User Acquisition is evolving. Common strategies including frequently adjusting bids and budgets, or pausing sub-sources and ad sets, are now being automated. Privacy-first policies combined with users opting out of personalized ads put campaign measurement and targeting abilities in question. It’s only natural that creatives are becoming the main driver of ‘performance’ in performance marketing.
In this blog post, we asked Growth, User Acquisition, and Creative professionals from leading mobile game companies for their #1 tip on how to drive ad creative success.
Here's what they told us.
1. Creatives as a targeting tool
“Creatives are your new targeting tool. Diversifying your ad’s distribution in campaigns with different motivations and messaging will help you reach different potential users and convert them by connecting to their unique interest in gaming.
If you show an action-driven gamer an explosion in the first 3 seconds of the ad, you should expect them to click, which means higher CTR with action-driven audiences. If you start your ad with avatars/emojis talking, you're more likely to expect higher CTR with social-driven gamers.
So, with enough creatives engaging various gamers, you'll be feeding the algorithm with many different tastes. It is an excellent opportunity to improve your CTR across campaigns, and as long as your ads are not misleading, even improve deeper funnel metrics.”
2. Tweak failures into winners
“I have noticed that many advertisers quickly abandon new creatives that failed the testing phase while they could turn them into winners without too much effort. For instance, if the only metric being measured is IPM or Install Rate, but not CTR (Click-Through-Rate), it's expected that your production rate would seem insane. Try to tweak the first 10 seconds of videos with a high CTR but a low Install Rate. Maybe have something more engaging or with a stronger call to action. Or, iterate your first app store screenshots so that they match better with your ad messaging. Doing this is way more cost-effective than mass-producing videos endlessly and only looking at the install rate.”
3. Learn from performance
“To optimize creatives and discover best performing concepts, you need to come up with ideas, test them out, and analyze the results to help you come up with better ideas. Learning as much as possible from your creative iterations can be challenging as the data depends on several different UA factors, including algorithms, channels, and the campaign setup. We’ve managed to significantly improve how much we learn from creative testing by adding performance marketing professionals to the creative team. They help us choose which creatives to produce next, reinforcing our strategy through data.”
4. Don't focus only on videos
“Put some effort into tracking and maximizing your CVR. As your final goal is to drive installs through performance marketing, the correlation between your ads and your end cards or store page is crucial. If you focus only on videos, you will lose some optimization opportunities. Working only on your video mix within your campaign could boost some metrics, especially CTR, but can also damage the final user experience to make a download.”
5. Rationalize, test, iterate
“Here are three simple steps to follow:
Rationalize your creative flow to make it fit your needs. Creativity is a big part of your success in advertising - don't forget that! Is your goal low cost per acquisition or branding? Adapt your creative production to your specific needs.
Take the time to test and find what works and what doesn't work on your audience. Avoid rushing in and randomly creating new concepts you believe can work. Keep in mind that you are designing the ads to appeal to your target audience, not you.
Iterate on what works and keep going.”
6. Agencies + in-house = win
“You should use both agencies and internal creative production teams to speed up the process of ideating and producing multiple concepts and video variations.
Agencies can come with a fresh view on the creative process and make suggestions based on what they know works for other clients. At the same time, an internal team is the most familiar with the products, audiences, and results of previous tests. Combining agencies and in-house work brings the best of the two.”
7. One-fifth outside-of-the-box
"At least one out of five creatives that you test (20%) should be unique/outside-of-the-box creatives.
Think, oh, 4 of these 5 creative examples fit our brand, have proven performance KPIs, and were designed in-house. But, this one other guy is our dark horse - it may completely fail, may get strange responses/engagement, or it might be a huge win! Regardless, we will learn something - and might potentially have a new top performer. Only data will tell!"
8. The art of high-CTR ads
My one-size-fits-all advice on how to design creatives is to continuously analyze content from across the industry, track patterns, and apply best practices on your side. In terms of original ideas and inspiration, these can come from anywhere, not necessarily from things that directly relate to your product! You can discover a lot of exciting trends by watching popular videos on social media.
Another key tip is that it’s important to note that videos, or any other creative material, must correspond to the app store page. Otherwise, even excellent CTR metrics can be leveled out by a low install rate, or worse, negatively affect the deeper-funnel metrics. True creative art is creating a highly clickable ad that doesn’t mislead the user. And this can only be achieved through experimentation and analysis; we’re constantly testing new ideas to generate the best results and replicate successful concepts. We analyze primary metrics like CTR/CPI/IPM, install rate, conversion rate + value, and viewing depth.
Do you agree? Disagree? Have a winning tip of your own? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to join the conversation!