Thanks…. Today I’m going to talk to you about how best to approach creative in Facebook performance advertising. I’ll run through some principles of designing good creative and show you some best practices before moving onto the building blocks of designing effective creative tests.
But to introduce myself before I begin, my name’s Luke Jonas, I look after Sales for the Nanigans European business based in London. Previously I worked for the Mobile analytics and advertising company Flurry and prior to that Affiliate Window – so all performance marketing.
In order to approach the subject of creative on Facebook in an intelligent manner, it is important to set the context. You can have extremely high quality creative, but on its own its meaningless. You need a strong combination of the right targeting, good creative and effective optimization in order to deliver campaigns that hit your performance goals – which in a DR context is likely to be a CPA or ROI based goal. Creative is simply one of three very important elements that contributes to the success of your campaigns
This situation may be familiar to you. You’re in a room, brainstorming creative and you have one of those moments when you begin to wonder whether the ideas you’re planning to go with are really any good or are they going to crash and burn? It triggers the question: is there a way to know if your creative is strong? Largely, it’s difficult, but there are some simple rules to follow which can help you get it right.
The first is to know your target audience. Who are they? Where do they live? Are they male or female? What are they interested in? What don’t they like or what are their frustrations? And ultimately, what will motivate them to click on an ad and then eventually go on to buy items on your site?
One way of defining your target audience is to draw up personas that represent your typical customer or one segment of your customer base. In this example, we are looking at the target audience for an online language learning course – a client of ours called Rosetta Stone. Kirsten here is young, from Boston and not really a linguist but is studying French and takes a keen interest in anything French.
Alex is a businessman from Finland who has already mastered 3 languages, is strong in 2 more and is interested in studying for fluency.
John is also a professional and something of a socialite who, whilst not necessarily wanting to become fluent in any one language, is interested in picking up the basics so he can interact with people on his travels.
As can be seen, these are three very different personas, representing 3 different segments of this advertisers target audience. By understanding these personas, this advertiser can design different creative which will appeal to these different segments and when used with intelligent targeting and optimization, ultimately yield transactions.
Once you have defined your audience, you need to turn your attention to your brand. Do you have a deep understanding of your brand? Can you describe it? Do you have any brand guidelines to reinforce it? Is there anything associated with your brand that you should consistently use in ad copy? Is there anything you should definitely avoid? With a Brand name like ‘Nanigans’ I am not sure our Marketing team could ever answer these questions definitely……. but in a B2C performance advertising context this is hyper important when considering creative ideas and how you wish to communicate with your audience.
And finally, know your product. What is your USP? What features and benefits of your product define it from those of the competition? In the battle for ROI on Facebook it is extremely important to consider that this is part of the process toward the sale of your product rather than just attracting clicks
So, once we have defined our target audience, brand and product, we are ready to move into the practicalities of advertising on Facebook itself. The way we look at it, there are 3 key stages to creative success that relate to how the customer is drawn to your ad and your product.
The first is the Interest Stage. This is all about grabbing a user’s attention. As people scroll through their newsfeed, your creative has to be powerful enough to get them to stop and also draw them away from whatever else they might be looking at.
And the key here is using rich, eye catching images which are in line with the values, features or benefits of your brand. Some good examples here of Amazon advertising colourful watches and Wayfair setting their products inside a modern kitchen. Eye grabbing images that really worked.
So once you’ve generated interest through the image, you have enticed the user toward your ad, now you need to supply them with information that will make them consider making a purchase or at least clicking on the ad and entering your conversion funnel. Let’s call this the ‘intent or selling stage’
Again this isn’t rocket science. The techniques that work in other text based advertising such as search will work well here – highlighting things like free shipping, time limited offers, sales, money off or anything that conveys value and urgency.
The final stage is consistency. As with all digital media, the consistency between the ad and the landing page is key. Having the correct destination URLs with the same message on landing as on the ad is important to keep the customer’s trust. The goal is to make it as easy as possible to convert, and as seamless a transition as possible from Facebook to your website.
Underlying all of this is frequency. Within the Facebook environment you only have the ability to serve 1 impression to 1 user per day. There has actually been a change on this very recently which means you can serve up to 5 impression to a user who has liked your fan page. But in most instances for new customer acquisition you need to make that 1 impression count.
Even with only 1 impression per day for DR campaigns, refreshing creative frequently is important in order to keep CTRs high and CPCs down as they will ultimately affect your ROI.
And finally, we move onto my favorite part, the science and strategy behind running effective creative tests for DR campaigns. Firstly, it’s important to define your goal or objective of the campaign. Are you looking to drive registrations, a certain CPA or do you have an ROI goal?
One of the first things I get asked when talking about Facebook advertising for DR is how much creative do I need. And the answer is: always more than you think.
In terms of how many ads to start with, this is dictated by the amount of budget you have. This table shows what we would recommend on budgets under and over $100K per month. The thing to note here from a planning view is the total number of images required per week for the test: even on smaller budgets, we still estimate a minimum of 6 images per week. Over the course of a 4 week test, this quickly adds up. The key message here is that in order to run an effective test, you need a significant volumes of creative items.
As per the table on the last slide, we recommend that the best way to test creative is to think in terms of themes or concepts. Your creative themes need to be distinct from one another and should be set live at the same time to play off versus each other. In this example we have an animated image competing against an image of real people. This is for a game.
Which do you think did better?
The answer is real people – this is in fact something we see across the board and is something worth exploring.
Once we have established the winning creative, the idea is then to build out more images on a similar theme, here by including real people, children and families and we let these ads play off vs each other.
The final part of a good testing strategy is automation. If you’re running tests at scale, its imposible keep track of real time performance and make manual optimisations. In order to automate this process, Nanigans clients make use of our proprietary ad testing algorithms.
And this is how it looks within our platform. I will take you this screen briefly.
You tell our system how many ads you want to test, then how many ads you want to win from this test.
You then define the KPI which the ads will be assessed on, this is typically a ctr or cpa goal of some sort – usually up funnel.
Then you can tell our system whether to test ads at the front or back of the que.
You can then choose the amount of clicks needed for an ad to be deemed ‘good’ or ‘bad’ by moving this bar up and down. The more clicks you define the slower and more accurate the test will be, the less clicks you define the quicker and less significant that test will be. It ofcourse costs more to move the slider to the right.
This process can be seen explained in diagram form. Ads start in the push que, this advertiser has defined that 3 creative should be tested at the same time. The losing ads against the KPI will be paused down
Our tester will only look at data from the past 72 hours in order to include ad fatigue in the decision making process. This means that as more data comes in, an ad that was previously paused may actually go live again if it overtakes the performance of one of the other ads in the test.
So in conclusion, there are a number of different elements to be aware of in terms of creative planning, execution and testing. Following this blueprint will put you in a great place to have successful creative strategies for your ongoing Facebook campaigns and when used with algorithms such as those Naniagns provides, you will be in a very good place. If you would like to read further you can download our recently released ebook ‘Getting Creative, the secret o Facebook Advertising Success’ from Nanigans.com
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KRISTEN ALEK JOHN
College student, Boston University
Proficiency: Third year French in college; not
• Likes French; interested in French
• Likes trying to read French literature
• Not naturally strong in language
• Has visited Paris; would like to do study
abroad program in France
Corporate Sales for Nokia
Married, with a son and daughter
Proficiency: Native Finnish, German,
English; decent Italian; nearly fluent in
• Travels all over Europe selling Nokia
equipment to businesses
• Has built up a strong ability to acquire
and learn language
• Likes to polish his fluency in the
languages he uses for business (Italian,
San Francisco, CA
Single, lives in apartment
Proficiency: Native English; can get along in
• Loves to travel
• Enjoys language and culture
• Watches foreign films
• Not a master of any second language
• Likes to attempt conversation in various
• Likes to travel with people or meet up
with people when traveling