The Importance (and Struggle) of Keeping Your Ad Creative Fresh

How often should you be refreshing your digital creatives?

The answer is constantly.

Ad fatigue is a real thing. If we as digital marketers feel a pang of annoyance when we see the same branded advertisement for months on end, think of how consumers feel.  People quickly reach a point where the more often you see an ad, the less likely you are to actually observe what’s being displayed. This is a psychological concept called inattentional blindness. By definition, it is the failure to notice a fully-visible, but unexpected object. For example, when you are scrolling through Facebook, you are expecting to see pictures of friends and family and you likely don’t even take notice of the brand-created ads that are located in that same feed.

In the case of digital advertising, no matter how common it is for an ad to appear in your social feed, mobile app or eCommerce site, it still feels foreign. Therefore, consumers in most cases are looking past your branded ad. They could even begin to have negative associations with your brand due to feeling invaded by your messages during a time where they are looking for something more personal – like dog photos from friends.

The Importance of Keeping it Fresh

Fresh creative isn’t just something that’s a nice to have, it’s a need to have. Most credible sources recommend that you refresh your creatives every 4-6 weeks. However, if you’re advertising on Facebook (and if you’re not, why not?!) you need to change your creative weekly, that’s right WEEKLY. If your creatives are not regularly refreshed, Facebook will stop displaying your ads to your target audiences altogether. Facebook has openly acknowledged that this is how they handle creatives:

Ads that are shown around 3 times or more tend to decline in performance, even if they were initially very successful. We recommend creating a new ad with a new image or text about once a week. Make sure to stop your previous ad before running the new one so that they don’t compete with each other.

The Digital Creatives Dilemma

Whether you have in-house creative geniuses or use an external agency, design takes time. The amount of back and forth it usually takes to get your vision right in a simple social or display ad could be the same amount of time it takes for you to be completely over the brilliant ad concept you had in your kick-off meeting three weeks ago. Not to mention the financial costs associated with rounds of edits, especially when using an agency that was likely expensive enough to begin with. Any kind of significant creative changes can quickly put you well over your intended budget for something that will be stale by the end of the week.

Imagine being able to avoid the lengthy process of creating a brief, outlining the specifics of what you need and the seemingly endless back and forth of design iterations. Think of all the time you would have to focus on the thousands of other things you need to get done during your workday. What if you could have access to tons of constantly fresh, high quality content that consumers actively seek out and want to engage with? What if I told you this marketing utopia does exist…and all the content is free.

Mining An Underutilized Source of Credible Creatives

Real people create billions of social posts everyday. Utilizing all of that great, authentic user-generated content (UGC) – social posts, tweets, photos, videos, etc. – can help give your audiences the relevant experiences they crave and that your brand will never be able to manufacture. This content can help fuel your multi-channel marketing strategy and give you the ability to easily refresh your messaging while reducing the risk of audience fatigue.

The return on investment when incorporating UGC into your marketing strategy is undeniable. Remember that little #ShotoniPhone campaign that Apple ran, and then re-ran multiple times? Apple challenged customers to take amazing photos using their iPhones and submit them for the company’s ad campaign. It generated over 700,000 pieces of content on Instagram alone. Creating that competition has given Apple the ability to post over 13,000 new ads on Facebook every week! Talk about never boring your target audiences. They avoided costs on photographers, models, travel and setup by using the great photos that were being handed to them for free by their loyal brand advocates.

We aren’t all Apple in this world, and we have to accept that, but they are far from the only example of companies leveraging UGC to save money, drive engagement and keep their content fresh.

Hamilton Island is a luxury destination spot off of the Great Barrier Reef. They have an amazing property and surrounding natural marvels to show off, so instead of commissioning expensive photography, they chose to use the real photos their guests were already freely posting on social media. By featuring authentic and beautiful guest photos throughout their Facebook ads, their click through rates improved significantly and their cost per click actually went down – which just goes to show that the more relevant your ads are, the greater your return on investment.

Hamilton Island Facebook Ad

Stop blowing your budget and wasting your precious resources and time on ads that you’ll need to refresh within a week. Start giving your audiences what they want: authentic, engaging content created by real people like them.

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