Today, the first visual interaction with your brand usually takes place through your ad creatives on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter or various other social media platforms. The quality of your creatives will determine, how users will perceive you and your product – and whether you will stay in their heads. In order to achieve this, you have to make that first impression matter!
That’s why we have compiled the key advantages and best practices of the three main types of ad creatives: image ads, video ads, and UGC.
The value of social media creatives
Essentially, what you want to achieve with your ads is a high ROAS – ad placements cost money, after all. But in order to achieve this, you have to grab the user’s attention: stop them from scrolling through their feed and get them to watch your eye-catching ad.
Good creatives are able to break the behavioral pattern and stick out from other ads. Once you have the user’s attention, you can guide them to your landing page or product page – if your visual and textual elements can convince them.
Social media ads are engaging, and a great way to promote your brand, product, or service. If you want to learn more about social media marketing, feel free to check out our article on this matter.
Now, let’s take a look at three types of social media creatives – and how to best leverage them to increase your ad performance.
Image ads are a perfect way of highlighting different parts of your product or a certain problem that it solves. If you want to put emphasis on a special feature that sets you apart from the competition, image ads will turn out to be the perfect fit.
Alas, image ads on social media are a quite saturated phenomenon, which makes it hard to create ads that stick out from the others and stop the user from scrolling.
But if you follow our best practices, you will most certainly experience an increase in your ad performance.
This one should be self-evident, but always use high quality images for your creative. Take a look at the information put out by the various social media platforms regarding the maximum possible resolution and adjust your assets accordingly.
Generally, your image ad should always include four fundamental elements to maintain a basic structure: your brand, a stunning visual, relevant copy (e.g. a USP), and a call to action (CTA). Your USP and CTA play a huge role in boosting your CTR (click-through rate) and, eventually, your conversion rate. Therefore, these two parts should be visually distinct. You can place your brand logo on one of the edges and the relevant visual, e.g. your product, in the center to increase the focus.
When designing image creatives, you should always focus on presenting just one feature at a time – if you try to include multiple USPs, or even multiple products in one image, you will completely overload it, overwhelm the user, and end up with poorly performing ads.
If you do want to present several products in one ad though, you can do so by launching carousel ads, which are available e.g. on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Reddit. That way, you can present either several different products, each with their own link, or you can choose to present one product through a number of images in more depth.
Additionally, image creatives are great for retargeting: if you have users deeper in your funnel – that is they’ve already come across some of your ads and seen your product in action – you can lead them further down the funnel by means of e.g. special offers that may lead to conversion.
Video creatives are a fantastic way to present your product and its features in more detail. They have a higher memorability, include much more information, and attract more attention than text-only ads and image creatives – one video says more than 1000 pictures.
Additionally, through video, you can much better convey emotions to the user. And emotional advertising is good advertising: video ads that evoke a strong emotional response – that is, anger, awe, anxiety, or happiness – are twice as likely to be shared than more rational videos, which elicit next to no emotional response. Be careful though, because sad videos will less likely be shared (because why would you share a video that has ruined your good mood?).
Format and length
Regarding the length of your video, it is best to roughly follow this rule: Include as much content as possible in the shortest amount of time. But do it naturally, so that you don’t overwhelm the user. Your video should then have a length of about 15 seconds. If your product is new and unknown to users, you can ramp it up to 30 seconds, and include some more details.
While the length of your ad will hardly vary on each platform, you will have to consider different formats on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter etc. While in-stream video ads on YouTube and LinkedIn would need to be in a 9×16 format, the mobile-only Stories feature requires a 9×16 format. Always research, which native format is required, so that your ads retain their high quality.
Now, with the framework done, let’s cover some best practices of video creatives that will boost your ad performance.
Generally, your video ads should adhere to the following structure: Hook – Content – CTA.
Your hook will feature the first 2 to 4 seconds of your ad, and should ideally catch them during the first second in order to stop them from scrolling or skipping the ad. Always showcase your product within the first 3 seconds so that it is instantly recognized and memorized by the user.
You can also start off by showing a problem and immediately introducing your product as the solution.
After you caught the user’s attention, the important part begins: the following 10 to 20 seconds will be all about the solution your product offers. What features does it have (that others don’t)? What problems does your product solve? How does it solve them? You see the pattern – focus on the WHY. Why should people buy your product?
During this segment, you want to present your product in action. Clearly communicate its USPs and its benefits that make your product stand out from the competition.
Don’t be afraid to include fast cuts and different perspectives – you want your video to be dynamic.
Also, keep the emotionality in mind: what emotions do you want to elicit in your users? How can you achieve this in your ad?
Regardless of well your content performs; you always need to include a call to action (CTA) at the end to guide the user to the next step. Don’t let them just be awestruck by your incredible ad – give them something to click on!
Place a link in your ad’s caption, or in your Story that leads users to your app store or landing page to feed them with more information, offer a deal, and ultimately get them to buy your product.
Additionally, don’t forget to underlie all of your videos with subtext so that users, who can’t hear or have their phones switched to silent, can still consume the content.
Lastly, we will talk about the power of UGC creatives. With the amount of value that is being placed on the opinions of other people, having content creators and influencers present your products is a literal goldmine in terms of advertising. Why?
For one, UGC sparks authenticity. Ad content produced by influencers, especially micro-influencers (people with less than 50,000 followers) does not look like your regular advertisement, but seems more organic, like a common social media post. That way, users are more likely to stop scrolling and take time to watch your ad.
Second, your ads will always hit the relevant target audience. Especially when partnering with a niche influencer, whose branch fits your product, you will easily reach thousands of interested users, who may have use for your product.
Another reason is trust. People follow influencers because they are inspired by them and look up to them. 49% of consumers think that an influencer recommendation is more trustworthy than a brand recommendation (Cure Media 2021), and 92% trust UGC in general more than traditional advertisements (Nielsen Trust Index 2017).
Although those numbers do look promising, there are some things you need to consider before venturing into the creation of UGC:
Invest time in looking for the perfect influencer for your ad campaign. Don’t just contact the next best creator you find – you want to receive quality content, after all.
- Filter by relevancy – do they work in a branch that would benefit from your product? Fitness influencer, for example, would be the perfect fit for your new fitness tracker app.
- Then, browse their content – how is the quality of their posts? How do they articulate and behave on camera? Do they speak fluently? Are they charismatic? All those factors are relevant to your decision on whether to partner with them.
- Conduct a briefing – here, you can (and should!) include the framework of the ad: the type of video (unboxing, testing, presentation etc.), a storyline, setting, aspects that must be highlighted, a CTA… it is best to include examples on how you want your content to be produced.
- Leave room for creative freedom – although it is important to set the framework for your ad, it even more so vital to give the influencers some creative space. If the ad is completely scripted, it will lose on authenticity and credibility, two of the key benefits of UGCs.
You see, the advantages of the different types of creatives are huge and can promise a huge ROAS. Yet, one of the greatest mistakes you can do is not testing your creatives. Which brings us to the last point: creative testing
If you think your image or video is doing good because it looks good, you are doing it wrong. You have to test it and let the data tell how it performs. Take time to prepare different versions of your video or image ad (e.g. by highlighting a different features of the product, or by changing the copy), have several influencers advertise your product in the same manner, and track the performance of the alternative versions.
Compare the performances of your ads to identify, which one achieves the highest ROAS. Additionally, consider analyzing how long users watch your ad before continuing to scroll/skip the ad. That way, you can determine, which parts of your ad performs well, and which parts may need some reworking.
Through continuous testing, you can constantly optimize your creatives and increase their performance.
Social media ad creatives play a major role in digital advertising campaigns. Now, we have covered many key aspects and best practices regarding the use of image, video, and UGC ads.
Still, the creation of proper social media ads is a time-consuming process. Choosing the right assets, creating a captivating storyline, writing engaging copy, gathering suitable influencers – all those steps require proper planning, execution, testing, and optimization.
If you have any questions left regarding the creation of social media ad creatives, or if you are looking for someone to produce the content for you, feel free to contact us. Our social content team is specialized in producing effective and engaging creatives for your product, service, or branding.
We have experience in the creation of stunning images, captivating videos, authentic UGC, as well as eye-catching motion design and animation. From the raw concept to the finished ad, including constant testing and optimization, we will support you in building your perfect ad campaign.