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Digital marketing makes a lot of metrics such as click-through rate and cost per conversion easily available. However, experienced digital marketers know that the most important metric to track is your Return on Ad Spend (ROAS). After all, ROAS determines a campaign’s success and if it is bringing in the value it is expected to. 

There are a number of factors that affect ROAS, like ad placement and audience targeting, but creative testing is the must-have strategy that you need today to win across paid social channels. 

What do ad creatives have to do with ROAS anyway?

Assessing an ad creative’s performance is just as crucial as assessing its placement and audience. With the demand for digital marketing continuing to grow, there is a need for creatives that will make users stop, look, and click. 

The truth is, brands already have best practices and standard strategies when it comes to the technical side of ad campaigns. Ultimately, your ad creative can be the deciding factor if your campaign will bring in success or not.

We’ve already tackled how to get User-Generated Content (UGC) at scale in order to keep up with the pace of creating and testing creative assets weekly. 

In this article, we’ll be sharing 3 creative insights recommended by top paid social experts so you can optimize your ad creatives for maximum returns. 

Insight #1: Video should be at the forefront of your creative strategy

Let’s cut to the chase. If you aren’t using video in your digital marketing strategy yet, you have to start now. 

You don’t need a big production shoot and fancy equipment. You can simply pick up your phone and film some UGC (more about this later). And if you lack assets for video reels, you can leverage animation by creating slideshows with images and animated text. 

Don’t limit yourself—if you don’t prioritize video in your creative strategy, you might as well be leaving money on the table.

Here’s why video should have a big role in your overall creative strategy:

  • 64% of consumers make a purchase after watching branded social videos. So if your intention is to sell, videos are a must.
  • Marketers who added video in their creative strategy experienced 34% higher conversion rates.
  • Marketing professionals who use videos grow revenue 49% faster than those who don’t.

Videos are even more accessible today with over 6 billion smartphone subscriptions worldwide. Brands can literally serve personalized videos into the hands of potential consumers through mobile phones. 

Video ad spend is expected to reach more than $12 billion in 2024, and mobile is predicted to account for more than 70% of that. 

What does this mean? Aside from just putting video at the forefront of your creative strategy, you have to ensure that you prioritize video for mobile devices.

3 things to consider when creating videos for mobile feed

  1. The first three seconds are crucial. If you fail to sustain their attention in the first three seconds, consider it a lost conversion. Remember, you don’t have to give your brand story in the first three seconds. Your priority is to grab their attention, make them stay, and engage them enough to take action.

  2. Make it make sense even without sound. Did you know that 92% of consumers view videos with the sound off? If your video is dependent on sound, a large chunk of potential customers probably won’t understand what you’re trying to convey. Make it a good practice to include subtitles in your videos if the audio is really essential to the message.

  3. Drill down on one focus point. Don’t feel like you have to put everything in one video. People will tend to get bored when the information becomes too much.  Keep it simple straight to the point, and under 15 seconds. 

Insight #2: Leverage User-Generated Content (UGC) in various ad types

Simply put, UGC has been acknowledged by media buying experts as the best-performing ad content. UGC is any media created by consumers, target consumers, or any audience on behalf of a brand. You will see UGC in the form of social media posts, videos, photos, or even long-form articles and reviews.

Brands today have started leveraging UGC and repurpose them for use in digital marketing campaigns and ads. After all, UGC helps brands showcase their authenticity and their value propositions shown through the eyes of real people.

UGC has proven its impact when it comes to generating results. For example, Shopify reported that ads with UGC received 4x higher click-through rates plus a 50% drop in cost-per-click compared to other types of ads. So if you’re not using UGC to your advantage yet, you have to start today!

We’ve already discussed in this article how you can generate a steady stream of UGC so you can maximize them for regular ad creatives. Scaling your UGC is important so you can conduct regular testing across multiple channels. While there are different types of UGC, these are the ones you should leverage for your ad creatives:

3 Types of UGC you should utilize for your ad creatives

Customer testimonials

The truth is, people trust other people. In fact, more than 60% of people trust comments by others compared to content from the brand itself. Customer testimonials can come in the form of photos or videos. Usually, videos are filmed selfie-style by actual customers, influencers, or even actors portraying themselves as customers.

These customer testimonials don’t come across as ads right away. They come across as genuine content posted or shared by regular online users, which makes potential customers curious and interested.

One of the best examples is this Five Guys Burger and Fries review posted by a YouTuber. This video actually got almost 10 million views—and brought in good word-of-mouth publicity for Five Guys.

Other examples of customer testimonials used as ads are these video ads from Fabletics and Snuggle Society. As you can see, the videos used here are filmed from the consumers’ point of view as they give their feedback on how they find the product. 

Customer Testimnial UGC
Fabletics. Instagram Ad the Use of Customer Testimonial UGC
Customer Testimnial UGC
Shuggle Society. Facebook Organic Post with UGC

Real-life applications and product tutorials

Unboxing videos and product demos incite curiosity. They give you the opportunity to showcase your product and its features, yet it doesn’t come across as a hard sell ad. These types of videos encourage the audience to watch all the way through, in hopes that they convert. 

So how can you use these types of UGC in your ad creative strategy? Here are some ideas:

  • Use an actual unboxing or demonstration video as a video ad across different channels. Since these are created by actual customers, the quality and the approach are different. Online users know when an ad is an ad because of the video quality and the branding set in place. Often, when an ad pops up, users choose to skip the ad or scroll right past it. An organic post, however, makes online users curious enough to know more. 
  • Use a compilation of unboxing videos or product demonstrations. Edit these together but don’t spend hours and hours trying to make it look like a professional video. One reason why UGC videos are effective is they are very genuine and authentic as they show the actual reactions and expressions of customers as they interact with a specific product.

Check out this unboxing and demonstration video by a beauty vlogger. It starts with an unboxing, checking out the products, trying out the products, and providing feedback. This video alone can be used in one ad or repurposed into shorter video ads as part of your creative testing strategy.

unboxing ugc
unboxing ugc

Holo, a brand that sells teeth whitening kits, also does a really great job at maximizing the amount of UGC they have. Their ads show a variety of UGC, including before and after results, unboxing, and even videos of users’ TikTok videos while using the product.  This sample below is a compilation of different users showing how they use the product—you can watch the full ad here.

Customer Testimnial UGC
Holo Ads with the Real-life Application UGC

3 reasons why

This type of ad creative is straightforward and punchy as it simply displays your top three value propositions alongside UGC for additional social proof. Three main points are enough because they are easy to remember and impactful.

One great example of this is how Fabletics talked about the top benefits of using their leggings while showing UGC of customers wearing them.

3 reasons why ad
Fabletics. 3 Reasons Why Ad

Insight #3: Testing your creatives is fundamental

The fastest-growing advertisers test 11x more creatives than their competitors which resulted in 3x more revenue in 2019.  

When it comes to testing your creatives, there are important things to keep in mind about the process:

  • Test new ads weekly. Don’t skimp out on testing. 
  • Don’t overdo tests either. Remember to test a single variable.
  • Use a lot of different variations of creative before identifying your winners and scaling
  • Take into consideration the various platforms you are planning to run ads on. For example, you can use the same creative for different platforms like Facebook and Instagram, or Snapchat and Instagram. However, you’ll have to create new assets if you want to run the same content on TikTok—don’t put any important visuals at the bottom left corner or far right to avoid being covered by TikTok captions.

Here are just a few examples of tests you can implement:

  • Test different CTAs to find out what works best for your audience when it comes to driving action
  • Test the captions that you show in the first 3 seconds of a video ad.
  • Test between real images and illustrations
  • Test between static ads and animated ads
  • Create different variations of the messaging on the visuals

Optimize your creatives; boost your ROAS today

When it comes to marketing, there really is no one size fits all strategy. The only way to really find out what works best for a particular audience is to continue testing your overall strategies, especially the ad creatives. 

One of the reasons why the performance of an ad declines is because people have seen your ad so many times already. So don’t overlook your creatives—they actually play a big role in engaging the audience and driving them towards a specific action.