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Betting on Performance Marketing? Up the Ante With Quality Creative

Michelle Mire
Content Marketing Manager
PublishedJan 18, 2023
Maximize Performance Marketing ROI—Superside
9 min read
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Searching for smart bets, many business and marketing leaders are also banking on tried-and-tested performance marketing efforts within these channels.

Why bet on performance marketing? The short answer: It's extremely quantifiable. As its name implies, it’s literally defined by the results it delivers—making it easier to show the return on investment (ROI) for every dollar spent.

But—when you’re investing more than half of your budget into something—how do you ensure it’ll pay off? While performance marketing has significant tactical components, skip-disrupting ad creative is what truly drives success.

In this deep dive, we’ll explain exactly how quality creative impacts campaign performance, and the ways in which you scale it, make all the difference. (Read on or use the links below to skip to key sections.)

How Quality Ad Creative Tips the Scales
Harnessing the Power of Performance Creative
Scaling Quality Performance Creative
Testing Replaces Guessing
Delivering Real-world Results
200% Click-through Rate (CTR)
275% Conversion Rate
217% Lead Acquisition
Be a Skip-Disrupter

How Quality Ad Creative Tips the Scales

Is performance marketing all science and no art? Some critics argue that the relentless focus on strategy and results has come at the expense of creativity. Step aside, naysayers. You’ve had your piece.

With more dollars flowing into digital marketing, the competition for engaging increasingly fickle and savvy audiences has intensified. Attention spans are shorter, interactive formats continue to evolve and the window of opportunity for capturing attention closes faster than ever.

Furthermore, now that targeting and bidding strategies are increasingly automated, advertising creative—what the audience actually sees and experiences—is the only thing marketers can continually test and optimize.

Infographic that highlights two points: 70% of campaign performance is driven by the quality of the creative and advertising creative is the only thing marketers can continually test and optimize.

The more things change, the more they stay the same

In 2015, Google noted that media placement only drives approximately 30% of campaign performance—the other 70% can be directly attributed to the quality of the creative. In fact, many platform algorithms, like Facebook, reward ad quality—meaning better ads not only perform well—they also deliver greater ROI.

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Build a High-Impact Design Team

Build a High-Impact Design Team

Tap into in-depth insights from forward-thinking design leaders at Adobe, Chime, Picsart and more. Get their honest takes on everything from beating burnout to structuring and empowering their in-house teams.

Harnessing the Power of Performance Creative

Click-through rates for social media average around 1.21%, meaning that one out of every 1,210 impressions generates a click.

Laser-focused on the all-important CTA, performance creative’s programmatic approach requires a high volume of design iteration, delivered as quickly as possible to systematically test hypotheses, analyze results, develop new ad variations and continually make incremental (sometimes monumental) gains.

Scaling a creative-first approach

This infographic shows the narrative, format and variation phases for scaling quality performance marketing creative—allowing you to test assumptions and fine-tune execution.

Shopify’s process for scaling growth creative was presented during a Superside Webinar.

Shopify’s Growth Leader, Amir Jaffari, has a process for scaling performance creative that leverages the marketing team’s data-driven approach with the creative team’s design expertise. Following these steps helps better identify what to produce and how to create it.

1. Narrative—Before rushing to production, take the time to understand the audience you’re trying to reach and what specific action you want them to take. (Hint: This is your CTA.)

2. Format—Once you have your narrative, identify which types of creative and advertising channels to use. For instance, you may be a tech company trying to reach Boomer and Millenial professionals with LinkedIn carousel ads or a direct-to-consumer (DTC) brand trying to reach Gen Z with TikTok shorts.

3. Variation—While your first iteration is your best guess at solving the problem, the experimentation is where the magic happens by looking at the initial results and making calculated assumptions about which variations to try.

Testing assumptions and fine-tuning the execution of performance creative becomes an ongoing source of crucial insights on what drives response. Watch his webinar (below) on how to align marketing and design to optimize performance. (For more videos, check out the Superside YouTube channel.)

Jaffari presents this process at the 13:30 mark in the recording. But, we encourage you to watch the entire webinar for all of his ideas.

Testing replaces guessing

At our 2022 Superside Momentum Summit, Jess Cook, Vice-President of Brand and Content at Marpipe, spoke about the crucial role of testing.

Presenting a series of simple A/B tests, she demonstrated why marketers can only predict winning ad creative 52% of the time. In other words, no matter how savvy you are, you can’t rely solely on intuition—and your ROI shouldn’t either.

Test your instincts below and watch this session (and all the others) from the summit.

A side-by-side comparison of credit score infographic that looks like a meter ranging from high to low. Version A is bolder and brighter. Version B is more muted and subtle.

Which ad variation do you think performed best?

As it turns out, Version B, the more muted and subtle infographic, generated 53 times more leads.

Did you guess correctly?

Delivering Real-world Results

How do ambitious marketing and creative teams find the bandwidth to produce performance marketing ads with the speed, quality and variation they need? Some businesses have the design capacity in-house, some outsource and others have a hybrid model.

At Superside, our experienced, talented team of project managers and designers makes the entire process of outsourcing programmatic performance marketing and maximizing results nearly turnkey. But, rather than just say this, we wanted to show you some proof.

How Kins upped their click-through rate (CTR) 200%

A pair of ads for Kins physiotherapy that have been customized to feature runners.

When Facebook ads featuring people were shown to helped increase conversion rates, further targeting was added with a campaign for runners.

Kins, a physiotherapy company that lets patients access in-person, online and telehealth services, wanted to scale its online advertising by featuring pictures of real people and personalizing the creative for various activities, such as running.

Iteration and testing, along with customized landing pages, increased CTR by 200% and website conversion by more than 40%. Their cost-per-result (CPR) for their Facebook ads also dropped 20 to 40%.

Read the Kins case study.

How PointCard drove a 275% conversion rate

An image that demonstrates how ads featuring the color orange and focusing on the reward points and app performed best.

Multi-variate testing showed that ads featuring the color orange and focusing on the reward points and app performed best.

PointCard, a fintech scale-up that lets customers use their debit cards to earn points and rewards, partnered with Superside to conduct nine rounds of testing on a total of 441 static, motion and video ads over six months.

Learning that customers preferred messages about earning points and the rewards app, user-generated testimonials and the color orange resulted in a 240% increase in CTR and a click-to-install conversion rate growth of 275%.

Looking for the PointCard case study? We’re so close to publishing it and we’ll link it as soon as we can.

How Superside increased lead acquisition 217%

A screen grab of one of Superside's UGC videos. There's a link in the caption to watch the clip. Not ideal, but we're staring intensely at our dev team until they give us a fix.

Watch Superside's first UGC experiment featuring our own talent that lowered CPA 30%.

Yes, even Superside uses Superside. Building on the results of an influencer ad campaign, we decided to test UGC-style videos using our own talent which would up lowering our cost-per-acquisition (CPA) 30%.

Then, we tried the same approach with video ads featuring our Design Leadership Guide, Design Dysfunctions Guide and Digital Ad Design Guide.

We also refreshed the creative regularly to maximize results for a 217% increase in lead acquisition and a 45% reduction in cost-per-lead (CPL).

Get all the details on how we streamlined our video marketing campaigns.

Be a Skip-Disrupter

From static and interactive ads to design concept and execution, Superside provides the quality, speed and expertise you need to create, test and get the most from your performance marketing campaigns. While times may be uncertain, you can trust that we’ll be a scalable, go-to partner for world-class design.

Supercharge Your Performance Creative
Supercharge Your Performance Creative

Supercharge Your Performance Creative

With dedicated creative management and a global network of top talent, turbocharging your performance campaigns and maximizing ROI will be turnkey.

Michelle Mire
Michelle MireContent Marketing Manager
Michelle is a Senior Content Marketing Specialist at Superside. When not solving problems with words, she's probably looking for other problems to solve or maybe just chocolate—because chocolate fixes everything.
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