Care & Feeding Of Creatives
Discover columnist Susan Esparza's "one weird trick" for preventing ad fatigue.
Display advertising is centered around its ad creative. While the technology and channels used to serve ads are undeniably important, without a killer ad campaign, your marketing is dead in the water. Developing fresh creative and knowing when that creative is ready to retire are key to display success.
One Weird Trick
One day, a marketer used one weird trick to develop a campaign based on mystery. You’ll never guess what happened next!
Did you just groan? Of course, you did. For one shining moment, “one weird trick” and “you’ll never guess” were fresh, new, and compelling ways to catch the eye of internet users. They were clickbait of the highest order. On some level, these tactics appealed to the average person’s need to know.
But, like most clickbait, these lines all too soon became the subject of mockery and parody. Consequently, people learned to ignore them, realizing that they weren’t backed by anything of value. In short, the creative burned out, and a new approach was called for. (Sadly, this hasn’t stopped marketers and headline writers from continuing to inflict these tired headlines on us.)
If you’ve been on the internet for more than a few minutes, you’ve likely heard the term “banner blindness.” This dreaded phenomenon is the result of too many ads that have nothing to offer because they’re not compelling. Even if customers do look, without fresh ad content, these ads will cease to be interesting — causing ad fatigue.
Whether it’s because the idea itself is played out (punch the monkey, flashing ads, “one weird trick”) or because the ad has just been seen too many times by the same person, users have learned that it’s better to ignore ads than take the time to evaluate their relevance.
Like any content, the creative sets customer expectations. Mine your first-party data and let that guide your creative. You need the ad to be relevant to the customer and true to your brand image.
Gimmick ads that get clicks won’t convert if there’s no connection on the landing page. The greatest targeting software in the world can’t bring you conversions if the creative isn’t speaking to your audience.
To combat banner blindness and stay interesting, it’s important to understand that every campaign has a ticking timer on it. Creative burnout sets in after a time, and it’s important to be ready to sunset one campaign and bring on another. This is true even for campaigns with great ad creative.
Internally, we use an algorithm to determine how long a specific creative advertisement should be in rotation prior to swapping it out. When performance begins to dip, we know that it’s time to change up our ads and swap in something new.
The time period for burnout is not universal, which is why we monitor it. For one campaign, we found that performance dropped drastically after seven weeks. For that client, we instituted a policy of putting in a new creative at the seven week mark and found that we had a five percent lift in response.
While not everyone has an algo, what you should have is access to reporting data on your campaigns. Gather that data frequently, and use it to discover when your creative burnout date is. Be ready to change your campaign when that time comes.
Preferably, you’ll be applying insights that you’ve gained from the results of the campaign so far. Every time you do a rev, you have a chance to improve and fine tune your marketing efforts. Around here we say that you should never miss an opportunity for adding value.
In a hectic business world, these dates can sneak up before you realize it — especially if, like most companies, you’re running multiple campaigns at one time.
It’s important to have a rigorous content calendar with reminders built in. Whether the tools you’re using have an internal reminder system (as Trueffect does) or you’re working with an external calendar, make setting reminders as much a part of your procedures as building the ads and checking your reports.
Technology has given companies more flexibility than ever in ad placement, size, and tracking — but in the end, it all rests on the ad itself. Weak creatives will only return weak campaign results. So be innovative, be on message, and be alert. It’s from a solid base that you will find success.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.