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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Which ad variation do you think performed best?
Did you guess correctly?
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.
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.
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%.
The resulting UGC ads that generated a massive increase in CTR and click-to-install. Read the full PointCard case study.
Our first test with UGC-style content 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%.
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.
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.
Michelle enjoys learning from and empowering ambitious marketers and creatives focused on scaling design and fueling growth.🚀 With more than two decades of experience, she’s worked at both agencies and in-house teams at companies of all sizes in the United States and Canada. She began her career as an advertising copywriter, remastering these skills as a content marketer and becoming a subject matter expert on everything from frozen pies and financial statements to SaaS and now CaaS. Connect with her on LinkedIn.
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