Fighting ad fatigue

Creative strategies to give your brand ads a boost.

Digital advertising may be supported by loads of technology, but without good creative, campaigns simply fall flat. Nielsen research shows that ad creative is responsible for nearly half of a campaign’s overall performance, while elements like audience targeting contribute much less. While I’d be hard-pressed to
find anyone who disagrees that there is a balance to the art and science of advertising, many advertisers are spending less time on “art” and more time on targeting, likely due to the fact that it’s easier to measure
than creative. 

With the uncertain economy, there has never been a better time to refocus your efforts on creative best practices in order to get more from every dollar spent in a media buy. After many tests with top advertisers in APAC and around the globe, we have found a few best practices that can add a bit more “science” to creative – ensuring higher performance overall. 

Tip 1: Think outside the rectangle

In today’s golden age of creative, each screen, from a smartphone to a television, offers advertisers a slightly different canvas ready for creative experimentation. Advertisers can create virtual product placements using AI technology, add personalised shopping on a social media platform, and even create immersive 3D experiences with AR on mobile or desktop. Even within display advertising, there are opportunities to try non-standard sizes, takeovers and other new formats that create more engagement with audiences. 

The only way to understand what works best across these varying screens and creative types is to test, test, test. What works best on one platform, or for one audience, might not translate well on another channel. That’s why advertisers are turning to companies that specialise in providing brands with creative data insights. Creative data helps marketers understand which creatives work best on different platforms and why. For example, knowing if one audience prefers cool colours or an outdoor setting in a creative design.

The good news is that most new opportunities can build upon the creative assets that advertisers already have. For example, one of our telecom customers recently tested a branded takeover campaign. We repurposed their original creative assets, creating a new experience that engaged audiences at a rate significantly better than a standard IAB ad size.

Tip 2: Different ads for different audiences 

The pandemic dramatically changed the way people view advertising. After months of social distancing, more people use their electronic devices to stream media, online shop and play games. This new level of digital know-how has changed the way people view ads, with 71 percent now preferring personalised ads, for example. Of course, an advertiser can’t create individual advertising campaigns for every different audience segment, but with the right approach, they can tailor specific creatives to key target groups.

Good, personalised creative requires a robust testing phase, but the results can be worth the extra effort. For example, one might assume an ad selling a high-definition TV will work best with “suburban families,” but a round of testing might reveal that the better performing segment is “tech enthusiasts.” 

With this segment-specific knowledge, brands can lean into the audiences with the strongest performance and (knowing what campaign elements resonate the best) spend more wisely on custom creative where it will create the biggest lift. 

Rob Leach.

Tip 3: Keep creatives fresh

Ad fatigue is a common issue. After a few weeks in circulation, campaign performance can start to wane. Brands spend big budgets on ad creative, but when it comes to making a strong connection with their audience, many campaigns miss the mark, with too few creative iterations and too much repetition. One study found that 66 percent of consumers find creative assets to be too repetitive.

One way to improve the outcome is to use a wider variety of creative formats and treatments. Broadening the types of creative treatments can help brands to reach specific audiences with more relevant messaging and achieve a variety of KPIs all through a single campaign execution.

We found that updating creatives every four to six weeks is a best practice for most ad campaigns. This requires active and ongoing creative refreshes. What works in the spring might not resonate by summer. A hit song used in the background might be a top feature of success early on, only to become a problem once the song is overplayed. Bright colours that once stood out can become commonplace if everyone jumps onto the trend. In short, messages that once felt unique start to be ignored.

The many changes in the digital landscape have started to shine a spotlight on ad creative. 

Brands that have spent years learning more about audience targeting are starting to embrace the effect that good creative has on campaign outcomes. 

If brands commit to investing, testing and improving creative over time, they will be rewarded with even better campaign performance. 

This article was originally published in the Dec/Jan 2022/23 issue of NZ MarketingClick here to subscribe.

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About Rob Leach

Rob Leach is Kargo's, General Manager for APAC.

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