Best Practices for Instagram and Facebook Creative Optimization

Creative studios are an efficient way to benchmark internal teams and get new creative strategies, production, and optimization of concepts and variations at scale. They will help you alleviate the tunnel vision of existing design teams.

Creative Studios

What is a creative studio? It’s a crowdsourcing platform to generate creative at scale. A short creative brief is written and editors and designers submit creatives based on the creative brief. Advertisers provide feedback for revisions or approve the creative. Once approved, the ad can be launched into the social ad channel or downloaded for future use. Creative analytics enables automatic detection, classification, and swapping of underperforming ads.

When a winner is provided by the studio, variations can easily be generated by an internal team. This will help the internal team get an influx of new ideas from across the Facebook and Instagram ecosystem. In fact, if you work with the right studio, they will follow the best practices for each social channel where they are running media (Facebook, Instagram, Snap, Pinterest, IAB, etc.).

Your ad creative rapidly fatigues with increased spend and audience reach, thus, a much larger volume of quality creative will be essential to achieve and sustain ROAS as you scale and grow. Constant creative testing is necessary to produce wins and offset fatigue.

Here are highly effective ways to run your creative program:

Creative Briefs & Testing Process

Learning Phase: Leverage Best Existing Media, Generate Prototype Ads & Iterate

Phase 0: Competitive Analysis

    • Conduct a creative audit by evaluating your top 10 competitor ads on Facebook, this is free to conduct to do a creative audit.
    • Update monthly with fresh ads

Phase 1: Minimize financial risk and limit non-converting spend by testing 2 Variations of the top 3 videos/images/carousels (Prototype Ads!)

    • Start with your best creative & add new elements to maximize the odds of success while limiting non-converting spend
    • Text Headers: Call-To-Actions & Placement, Short/Long, Color, Font
    • Image Format (Square, Horizontal, Vertical, Stories)
    • Video Length tests 6, 10, 15 seconds, etc.

Phase 2: Pick 2 top-performing creatives and do 4 variations (Prototype Ads!)

    • CTAs: Start & End Screen
    • Use of Primary Colors
    • Mobile Device vs. No Mobile Device
    • Text in Image/Video (non-header)
    • Background Images
    • Image Layout (Split Screen, Grid, Horizontal, Vertical)
    • Types of Images (User Generated vs. Stock Photos)
    • One Product vs. Multiple Products
    • Apple Store/Play Store Badge
    • Logos & Brand Placement

Phase 3: Work to understand the audience and messaging by generate 2 Create To Convert Videos (Prototype Ads!)

Facebook’s Creative Shop reviewed thousands of top-performing videos and identified top performers that fall into these two main categories: Benefits in Motion & Demo in Motion.

Benefits in Motion:
      • Tell the user what to expect and why to play.
      • Can be achieved quickly by showing characters, levels, actions, etc.
      • Short ad copy to highlight benefits. Demo in Motion:
      • Screen capture gameplay in a phone.
      • Demonstrate app can be downloaded.
Example: Benefit / Concept: Message to focus on emphasizing. It can be a product’s feature, benefit, unique positioning, etc.
      • Concept 1: Safety & Trust
      • Concept 2: Cost Savings
      • Concept 3: Control
      • Concept 4: Large supply, find the right product when you need it
      • Concept 5: Convenience

** Note: dead user reviews in the AppStore to understand user-feedback and build into ad copy plan

Phase 4: Competitive Analysis

    • New concepts from competitive ad concepts
    • Expand on Phase 1-3 winners with new concepts
    • Custom creative concepts with storytelling (like before/after concept)
    • Character animation & fresh concepts from new assets
    • Variations of client’s new ads
    • Request new assets from the advertiser’s design team

Creative Strategies to Extend the Life of Still Images

Getting a winning ad is difficult and you only have a 5% chance at success. Once you get a winner, there’s a lot that you can do to extend its life so it continues to generate positive returns on investment. Here are just some of the ways you can keep your creative fresh through testing variations.

Image Formats and Layouts

Showcase your product or service in several layouts like a side-by-side, split-screen, grid (2×2, 3×3, 4×4), split screen (½ & ½), split screen variation or ¼.

Video Length and CTAs

Your video ads need to be in the range of eight seconds or less. Your call to action should be in the first three seconds and it needs to be strong. Remember to tell a story – what is your app and why do people care?

Types of Images

The vast majority of pictures and videos you see on Facebook are user-generated, shared by family and friends. Professional photos or stock photography can look too perfect and tend to stick out on Facebook. Consider taking your own photos or degrading the quality of the images and videos to make them appear user-generated.

Color Uses in Images and Headers

Test simple and plain backgrounds with soft or blurred out colors or gradients. Allow the viewer’s eyes to focus on bright vibrant foreground colors. Test soft background colors vs bold colors, strong texture vs muted texture, and simple vs clean vs busy and cluttered backgrounds.

Best Practices for Creating Videos from Still Images

Facebook’s Creative Shop has reviewed thousands of top-performing videos and identified 4 different flavors of videos that top ads consistently fell into, including basic in motion, brand in motion, benefit in motion, and demo in motion. These videos can be created with limited assets as they consist of still images and simple animations of different elements. Here’s an overview of each type of video ad:

1. Basics in Motion:

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

2. 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.

3. 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. Use short copy to make your video effective.

4. 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.

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Creative & UA Best Practices For Facebook, Google, TikTok & Snap ads.

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