Why Creative Matters?

There are several variables to successful Facebook mobile app advertising for user acquisition and lead generation. First, you can change and test budgets, bids, audiences, creative, creative placement, formats, copy and more. But, identifying the most important variable for the success of your Facebook advertising campaigns would seem complex. However, Facebook Ad Manager’s optimization capabilities have dramatically improved in recent years. Hence,  shifting the weight of your campaigns’ success to one variable: ad creative.

Just a few years ago all optimization in Facebook Ad Manager such as adjusting bids or budgets had to be done manually. Today, advancements in AI and machine learning have allowed Facebook to drive better performance by making those important intraday decisions on its own. As a result, budgets, bidding, audiences and placement decisions can now be automated on Facebook Ad Manager by setting rules helping to reduce waste and maximize results.

February 2005

Click Optimization

Facebook advertising platform shows ads to people most likely to click on your ads.

August 2005

Conversion Optimization

Facebook advertising platform shows ads to people most likely to convert or take a desired action in your app/website.

October 2016

7-day Conversion Optimization

Facebook advertising platform needs a minimum of 15-25 conversions for its algorithm to optimize. However, this can be challenging with small budgets in a 1-day window. But, the 7-day window allows more time for the minimum of conversions to be completed and the algorithm to start working.

December 2016

App Install Optimization

Facebook advertising platform shows ads to people most likely to install your app.

February 2017

Dynamic Creative Optimization.

DCO helps advertisers determine which creative assets perform best for their audiences by testing up to 10 images/videos, and 5 of each copy asset.


ROAS Value Optimization.

Facebook advertising platform shows ads to people most likely to spend money on your app/website. Also, it uses the purchase values sent from the Facebook pixel to estimate how much a person may spend with your business over a seven-day period.

Facebook Ad Manager and Google Ad Word’s auto-bidding sets and adjusts bids as needed to maximize results. Budgets also modify in real-time based on performance. In addition, Facebook’s value-bidding allows advertisers to increase their customers’ LTV. While lookalike audiences help advertisers find audiences more likely to take the desired action. Finally, DCO or Dynamic Creative Optimization lets advertisers run multivariate creative tests and thus identify winning combinations.


These advancements are driving better performance for advertisers because important decisions and adjustments about budgets and bids are made in real-time and based on real-time data. Also, as Facebook helps advertisers make profitable decisions on bidding, budgets, and audiences, there is still one important variable that Facebook advertising platform can’t help with yet: creatives.


Creative becomes the differentiator for performance and financial success. As a result, constant creative testing – copy, video, images – becomes imperative to an organization’s objectives. Also, a large volume of creative is needed not only to achieve but also to sustain ROAS (Return on Ad Spend). Because creative rapidly fatigue with increased spend and audience reach. Moreover, 95% of creative fail to outperform your portfolio’s best. So, even when having a high-performing creative, you need to think about replacing it. See the graph below to understand the need and results of successful creative testing.

Our team at Consumer Acquisition has created and tested over 250,000 ads spending over $200 million dollars for clients across several verticals. As a result, we have created this white paper to provide ideas and guidelines on creative testing for mobile app installs and user acquisition campaigns in Facebook advertising.

Before You Start Testing

Creative Elements to Prepare

Most large companies have developed a strong brand image accompanied by strict brand guidelines used to represent companies in a consistent manner. While brand-driven organizations take into consideration elements such as color palette, font treatment, logo placements, voice and tone to be used in copy. And more to develop brand-compliant creatives.

Brand Assets

Brand Assets

Brand guidelines with dos & don’ts, logos, fonts, colors, styling & layout, sounds, etc

Who you Are

Brand guidelines with dos & don’ts, logos, fonts, colors, styling & layout, sounds, etc

Likes and Dislikes

Preferred color pallets, simple vs stylized, subtle, elegant vs dramatic.

Brand Mode

Elements to recreate your look (backgrounds, textures, icons, graphics…).


Share videos that worked well, ones you love, some that bombed.

Campaign References

Examples of successful assets and their results, and why they worked.

But, when dealing with direct response advertising, what happens if brand-driven creative does not perform? Should advertisers drop their brand rules and test different creative that will drive performance? Our team at Consumer Acquisition has developed creative testing guidelines to help a brand-driven organization succeed with a mobile app and user acquisition campaigns on Facebook.

Direct Response vs Branding

Making Data-Driven Decisions in a Brand-Driven Company

Move quickly from testing to scaling

Most ads get less than 10,000 impressions.

75% of brand compliance is ok for testing.

Find winners before ads fatigue.

Limit non-converting spend.

When you find winners, clean up brand compliance, and re-test!

Testing Best Practices

Creative testing is imperative to find a winning creative, Thus, a high-performing video or image that would allow your organization to scale and reach your financial objectives. However, creative testing can also produce financial waste, because about 95% of creatives will fail at outperforming your current winner or at becoming a winner. As a result. our team at Consumer Acquisition has developed guidelines to help advertisers test creatives efficiently.

Before Testing

  • Test 1 variable
  • Know your KPIs
  • Avoid data contamination & reduce overlap
  • Ensure test geo is representative

During Test

  • Test 1 variable
  • Know your KPIs
  • Avoid data contamination & reduce overlap
  • Ensure test geo is representative

Post Testing

  • Test 1 variable
  • Know your KPIs
  • Avoid data contamination & reduce overlap
  • Ensure test geo is representative

Creative should be born from something. Before you start testing, you should brainstorm what you think would resonate with your audience and start forming a hypothesis around different variables. Forming hypotheses will later help you understand more about what works and what doesn’t within your Facebook campaigns.

Forming Hypotheses

Video Duration

  • Test 1 variable
  • Know your KPIs
  • Avoid data contamination & reduce overlap
  • Ensure test geo is representative


  • Test 1 variable
  • Know your KPIs
  • Avoid data contamination & reduce overlap
  • Ensure test geo is representative

Creative Refresh

  • Test 1 variable
  • Know your KPIs
  • Avoid data contamination & reduce overlap
  • Ensure test geo is representative


  • Test 1 variable
  • Know your KPIs
  • Avoid data contamination & reduce overlap
  • Ensure test geo is representative

Creative Ideas for Advertisers

Creating Effective Videos with Limited Assets

A group of brand marketers, strategists, and creative directors at Facebook’s Creative Shop reviewed hundreds of top performing ads. They identified four different categories in which all of these ads fell into including, basic in motion, brand in motion, benefit in motion and demo in motion. And also provided tips and best practices on how to improve videos to increase your ad’s user value. In addition, these videos can be created with limited assets as they consist of still images and simple animations of different elements.

Basics in Motion

A simple video or an animation. You can start with a still image and animate 1 – 2 elements of the image such as a character. You can also use music to add excitement.

Brand In Motion

A video with an emphasis on your brand. Start with a still, and add excitement by animating an aspect of your brand like your logo.

Benefit in Motion

A video with an emphasis on your products’ benefits. Start with a still, and add excitement by animating your product’s benefits with typography. Also, use short copy to make your video effective.

Demo In Motion

A video with an emphasis on how your product works. For mobile games, you can screen capture gameplay and place it inside a phone. Not a mobile game? Show a demonstration of your product.

Agile Best Practices for Videos

The first 3 seconds really matter.

Open strong

The first 3 seconds really matter.

Emphasize sound if important

The first 3 seconds really matter.

Use clear and concise copy.

The first 3 seconds really matter.

Shorten the message.

The first 3 seconds really matter.

Lean into your art and story.

Creative Elements To Test


Concepts are new designs not based on winning composition or elements, and are the driver of success with Facebook.


Variations leverage pieces of winning images and ads. They reposition existing elements to create something similar but new.

Image Layout

The easiest way to create new concepts is to change video/image layout. Find a way to tell the same story by changing and adding elements to the layout. As a result, you’ll find there are many ways you can refresh your creative by updating your layout.


Grid Layout

A simple way to create new concepts is to showcase your product or service in several layouts like side-by-side, split-screen, grid (2×2, 3×3, 4×4), split screen (½ & ½), split screen variation ⅓ or ¼. Grid layouts can help you tell a complete story by including different elements of your product.

Mobile Device vs No Mobile Device

Include a mobile device in the ad to show the user that you’re advertising a mobile app. You can also try excluding the mobile app and show it’s a mobile app in a different way. Test a hand holding mobile device vs no hand. Or, experiment with a woman’s hand vs a man’s hand depending on your product’s audience.


Text in Image

The text is one of the most powerful ways to communicate your app’s or product’s benefits and features. First, make sure you are testing: strong calls to action, short and long ad copy. Next, consider testing placement by placing your text in the upper, middle, lower, left, or right section of your Ad. Finally, try your text in different colors, fonts, sizes, etc.

Calls To Action

Once you’ve grabbed the viewer’s attention with an eye-catching ad, ask for the sale or download with a strong call to action. Also, test different calls to action with a different language, copy, color,  button, and button color. As a result, the right call to action can significantly improve your performance.

User-Generated vs Stock Photography

The vast majority of the pictures and videos you see on Facebook are user-generated. Also, they are shared by your family and friends. And professional photos or stock photography look perfect and tend to stick out as fake or not real. So, try taking your own photos or degrading the quality of the images/videos to make them look more user-generated. It seems counterintuitive but in some cases user-generated triumphs stock photography.

Colors ( Saturated & Background)

Color is a very important element because it’s the first thing a viewer will notice before taking a close look at your ad. You should be testing simple and plain backgrounds with soft and blurred out colors or gradients. Also, allow users’ eyes to focus on bright vibrant foreground colors. Finally, test soft background colors vs bold colors, strong texture vs muted texture, and simple and clean vs busy and cluttered backgrounds.

Background Images

Draw users’ attention away from friends’ and family’s posts and into your ad by testing vibrant, eye-catching colors like orange, red, yellow, and bright green. Also, compare the performance of vibrant colors vs complementary colors, soft colors or perhaps even your brand’s colors.

Characters or No Characters

Are characters a primary representation of your product, brand or service? If not, test removing all characters vs using them. As a result, we’ve found that unless characters are well-known, they can be a visual distraction and may decrease performance. However, it’s worth testing for yourself to make sure you’re not missing out on opportunities to improve performance.


Whenever possible showcase recognizable logos, celebrities brands, and characters because these usually receive high engagement and improve Ad performance. In addition, if your brand is not well-known, you should be testing using your logo against not using it.

One Product vs Multiple Products

If you have multiple products to advertise, test displaying one product versus multiple products. Does adding more products help or hurt performance?

Creative Studio

What is a Creative Studio?

  • Google and Facebook advertisers write a short creative brief.
  • Editors and designers submit creatives.
  • The advertiser selects, makes revisions, or approves.
  • Ads can be launched directly into Facebook or Google.
  • Advanced Facebook reporting and Google Reporting enable automatic detection and swapping of under-performing ads.

Creative Studio Benefits

  • Alleviate internal design team’s tunnel vision.
  • Creative talent drives fresh ideas at scale to drive user acquisition.
  • A high volume of new concepts delivered for testing.
  • Internal teams create variations off of new winners.

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