Creatives are one of the biggest drivers of digital marketing campaign performance. In fact, Nielsen found that 47% of brands’ sales lift from advertising came from creatives.
This is even more true in the age of automation – while a lot of optimization work can be done by machines, human inputs such as creative assets are key to making effective and inspiring ads. People are engaged by content they find funny, interesting, or unusual, and only human insights can create these experiences for users.
What does this mean for app marketers?
With machine learning taking on the tasks of putting creative assets together and deciding where to place them; app marketers are freed up to exercise their creativity in more strategic ways – such as building diverse and high-impact assets based on their understanding of user needs.
However, developing creatives is hardly an intuitive task, and there is no single formula to come up with captivating creatives. So in this article, we’re sharing some recommendations with you so that you can overlay your creative magic.
Pro tips to take your creatives to next level
Variety is king
First things first, a diverse creative asset mix is crucial for a compelling and healthy app campaign.
- Maximize campaign reach with a full set of creative formats: People are discovering apps across different surfaces and networks, where you can connect users with different creative formats, such as texts, videos, images and HTML5. Having a full set of creative formats in your campaigns allows you to take advantage of all the user touch points and maximize the potential campaign reach.
- Speak to your audience with customized creatives: Just like a chef who needs different ingredients to serve a tailored dish for each individual diner. People are more likely to be engaged with creatives that resonate with their experiences and lifestyles. Catering to your users with customized creatives increases your chances of finding the users that matter the most to you.
- Keep your audience excited with diverse creatives: People may get tired of the same creatives after being shown them too many times. Instead of putting all of your eggs in one basket, a diverse creative portfolio that is refreshed regularly will help you avoid ad fatigue and reduce fluctuations when you replace creatives with declining performance.
Win with video
Consumers today are mobile, and they love watching videos on their devices.
With an estimate of 62.1% increase in overall video ad spending between 2019 and 2023, video ads represent a big opportunity for app marketers to connect with users.
At the same time, video is a great way to communicate multiple value propositions to users, and to engage with them via stories, music, and app experience. Let’s take a look at how top performing campaigns “win with videos”:
- Capture attention fast with direct app experience: An effective video ad not only needs to start fast, but also captures users’ attention early on. Instead of driving watch time through long storytelling, a direct app experience, such as a quick demo of the app capabilities, is used by many high-performing video ads to quickly engage their users.
- Use compelling call-to-action to motivate users to act: A clear call-to-action of what you want your users to do can motivate them to take real steps towards your campaign goal. You can highlight the use of the app, such as shop, travel, learn, etc, or provide direct challenges at the end to encourage them to compete, e.g. ask users to do better after showing a failed game.
- Localize videos for global campaigns: If you are promoting your app in multiple regions, localized ads will provide increased value, offering users a more “familiar” experience. If budget allows, customize your videos for different market preferences and cultures. However, when budget is a constraint, you have the option to use simple translations of a single set of videos. But remember to minimize the message in text and sound as well as to use universally relatable scenarios or characters to reduce localization efforts and cost.
Nail the fundamentals with image and text
Text ads are indispensable to any campaign. A good text ad provides a clear value proposition and grabs attention from users to download the app or to drive specific actions.
Take a food delivery service as an example:
|Introduction||Introduce your app with a simple, straightforward description of the utility or experience it provides.||“The fastest food delivery service.”|
|Attention-grabber||Trigger the reader’s curiosity with a funny, compelling, or delightful thought. This can play off the tone of the app.||“Are you starving?”|
|Benefit statement||Focus on one specific feature or emotional benefit that your app provides. Consider what your product is making possible for the consumer.||“Get your food in 30mins.”|
|Call-to-action||Compel the reader to do/receive something through a direct actionable statement. These should begin with a verb like “get, find, start,” etc.||“Order now!”|
Image ads engage users with visuals and offer more creative flexibility in terms of layout and message.
While there is no single rule to create image assets, many high-impact images have followed these tips below:
- Showcase your product: Give users a sense of the app experience using engaging and relevant images taken directly from your app. For example, you can use product images from your shopping app or menu screens from your music library.
- Vary your content: Upload different variations. For example, with a travel app, utilize image ads of a single standard size, but depict different cities or countries depending on the audience.
- Keep it simple: Simple designs can easily stand out and catch user attention in a mobile context, so only include elements that are crucial to conveying the message. Keep your layout clean, easy to read, and avoid unnecessary decorative elements and phrases.
More tips to achieve creative excellence at Google
In addition to creating high impact creatives, maintaining a healthy mix of creatives will allow you to maximize your potential reach from Google App campaigns.
A healthy creative mix utilizes all the available text slots and has at least 2 videos (landscape and portrait, 15s-30s) and 1 landscape image, but for creatives – more is more.
Utilizing all the slots for videos, images and HTML5 with different lengths, orientations, and themes is highly encouraged and should yield optimal results.
Below are a few features and resources that can help you manage and optimize creatives at Google:
Optimize the creative mix with asset reporting
Knowing the performance of your creative assets is critical to making creative decisions.
Creative Asset Reporting provides more transparency and allows you to see the relative performance of each of your assets at the campaign level. Once you’ve added a portfolio of assets into App campaigns, and enough data has been gathered by our machine learning model, you can take actions to optimize the creative mix.
As a general rule, only experiment with swapping creatives after the model has had sufficient time to learn (it usually takes around 2 weeks); keep the “best” and “good” performing assets and replace the “low” (lowest performing) assets with new assets. We recommend you to refresh your assets every 2-3 months.
Organize your assets with ad groups
Ad groups enable you to package your creatives based on different themes. Take the retail industry as an example, you can group assets based on seasonality (seasonal vs. regular), categories (shoes vs. accessories), promotions (on sale vs. not), and so on.
You are given more flexibility to easily activate and pause ad groups, depending on your campaign objectives. For a single campaign, you are able to create up to 100 ad groups and upload up to 20 types of each ad format (5 for each text type) into each ad groups. Ad groups are rolling out to all advertisers over the coming months.
Grow with creative education program
At Google, we cherish every opportunity to help marketers grow.
If you are looking for more tips for creative management at Google, we offer a free education program that teaches how to manage and optimize ad assets. In this latest course, you’ll find short, snackable video lessons and interactive activities to help you learn how App campaigns use ad assets, what are the best types of assets to provide, and how to use asset reporting for creative insights.
Get support from professional designers
If you need help with designing your creatives from scratch, or with fine-tuning your existing ads, you can reach out to a Google App Preferred Creative Partner agency.
Creative excellence checklist
- Utilize all the text slots and upload at least 2 videos (landscape and portrait,15s-30s) and 1 landscape image
- Use call-to-action
- Utilize all available slots for videos, images and HTML5 with different lengths, orientations, and themes.
- Speak to your audience with customized creatives
- Localize your creatives for different markets
- Take your call-to-action beyond ‘install’ to encourage specific user behaviors
Creative optimization and management
- Replace creatives that indicates “low” performance in asset reports
- Refresh your creatives 2-3 months
- Organize your creatives around different themes or user demographics with ad groups