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April 04, 2017

Reach. Engagement. Action. Oh my! These are just a few of the typical key performance indicators (KPIs) associated with ad campaigns. And, when it's time to analyze performance, there are a number of factors that can influence the strength of these metrics. From my perspective, one doesn't get as much focus as it deserves: creative. Many people assume design can’t be measured quantitatively, but with measurement playing a large role in mobile advertising campaigns, why not take a stab at testing and optimizing your campaign’s creative to learn more about what resonates with your audience?

Why Does Creative Matter for Mobile Advertising?

Creative stands on the front line of any ad campaign—it’s ultimately what the masses will judge and (hopefully) love.  “Approximately 70% of an ad's performance is based on how good the creative is. When creative + media + data intersect, the marketing impact proves much greater than any of those elements alone.” As a user, you don’t see the effort that goes into planning a campaign behind the scenes—you only see the ad. If the ad is clear and complements the campaign objective, a straightforward message can go a long way.

Understand the context behind each platform by putting yourself in the user’s mindset to ensure creative will resonate. Make use of learnings and best practices put forth by publishers. For instance, on Waze, we encourage advertisers to think about billboards when designing their creative for the Waze audience—i.e. they should aim for a short, clear message with a prominent logo that the user can digest quickly.


Keep It Simple, Contextual, and Memorable

The more a creative asset is customized to the specific platform or campaign, the more likely users will be to engage and remember your brand’s message. Just think about it: what creative campaigns do you remember most vividly? While I suspect many of them are clever or funny, I’d wager that all of them have something more important in common: they all fit the channel or platform on which they were delivered.

Make It Clear to the User

When you eliminate clutter and distracting elements, your ad can shine. When the Google Search App (GSA) was promoted on Waze, a creative test was built into the campaign. Creative “A” was just the GSA logo on a white background with a call to download the app. Creative “B” was a contextual ad served up based on your location. Our hypothesis was that the location-based ad would garner more engagement since it was more specific, but in actuality, Creative “A” performed much better overall. When someone is on the go, they only have a moment to read and make a decision, so readability is the most important element in this case. Extract the bare necessities of the creative. Simple message. Clear CTA. Trusted branding. If you have a strong brand, use that to your advantage.

Align the Call-to-Action (CTA)

Once you’ve paired your brand’s message with strong creative on an appropriate publishing platform, you still have one important tool to consider—the call-to-action (CTA). Choosing the wrong CTA could undermine all your careful planning, so applying the right CTA is crucial. Think about the end goal of your campaign. What do you ultimately want the user to do? What's going to incite action but not be overbearing?

The campaign on Waze for the movie Madea illustrates this nicely with its straightforward text saying “Get Tickets” along with the “Save for Later” Waze CTA. The result: the user is reminded to get tickets, but the "Save for Later" CTA recognizes that it's unlikely a user will reroute to go to a movie in the moment the ad is served. And the advertiser saw stellar performance with KPIs exceeding all Waze benchmarks.

Outstanding Creative Roundup on Waze:

Don’t forget when crafting your next creative campaign:

  • Keep the message short, sweet, and contextual.
  • Make your brand visible.
  • Choose the right CTA to enhance the user experience and deliver great performance.

Quote Source: 2017 CES on the “Future of Media and Brand Innovation,” Margo Georgiadis
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