Some ads perform better than others—this is not a new concept. Back in the old days, if an ad didn’t work, you created a new one. But with the vast array of analysis tools now at our disposal and the heavy shift toward a digital market, we no longer have to ditch ads that aren’t performing well. Instead, we can analyze metrics to optimize our ads and change certain aspects for different ad platforms.

Recent insights have directed a shift toward a content-rich and experiential approach that is aimed at better engagement with the target audience. With more meaningful interactions on social media, we are observing greater trust with online audiences.

So what types of content drive higher-than-average engagement rates? Digital ads that incorporate and/or tease appealing content with great creative: interactive quizzes, video quizzes, flip cards, infographics, listicles, contests, music videos, rich media, interactive 360 photos, mobile carousels, story ads, Snapchat geo-fenced custom frames and more.

Pair the following optimizations with your digital ads to get your campaign off the ground in no time:

Mobile Optimization

Did you know that 94% of Facebook’s ad revenue comes from mobile? This means your content should be mobile-optimized for the best user experience—according to Hootsuite, mobile-optimized Facebook video increases brand awareness to 67%.

Facebook Instant Experiences, formerly known as Canvas Ads, deliver what some call a microsite-like experience—a mobile-optimized full-screen ad experience. Viewers can watch videos, view photo carousels, tilt to pan and explore lifestyle images with tagged products all in a single ad unit. Since the ad opens within the Facebook app, speed and user experience become major benefits. We see post-click activity increase because users aren’t dropping off from slow page load. In fact, Instant Experiences load 15 times faster than traditional mobile webpages, making them a great alternative for websites that aren’t mobile-friendly.

Built-In Image Optimization

Testing multiple images for Facebook ads is an effective way to understand which ad performs best and to get the most out of the amount you spend for advertising. Facebook makes it very simple with its split-testing feature. When we aren’t strictly A/B testing, we’ll create multiple versions of a single ad using different images. This allows Facebook to optimize delivery toward the best-performing ad. Facebook’s Dynamic Creative option is an automated, more advanced version of this. It has the ability to rotate various images and copy-lines to find the best performing combination. Take advantage of this built-in optimization tool to test multiple image options to learn which image performs best or which ads require new imagery.

Audience Optimization

High schoolers and young adults—otherwise known as Gen Z—hold different values than their millennial counterparts. While marketers seem to have mastered the millennial audience, we now need to reach this new, elusive group whose attention can be hard to grab, let alone hold. As such, we rely on data to inform our creative decisions. According to a Think with Google report, 70% of Gen Z YouTube subscribers find YouTubers more influential than celebrities. We used this opportunity to create a music video as part of a campaign for the Community College System of New Hampshire. The video, which included user-generated footage, tailor-made lyrics and custom-composed music, promoted the commonalities of all seven members of the system in a format likely to appeal to our young target audience. For this ad unit, we even blocked the music video from those over 35 years old to keep content authentic to the younger audience, as Gen Z members are more likely to distrust traditional ads. The ad lifted brand awareness and increased engagement by 20%.

View-Through Optimization

Video ads can be served in virtually any length, but depending on the platform, are typically served as :15, :30 or :60 ads. Looking to explore new territories in digital advertising, we created a series of :06 video bumper ads for Rochester Regional Health to tease very short narratives as stories to build upon the larger campaign. The :06 spots used new creative made from cut-down footage from the :30 spots with new scripts and audio. Excited about this new short and unskippable video ad format, which seemed perfect for brand awareness, we ran the series on its own. After a couple weeks of mediocre results with the new :06 spots, we simply paired each in the series with the corresponding :30 full video spot, which led to increased engagement. Overall, CTR increased by 300% when the videos ran simultaneously.

Data graph

Source: Google, Custom Brand Lift Survey, U.S., September 2015

How does our team craft cutting-edge creative ad solutions?

For successful marketing and advertising campaigns, we find it essential to work in multidisciplinary collaborative pods to spark insightful connections between creative, media, data and strategy throughout planning, execution and measurement.

We also find it essential to include the client in our process. We have created a client-facing campaign reporting platform that highlights key statistics and takeaways up front so that internal teams and stakeholders are able to view updates that are visual in nature and thus, easy to review and gain insights (sans spreadsheets).

This measurement, testing and data across various platforms can give structure, provide challenges and lead to insights that help our teams concept, design and write to build impactful creative ads and content as micro-moments that will tell the brand story through a unique consumer journey.

Contributions from Mariah Ehrgott