Failure to refresh your creative is costing you more than you think. Facebook penalizes advertisers for overserving the same ad to the same user by charging a higher price. So not only do you risk annoying a user and/or wasting ad spend on an impression that doesn’t generate action, you could even pay more for that wasted ad.
To keep costs down and click-through rates up, you have to keep creative fresh, but that takes time, manpower and processes–resources many advertisers don’t have enough of.
These seven tips will help you stay in Facebook’s good graces and get the best results from your campaigns. The keys to success are smart planning and systematic updating of your creative and your targeting strategy.
Plan for refreshes and reuse
Plan in advance. Create refreshed versions of your creative at the outset of your campaign–that way, you are not scrambling for a new ad version every time your performance starts to wane. A simple rule of thumb is to run a new version of your ad at least every two weeks, but it really depends on the size of your audience and how often Facebook is serving your creative. Most advertisers start paying close attention when their average frequency goes above five–then you risk oversaturating the market.
If you plan for it, you can reuse the same creative with the same audience down the line, say, two to three months later. Then you should not see the same fatigue or drop in creative performance, because people have forgotten the ad or don’t mind seeing it again.
Designate a creative planner
To make sure this level of planning happens, designate it as someone’s responsibility. While a media planner is in charge of determining the best audiences to target and how to do so, a creative planner determines and manages the creative needs that your strategy requires.
Before you know it, you’ll have a lot of ads to keep track of. If you advertise year-round, you’ll probably need at least 120 versions. Plus, you also want to take advantage of Facebook’s algorithmic optimization, which makes it easy to A/B test versions. The creative planner can help you determine which ads to test against each other and which to table for a later date.
Tell a story
A great tactic for refreshing creative over time with the same audience is to consider the purchasing journey and to create content that speaks to it. Begin with ads that educate users about the brand, then move into more specific details about products or services and, finally, introduce a strong offer. This helps you refresh performance and convert more prospects, as you are showing them creative in the best order possible for driving action.
The image is usually the most striking and memorable component of a Facebook advertisement. With simple changes, you can create multiple versions of the same creative. Plus, subtle tweaks can drive meaningful improvements in key performance indicators, in addition to the benefits you’ll glean by keeping things fresh. Some quick tips for refreshing Facebook ad images include:
- Change the background color.
- If it’s a product shot, try an image of just the product, then another with someone using it.
- Run the image through a filter to recolor it. (Monotone images tend to perform better than normally-colored ones.)
- Add a shadow or border around the edge to make it pop.
- Add or remove a brand logo.
- Flip the ad, rearranging the position of the image and the text. For example, if there’s a person in your ad, have them looking left instead of right, and vice versa.
- Overlay text over an image, such as a promo code.
- Go from a single image to a carousel.
There are also simple ways for varying copy that can give the same value proposition new life. For example:
- Make statements instead of asking questions, and vice versa.
- Mention (or don’t mention) the brand within the copy.
- Vary capitalization, and try all-caps for a particular statement.
- Add or remove price details.
- Vary the call-to-action verbiage.
Try demographic rotation
Creative fatigue occurs because the same person sees an ad again and again. So in addition to varying your creative, you can also vary your audience, breaking it into smaller groups and alternating who you target. This demographic rotation works as long as the subgroups respond to the same creative or value proposition.
Let’s say you are a pet-food brand targeting pet owners. This is a large category, but your value proposition is pretty uniform–a happy and healthy pet. Start your campaign by targeting men, and then target women two weeks later. This allows you to combat creative fatigue without changing your ad.
Try placement rotation
When you set up a Facebook campaign, you can choose to serve your ad throughout all of its placements or choose specific placement, i.e., right-hand rail, mobile News Feed, mobile interstitial, etc. When configuring your ad, opt to serve it via just one placement, and then rotate options. Many people habitually use Facebook on one device over another—mobile, but not their computer, for example. You may reach new audience members by only targeting desktop or mobile.
Plus, if someone sees the ad on their laptop, and then notices it two weeks later on their phone, the ad could still appear new and different, simply because of the change in format, helping you to fight fatigue without altering creative.
When you find that Facebook ad that works, you want to run with it, but creative fatigue can stop you in your tracks. With these tips, you’ll have you’ll have enough versions and audiences to keep your campaign going strong year-round.
Victor Wong is CEO at creative management platform Thunder.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock.