Paid Social

Paid Social Creative Best Practices Guide 2021

Social media is undoubtedly one of the best marketing tools to connect with existing customers and introduce brands to new users.

With over 91% of US businesses relying on social media to drive up sales and produce leads, the paid social media landscape has become increasingly saturated and ever more complicated by the implications of iOS14 and the cookieless future of social media. 

Creative remains one of the best vehicles for competing with an oversaturated market. “Ad relevance” is also a key component leveraged in Social Media algorithms which impacts costs.

According to Facebook:

Ads that are more relevant can cost less and see more results.

Source: Nielsen Catalina Solutions

This guide will provide you with best practices for designing high impact ad creative that drives better results across devices and platforms. 


9 Paid Social Creative Best Practices

Know Your Audience

Users are more likely to respond to an ad if it reflects their background, interests, or pain points.

Create user personas to better understand the type of content your customer would like to see. This step is an essential part of developing your creative strategy. 

Align Your Creative With Your Conversion Funnel

As marketers, we often talk about the importance of a full-funnel strategy, it’s important we don’t neglect to transfer that logic over to our creative approach. Context is crucial when thinking about what users see at each stage of the funnel. 

The following explains the funnel the best and gives us insights into the kind of content we should be sharing at each stage of the funnel:

  • Top-of-the-funnel/Awareness: Help generate interest in a product or service. Increasing brand awareness is about communicating what makes your business valuable.
  • Middle-of-the-fully/Consideration: Gets people to think about your business as a solution to their needs and seek more information.
  • Bottom-of-the-funnel/Conversion: Encourage people interested in your business to buy or use your product or service

Taking the time to understand what you’re trying to accomplish at each stage of the funnel is important and helps break down the kind of creative we should generate for each stage.

💡 Put it into practice: Let’s take, for example, a business that sells hot tubs; we can take our funnel definition above and translate that into the following creative strategy:

Top-of-the-funnel/Awareness

  • Lifestyle images and videos of people using the hot tub

Source: Facebook Ad Library

Middle-of-the-funnel/Consideration:

  • Product Infographics
  • Hot Tub Feature Videos

Source: Facebook Ad Library

Bottom-of-the-funnel/Conversion: 

  • Testimonials 
  • Discounts/Exclusive Product Offerings

Source: Facebook Ad Library

Optimize Creative for Mobile

Remember a time when browsing social media sites could only be done by desktop? Oh how times have changed! In 2019 alone, mobile accounted for 79% of social media site visits in the US, growing year over year.

As professions, we know this, yet we continue to display creatives that aren’t suitable for a positive mobile experience. Here are some best practices for building great ads that won’t get scrolled past.

Embrace Video Content

Video is an effective vehicle for presenting your brand while quickly capturing users’ attention. According to Facebook, campaigns that implement video saw a 17% higher conversion lift vs. static images alone.

Account for Sound Off

It’s essential to take into consideration that not all users will have their sound on. To help convey your message, add subtitles to your video using auto-captioning tools on wave or ads manager. 

5 Second-Rule

The first few seconds of your video are crucial to introducing your brand and the product or service you’re offering. Show your brand or product at the beginning and end of your video, and use brand color and imagery throughout your video. 

Account for Placements

Tailoring your creative for different placements is a vital part of your creative strategy. It’s important not to impede the quality of the user’s experience with unrefined cropping and ill-fitting specs. See placement specs here.

Utilize Text Overlays

Stock images without visible CTA’s won’t capture the user’s attention while they’re scrolling the endless amounts of content on their feed.

Adding customized text overlays that highlight the benefits of your product or service helps elevate the look of your ad and solidify important user value props & call-to-actions. Although text overlays are always encouraged, it’s important to keep your call-to-actions concise and not too long so that your ads blend into the feed seamlessly with user-generated content. 

Test! Test! Test!

At Seer, we use data-backed tests to inform our creative strategy and be more purposeful with our creative resources, and ad spend.

Testing new iterations of your top-performing creatives is an integral part of understanding what creative elements attract your customer the best and cut through the noise.

When testing new creative, consider the following:

  1. Consider what you already know to be true about your target audience and use data to inform these findings. 
  2. Form a hypothesis. What do you want to know about this audience? 
  3. Design your creatives separated into the different themes or concepts you’re trying to test. 
  4. Set your target KPIs
  5. Launch & run your test.
  6. Analyze test results & impact. At the end of your test, was your hypothesis correct? Were the results significantly significant? If so, create iterations of your winning creative and start the process again.

💡 Put it into practice: Imagine your company sells organic baby food products. Based on previous audience research you know your customers resonate with imagery showcasing motherhood. You also have a hypothesis that mothers are interested in the contents of the food itself, and that drives their purchase decisions. To prove this theory, you create an A/B test vs product-specific ad creative highlighting ingredients and nutrition / health benefits.

Data-Driven Design

Sometimes improving performance is more than just tinkering with overlays and images. At Seer, we live at the intersection of data and creative and utilize tools like our custom-built Creative Fatigue Analysis, which helps determine when a creative refresh is needed or using Organic Search Query Data to identify gaps and opportunities to improve messaging. 

We encourage you to think outside the box and use your existing data to expand your creative direction. 

Looking for dedicated Creative & Design support?

Check out Seer’s capabilities, work samples, etc. and get in touch:

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