisers to want to change their messaging or introduce new campaigns at frequent intervals, but it’s really not necessarily to spend time and budget doing this so often. With so much data at our fingertips, we forget that good data takes time.
And while there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the “how often” question, lean on your data to help you. Campaigns usually come out of the gate fairly strong but take a week or so to hit a good rhythm. If you notice your success metrics trailing off (for example, decreases in CTR or in conversions), ask yourself how long you’ve had the same messaging in-market. If your campaign is only running for a month, chances are your messaging will not see fatigue. If your campaign is running for six full months, it’s more likely you’ll need to introduce something fresh, depending on time of year, consumer purchasing patterns, and other factors specific to your product, audience and campaign.
Keep in mind, the fact that your message is live doesn’t mean that every impression is seen or absorbed. Make sure your reach and frequency make sense before abandoning ship on any given message.
At MX, we look at campaign data to inform these types of creative decisions. We’ve definitely been in situations where clients want to change their creative every few days. While machines are smart, a few days is not long enough for algorithms to determine any kind of pattern, positive or negative.
Our team looks at your goals and budgets, as we well as your product, service or event - and the creative available - to determine the appropriate cadence for creative and messaging changes.
Overwhelmed? DON’T BE! MX is here to help.
MediaCrossing works with a broad spectrum of clients, all with a range of different internal resources available. Determining the best assets for your campaign is all part of the strategy process. We’ll work together as a team to determine which assets best fit your campaign goals while working within your budgets.