Your ad creative is one of the most (if not THE most) important components of your ad success.
But it’s something that many people struggle with and have so many questions about, like: “How many different versions of copy do I need? Do I use videos? What about dynamic creative? How do I test my creative?”
I want to make this clear: it is absolutely critical that you nail your ad creative.
If your ad copy doesn’t connect with your audience, stand out from the noise, or have an emotional component…
If your ad creative isn’t high quality, looks templated, or doesn’t stop the scroll…
Your ad results WILL suffer.
So in today’s episode, I’m chatting about the do’s and don’ts of ad creative and sharing all of my team’s best practices on:
- Dynamic creative
- Ad copy & headlines + how many versions you need
- Images, videos, & Reels + how many versions you need
- Refreshing your creative
- Testing new creative
Tune into today’s episode to crack the code on successful ad creative so you can stop leaving all that money on the table and create a massive impact!
Share your biggest takeaway from this episode with me over on Instagram (@emilyhirsh)!
Even if you know now how to improve your ad creative, copywriting and graphic design may not be your forte – and it shouldn’t have to be! We have an amazing team of in-house copywriters and graphic designers that could completely take the burden of producing high quality, converting creative off of your plate, along with all of the other aspects of running, managing, and analyzing your ads.
Click here to apply for a free strategy audit to see if you qualify to work with Team Hirsh!
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Hello everybody. How are you doing? Today’s episode will be coming out on April 1st. So April fool’s day. And I can’t believe we’re in quarter two. Here we are. I’m so excited though right now. My company, gosh, maybe I’ll do a separate podcast about this, but we are not only growing amazing, having some of our best months, but in the most stable, solid way that I’ve ever experienced. My team is in a whole new place. I was actually just recently on a podcast episode where someone asked me, how do you get it so that people can make decisions for you because I feel so tired for making decisions in my company and everybody kind of coming to me and then I’m this bottleneck. To be honest, it’s not like the most cool answer and exciting answer, but it just takes a lot of time, and pretty much all of my managers and leadership team has been on my team for over a year, some over two years. And that amount of time of building relationships and understanding of the company and going through the various phases of growth, and then catch up, and improve. That’s invaluable compared to just finding a unicorn and bringing them in, and that just doesn’t really exist.
Over probably about three or four years ago, my company grew really fast and it was just me, and it grew really fast, and before I had the solid foundations. So our business had to catch up. And I say our business, because it’s my team, and I did not do all this. We had to catch up, and we’re constantly going to be improving. I mean the myth of a perfect business, there’s no such thing, but I feel like we’re finally in a place where when issues come up, or things are broken and we have to pivot, or whatever it is that happens inside of a company, we have such a solid foundation now. I talk about this with marketing, you can’t amplify what’s broken. It’s the same for your team. It’s the same for the core components of your business. And I genuinely feel like we are going to get to 10 million with this team and we’re on our way there.
So I’m so excited because it’s just, growth is really exciting, but once you are past a million and past 3 million, you realize some stable growth is what you want, because the growth doesn’t matter if everything is stressful. I’m not saying there’s never going to be stress. Right now, I’m not stressed at all, but there will be, come a couple of months, there’ll be something new. There always is. That’s the reality of business. And you just have to, kind of like when you’re a mom and you’re like, “this is going to pass.” This phase, the sleep regression, whatever it is, you learn it will pass. It will be a couple of weeks, itt’ll be a month, whatever, it will pass. Same with business. You’re going to go through different phases. Some will be hard, some will be great. And that is the reality of entrepreneurship. But whenever we get to a challenging problem, I’ve created a team where they’re solving the problem and they are coming to me with solutions or we’re collaborating on solutions, and it just feels so amazing.
So I’m very, very excited about where we’re going. Very, beyond words, grateful for the people that I work with in my company. I have moments where I’m just like, I can’t even put it into words how rewarding it is to have a team like this. So if you are someone who’s trying to build a team and you’ve struggled, because there are so many struggles to building a team for sure. Hardest thing I do, second to being a mom, but it’s so worth it. It’s worth it to be able to create a container where you can have an impact that’s way bigger than you, way bigger than you could do by yourself, and it’s one of the most rewarding things I do. I love so much being able to watch my team and watch individual team members grow into leaders, and then support the company in growing and its impact. It’s amazing. It’s absolutely amazing.
So today’s episode is inspired from one of our recent Not For Lazy Marketer Workshops. I do half training and then I do half hot seats and Q and A at the end. I had so many questions around ad creative. How do I load new ad creative? How many things do I test? How many different versions of copy? Do I use videos? All of the questions like that. So I decided to do a podcast episode about all the do’s and don’ts of ad creative and what the best practices are in testing ad creative.
First of all, your ad creative is probably the most important thing you will do. We have recently in my company actually brought in-house copywriters and designers. We used to use contractors, but we have full-time employees, two copywriters, one full-time designer, because it is so important. And we’ve trained the copywriters to be able to look in Ads Manager at what creative is working so that they have that feedback loop with the ads managers, because it is so important. I cannot say it enough, if your ad copy does not connect with your audience, does not stand out, does not have that emotional component that’s going to get your audience to stop the scroll and pay attention, and it goes that extra layer deep, if your creative does not stop the scroll, it does not stand out. It looks like a templated image, it looks like a poor quality video, you don’t even have video, any of those things, your ad results will suffer and you are leaving money on the table by not improving your creative.
In my opinion, if you are not a copywriter, if you are not a designer, you should be outsourcing your creative in your funnels, in your marketing as soon as you can. Copy is not cheap. It’s one of my more expensive expenses too for our clients, but I know the agencies out there who require the client to provide the copy and I’m like, how can you do that? Because first, it takes so long. I don’t even write my own copy. I haven’t for years. I am great at this, at a podcast episode, at videos. I can do a webinar. I can create content, but I can not sit and write an ad copy version. It would take me two hours to write one version, and it would not be as good as what a copywriter could do. So it was one of the first things I started outsourcing in my business, and I think it should be something you outsource, unless you’re an expert at it. There’s some people who are great at it and are super creative at their writing or their images. And then that’s fine, but you’ve got to have next level copy and images to have successful ads. So that’s the first do. Make them great.
But also out of the questions I got, so here’s some standard best practices for ad creative. First of all, for the most part right now, currently we recommend using dynamic creative, which is where you’re selecting all your versions, you basically load your versions of body copy, of headlines, of images and videos, all in one ad. And then you’re telling Facebook to choose where to put the budget, and then Facebook will choose what ad is doing the best and put the budget towards that ad creative. So in general, our recommendation is to use that. We have found in the last pretty much year that dynamic creative does work better than you trying to kind of manipulate the testing yourself, which is how we used to do it. A couple of years ago, we taught what we called the sandbox process, which is how you’d test, at one time you test your images and you take those, test your headlines and you take those, test your body copy, and it was actually like way more work, but it doesn’t work as well anymore. So letting Facebook choose.
Then one of the common questions that came up on this training, when people said, “can you see how the creative did afterwards?” Yes, you can go in at the ad set level and you can look at the performance of your ad creative to see which one is getting more budget and which one is converting better. That will allow you to one, make future decisions if you make a new campaign and what creative you want to choose, but also as a whole for your account, does video do better? Does images do better? Do really bold headlines do better or not? Looking at kind of what is the general response is a good thing to do so that when you create new campaigns, new promotions, you’re able to really take that information and make the next one better. So dynamic creative is what we recommend.
Now, if you are able to run dynamic creative for two to four weeks, and you have some winning versions of creative, it’s not out of the question to take that into a campaign that’s not dynamic creative and use that for the reason of social proof. So the downside of dynamic creative that I hope Facebook changes someday, but because Facebook’s like in each ad set, choosing what budget to put the ads to, it’s a bunch of different ads, a bunch of different ad post IDs, basically. And that means if someone likes one or comments on one, it doesn’t show up on all the rest. Even if it’s the same versions of copy in different ad sets, it’s all different ads. That’s the downside of it because social proof is good for your ads.
So if you feel like you want to build social proof or test that with ads, we’ve seen sometimes in especially e-commerce ads, social proof is important. So what we’ll do is we’ll initially test with dynamic creative, then we’ll pull out the top converters and we’ll pull their post IDs because these will all show up as if you look at the posts on your page, their ad posts. You’ll have a bunch because there’s a bunch of them. You can pull that out and then you can actually create a new ad and say use existing post and put that ID in so that way the social proof builds up on an ad. We’ve done that and sometimes see good results with that, but as far as the initial testing, I would definitely use dynamic creative. Don’t try and manipulate the testing yourself. It’s better if you let Facebook do the testing. Sometimes we just always run dynamic creative, but we also sometimes test pulling the dynamic creative out and then putting it in a page post ID ad. Okay.
Now how many versions of copy and headlines? So general rule of thumb is two to three versions of copy and about three to five headlines. Now, if you have a way bigger budget, you’re going to want to increase that. And by bigger budget, I mean if you’re at more than $4,000, $5,000 a month in ad spend, you might want to have more versions of copy and headlines, but that’s plenty for even $4,000 to $5,000 a month and below budget. Two to three versions of copy, three to five headlines. And with the copy, I would definitely test a short length, a long length, very storytelling, very direct to the point. See which kind of angle does better. Each version of copy really should have a different hook, a different component that’s trying to capture your audience. That first line of copy in your body copy is critical. So be very direct, be very bold, make that stand out. Don’t be boring with that first line because that’s going to get someone to stop, as well as obviously the headline. So that’s really important.
And then videos, our standard is we’ll do two to three images and one video. I almost always have a video and recommend having a video. A lot of times we’re seeing it convert better. So use your phone, don’t overcomplicate it. Straight to camera, record a video. If you have products, videos are essential. When we have e-commerce clients, we require them to give us videos of their products because it impacts results so much. One of the reasons is so many people are not doing video, and so if you do video, you automatically stand out. Facebook also favors video. So I would definitely do one video if you can. You can do a Reel, an Instagram Reel. You just download it as a video and you can test that.
So when we do a promotion, like if I’m doing a webinar, or our podcast secrets series, or Not For Lazy Marketers, we will have two to three images, we’ll have a video that I shot with my phone, and a Reel that we created and we downloaded it as a video. We’ll test all of those in one campaign, usually the reel and the video do the best, but we still throw the images in there to test each time. Facebook generally puts more budget and converts better with the video and the Reel with the images. I like to do two to three and do about two that have headlines and one that has nothing, and just see if organic images do better. Sometimes they do. Sometimes they don’t. We usually test that out. In some accounts and sometimes we see great success with it. So again, it’s all about the testing and kind of giving Facebook a bunch of variations of different angles and seeing which one it likes the best.
With the images, okay, they need to look high quality. They need to stand out. If you are not a designer, do not make your images in Canva and try to run ads. It’s like, I’m sorry, it’s just not going to look good. You need to have images that stand out that are high quality that get people to stop. Images are one of the things that are going to get somebody to stop the feed, if not one of the most important things. So getting frequent, like if you are a brand influencer, if you are the face of your brand like I would consider myself, I get a new photo shoot every quarter so that I have new photos, because if I don’t, it just looks like I reuse photos. I mean, it’s actually a huge pain because it’s like five hours once a quarter, I do a photo shoot and I did not enjoy it. I’m not somebody who likes to get my hair and makeup done and take photos. It’s just not my thing, but it impacts a lot, our social media and our ads.
So we recommend our clients provide us with new assets, new image assets, about every about every six to 12 weeks if they’re getting us enough. If they’re only getting us a little bit, then it’s every four to six weeks. So I’d recommend making sure you consistently have a process for getting new brand images. If you’re the face of your brand, if you have a product, or you’re not the face of your brand, you still need to get new images obviously, and video, just around the product, around what the face of that brand is. So that’s the best practices for images. That’s an important piece. I would create a process around it in your business, if you can, for getting those new assets.
Then the other piece that came up a lot in my workshop of questions was, “when I go to test new creative, do I just throw it into the ad set? Do I create a new ad set, or do I create a new campaign?” In general, we recommend creating a new campaign. Because of CBO, because where, for the most part, you should be running a CBO campaign, which is campaign budget optimization and means Facebook is choosing where to put the budget in all of your ad sets. If you go in and put in a new ad set or put in a new ad set with new creative, you’re throwing the whole optimization off, and then it restarts it for two to three days while it re-optimizes. So generally, if we have a campaign that we need new creative, we will create a new campaign. You can pull the same audiences.
People asked on the training, “won’t that compete?” Not really, because you’re putting new creative and the audiences are big enough. I mean, unless you’re spending like $5,000 a day in that campaign and there’s only a few audiences, but you’re not going to compete with that size. So you take that into a new campaign. You can take the same audiences or the winning audiences and then that campaign, and then that campaign is like a theme. It has your new creative going to those same audiences. So for example, if we have an account where we have these audiences and then the creative’s running and we feel like we want to try new angles of creative, or we want to refresh it because it’s not quite hitting our goals, we’ll put a new campaign, label it that and kind of reset it.
Now here’s the one other point though, if you have something that’s working in a campaign with old creative, do not turn it off. Golden rule, never turn something off with your ads that is working. So I think sometimes people think, “well, if I’m going to launch new creative, then I have to turn off the old creative.” Yes, if it isn’t working. If it’s working, if it’s getting leads, or registrations, or purchases close to your goal, one and a half to two times your goal, even if it’s above two times your goal, turn it off. But if it’s within slight range and it’s actually starting to get momentum, do not turn it off. Launch your new campaign and you can pull the budget back or turn off some ad sets in that campaign if they’re not working, but launch your new campaign and keep the one that’s working on. But what will probably happen is the one that’s working a little bit, it will either optimize and start working better or the cost will continue to rise, and by launching a new campaign, then as that cost continues to rise when you do have to turn it on, you have your backup there, ready and already optimized.
People get in this game where it’s like they have a campaign and it’s working, but the cost starts to rise. Then they wait, they launch a new campaign and turn that one off, but then that new campaign has to optimize. So now you just went like three steps forward and two steps back. So by launching a new campaign to have in the background that you start optimizing and you get out there, then if your other campaign continues to rise in cost and saturate, when you turn it off, you’re not back to square one. You have already have this other campaign going and that’s how you get your increased results. Now, hopefully they’re converting and bringing in leads so you’re not overspending on budget, but you have to consider that with your daily budget.
But general rule of thumb is new creative goes in a new campaign, because if you throw it in an existing campaign, it resets the whole optimization of that existing campaign, and never turn off something that is working. So if you’re launching new creative, be proactive with it. We generally try to have new creative going before the campaign even saturates. It’s just something we’re constantly proactively doing. And as a rule of thumb, we probably, it depends on the budget, but we will refresh creative every two to four weeks for every account, for a very high spending account. So an account at $10,000 a month plus, it’s every week we’re usually refreshing creative. So that’s why I’m saying outsource it if you can, because that’s a lot to have to write new copy constantly. Our copywriters are one of my biggest expenses for our clients because we pump out so many versions of copy.
And it’s, like I said, the most important thing with your ads. So you’ve got to have it good quality. You have to have new, constant new creative, innovative angles, and ways of doing that. So super critical, and launch it in that new campaign anytime you have something new and be super proactive with it. Do not wait until something’s tanking and not converting to then start creating your new copy to then launch your new copy. It will be very hard. You’ll be stuck in this, like I said, three steps forward, two steps back constantly. It will be really hard to get any momentum. So those are my do’s and don’ts of the ad creative. Hope you guys got a lot out of this and take it into implement in testing your own ads.
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