Marketing agencies, publishers, and individual marketers are so caught up in using technology to reach the right person at the right time with their advertisements that they often overlook the importance of creative quality. There’s no point in delivering an ad to someone if they automatically dismiss it. According to Ipsos, 75% of advertising impact is determined by the creative quality of the ad. Even so, creative messaging often gets lost behind ad targeting and placement.
Why Creative in Ads is So Important
Creative Quality is 4x More Important Than Media Plan Quality
If the statistic from Ipsos wasn’t enough, how about this one? A study from comScore shows that creative quality drives over half of sales changes for the brands involved in the study. This was four times the impact of the media plan used and highlights the importance of being creative with ads.
Creative Quality is 5x as Important as Targeting for Ad Awareness
The idea that creative quality is more important isn’t just limited to the United States. The “Power of Creation”, the largest study of perception and impact of online display creative in the German market, had some interesting results. The research included a benchmark analysis of 270 studies involving over 40,000 participants. The study showed that creative is roughly half (47.3%) of the equation on if people will look at ads. That’s five times targeting at 10.7%.
Better Creative Pushes Better Engagement
Any study that investigates this shows that ad standards that focus on creativity are more impactful than those that hinder creativity. These studies all looked at the same ad creative across standard ad formats and an IAB, or Interactive Advertising Bureau, ad. This isn’t exactly the best apples-to-apples comparison, but it still showed that more creative ads have better engagement rates.
Test The Creative for Best Results
It’s not enough to just make the ads more creative. You still need to test your creative to ensure that you are getting the best results. We believe in the importance of creative testing and understand the most cost effective and efficient ways to go about it.
The first way to test your creative is to test a bunch of different ads at one time to get more insight into them. This method is suited for short campaigns with larger budgets. It offers some quick insights but doesn’t give exact information on what works with the ad – and why.
The other method is A/B testing, which is the standard for most advertising campaigns. This method gives you more insights into what works and what doesn’t. It also scales to your budget as you can run A/B campaigns no matter your marketing budget. Performance wise, testing can help figure out the most successful blend of variables.
Track and Analyze Results
Don’t stop at testing, as you also need to track and analyze the results you get from those tests. There are two key things to keep track of – the number of click-throughs and the conversion rates for those click-throughs. The goal of these tests—and the later analysis—is to maximize both the number of clicks and the conversions of those clicks. The higher the click-through and conversion rate, the better your overall return on investment.
As with testing other things, such as web copy, you want to let the test run for a few days to get worthwhile results. How long you run the tests can depend on how much traffic the ads generate. Keep track of where the ad appears during this testing period. If you don’t bid enough for the ad, you might find the ad doesn’t show up high enough for the testing and results to be accurate. Having the ad change position too much during testing can also skew the results.
If the results aren’t as clear as you hope, or if you get conflicting results (such as one ad having higher click-throughs but the other having a higher conversion rate) you should consider running more tests. Change one variable at a time until you get the ideal combination for best results. Remember, consistency between the ad and the landing page is also key. Differences here could explain why ads have poor conversion rates despite generating plenty of clicks.
An Additional Variable
We would like to leave you with one little warning about A/B testing. Please note this method isn’t perfect and there is the possibility of running into a false plateau. Running A/B tests will bring you a lot of beneficial data but may not always show your true potential.
Sometimes, it makes sense to throw in the occasional bit of random creative to see if it does any better than your current best-performing creative idea. Consider it a form of A/B/C testing. Introducing a third random element can help you see if you’ve really reached your peak.
If that third element does outperform the other creatives, you can analyze the data and see what worked well and optimize your other efforts for this. You’ll also still have all the other useful insights from the original test about the aesthetics and messaging of the ad that you can use for the next test.
Apply the Results to Other Formats
One of the great things about all these tests is that you can apply them to much more than standard advertising. Testing different web designs can get more people to your website, improve ease of navigation, and write the ultimate call-to-action (CTA).