As consumer attention becomes fragmented and distributed among numerous social media channels, creative production is more important and more challenging than ever before. Gone are the days when a marketer could produce a handful of standard creative variations to apply uniformly to television, print, radio and even online display formats. To hook and retain a viewer’s attention, content on social platforms should be created with a social-first mindset.
That does not mean the cost of producing content for social needs to increase — it should be more scientific, more deliberate and more data-driven. Following are a couple strategies that can help you effectively use data to reduce your content production costs and maximize your non-working media dollars to achieve better outcomes on social.
1) Using Data Signals to Inform Creative Production
SocialCode research suggests that the variance between top and bottom-performing creative for a given campaign is 10X on average. Maximizing the speed at which a brand understands top and bottom performers is crucial not only for campaign success, but also future content planning.
More and more, marketers are using creative pre-testing, the modern-day, data-driven equivalent of a focus group, to understand this gap. Brands that track towards online goals, such as online sales or video engagement, can run media at low levels of spend to test creative variations against prospecting audiences and identify top-performers. You can then strategically scale spend against top-performing variations of your creative. For example, you could pre-test multiple images or videos, or A/B test different variations of the same creative (i.e. video with logo and without logo in the first three seconds). According to SocialCode data, campaigns that pre-test content are 20-25% more efficient.
A SocialCode technology client implemented a creative test that quickly showed that people responded better to ads featuring homes that looked like they could be next door, versus those with less-familiar architecture. Creative featuring Victorian-style homes, typical of the tri-state area, drove a 10-percent-higher volume of off-site clicks in that market compared to the Southwestern alternative.
2) Identifying Your Learning Agenda Before Beginning the Creative Development Process
Don’t go to your kick-off meeting with a creative team empty-handed. Your creative team’s first attempt should not be a stab in the dark. Tell them what you already know about your audience, what you hope to learn, and how you’re measuring success. Coming to the table with data-driven insights doesn't hinder the artist's inspiration or artistic process, it can often trigger it.
By identifying a goal for your creative test and campaign at large, brands can determine which ad units and placements will align most with their business goals, and produce creative that will shine for that purpose. For example, to generate awareness for a new product on Facebook and Instagram, a memorable photo, video or Canvas ad can go a long way. Think: an auto producer releases a brand new car model and uses Canvas’ high-resolution, fullscreen, interactive capabilities to showcase every unique feature and angle of the car.
Data from digital campaigns offer brands an opportunity to reverse the trend of rising creative production costs. The rapid test-and-learn capabilities, as well as the breadth of data signals offered by online advertising platforms, allow marketers to focus spend on top-performing creative, deliver personalized and relevant content to their customers, and maximize returns on their non-working media dollars.
With SocialCode SmartContent, our creative offering, we see a 19% average KPI performance lift with every creative refresh, and an average of 72% decrease in cost per creative asset. This is thanks to not only our expertise in social, but also our access to over one million proprietary data points and over three billion impressions served. Want to learn how you too can drive down your creative production costs with SocialCode SmartContent? Visit our website at SocialCode.com.