Social Creative Testing Best Practices: How to Plan & Gather Your Creative Assets
In this follow-up to “Why Retailers Should Invest in Creative Testing,” we’ll talk more about organizing assets to begin running these tests and explain what you can do with the assets you have. Whether you’re creative pros already or you’re working with just your logo and a handful of brand images, you can take a scientific approach to your marketing strategy to make the most of your creatives and learn the best ways to reach your audience.
Think Strategically About Which Assets to Use for Social Creative Testing
Rather than designing single ad versions with your assets and crossing your fingers they’ll perform well, create multiple ad versions and approach each campaign as an opportunity to learn about your audience. The insights multiple ad variants provide are crucial to understanding what resonates with your audience, allowing you to improve your creative each time. As outlined in part 1 of our Social Creative Testing series, elements to test include copy and CTAs, as well as images, text overlay, layout, logo, and typography.
Organize All Creative Before You Begin Social Ad Testing
An important first step is getting organized. First, set up a cloud-based folder or digital asset manager (DAM) for all of your available assets, such as photography, videography, logo, brand guides, and any other unique (and even stock) elements your brand has to work with.
Next, put together a creative brief (or work with your agency to create one) that outlines the objectives of the campaign, the audience, the aesthetic and the required deliverables so that all ads can refer back to your intentions. A creative brief can also include your unique selling points and KPIs for the campaign, as well as timeline and scope to ensure all stakeholders are on the same page.
Now that everything is organized, it’s time to determine which elements you want to test. For instance, one Adlucent client in the health space had seen success focusing their creative on one of their unique value props – their impressive cost savings. We wanted to test different variations of this message in our creative. Using strong testimonials from happy customers, we tested an emotional appeal with a focus on the human element against the direct message that had been working so far. The new ads we created centered on customer reviews, shown below without client details as Version 2, accounted for 75% of installs and clicks during our testing period and improved campaign spend efficiency overall.
The results of this creative test revealed a new, highly effective way to frame one of the client’s unique differentiators. This insight enables us to continue refining our campaigns and audience messaging strategically over time, getting us closer to our ultimate goal of always-relevant advertising.
Test Different Ad Placements & Media Formats to Reach Your Audience
You should also approach your creative as a vital way to meet your audience where they are in their consumer journey. In order to maximize ad delivery across all touchpoints available to you, you’ll need to develop creative variants for a range of ad placements. Ask yourself:
Do you have all the assets needed for the placements you’d like to run?
Are all of your images and videos available in the necessary aspect ratios and sizes?
Are they in line with best practices and meeting your brand’s standard of quality?
Looking at display advertising, is there an opportunity for basic animated HTML5 creative? Can you see a place for lightweight animated video creative? Consider creating 0:60, 0:30, 0:15, and 0:06 versions for a multi-impression campaign in mobile and desktop sizes to get the most out of your creative strategy.
Planning and Brainstorming are Essential to the Creative Process
When setting up photography or videography shoots, consider the shots you will need across all platforms and fit as much in as possible to avoid having to re-shoot or substitute too much with stock imagery. Think about wide to tight angles and how each view will crop down to the required dimensions for placements on display and social. You want your product or lifestyle image to be the hero at every turn.
“An hour of planning can save you 10 hours of doing.”
Planning ahead is such an important part of creative work. When you have your intentions clearly stated in your brief/s and all parties involved are on the same page, you will understand the “why” behind every step of the process instead of simply letting aesthetics lead the way. An organized team knows what images are needed or available from the start of each project so there are no big surprises when it comes to production.
To run YouTube ads for our client allheart, the Adlucent creative team needed to work with static images from the retailer’s featured brands to create lightweight motion animation with enough visual interest to convert on the platform. We were able to imbue the lightweight motion video with the personality of both the brand and our client by focusing on the visual elements of color and brand marks.
Brand marks are distinct elements of your brand’s aesthetic that cue the viewer to the brand of the video even when your logo is not on screen. For allheart’s WonderWink scrubs, as an example, we incorporated the winky face logo mark for recognition even when the full logo wasn’t showing.
Other elements you can experiment with include the use of your full logo. Will you use it in an opening or closing card for a video or carousel, include just the logo mark, or even create a pattern or frame with the icon/s?
When testing typography and copy, you can experiment with including your entire message at once or choosing a single callout for focus. We also recommend testing closed captions to optimize for sound-off video and determining if this element improves performance.
As more and more ad placements become available and the ideal dimensions for placements change slightly from year to year, creating a solid plan for organizing your assets and testing creative is a worthwhile endeavor for your team to find success in your digital marketing programs. If you’re looking for a partner in performance creative, the Adlucent team is happy to help with anything from strategy to full execution and implementation.
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