1+1=3: how top creative amplifies your paid social ad performance

Over the past two years, Nest has evolved from a performance ads business into a paid social ads creative business. We have built a combined creative and advertising strategy that produces best-in-class results that are highly suited to current trends and macros.

Why creative, why now

Three years ago, the approach that produced the best results followed traditional marketing practices – advertisers manually segmented their audience and then ran experiments to find out which creative worked best in each one – that was the secret sauce. Since then, Meta has evolved its algorithm to make these decisions for you while iOS 14 removed tonnes of data, making the audience segmentation approach redundant.

In this same period, TikTok entered the scene and disrupted audience behaviour. For both Meta and TikTok, creative is the strongest lever to drive performance. Building a solution that takes advantage of this is fundamental to 2023 marketing success.

Two birds one stone

Ecommerce marketers find themselves in a double bind. Media has never been more expensive. The pressure on efficiency because of the macros is high. It’s never been more important to look for ways to optimise that enable you to buy new customers in a more efficient manner. Getting creative right drops your cost of media and increases your conversion rate – which makes it the perfect level to pull in this current environment.

Hurdles to creative success

Even with the right creative mindset and strategy in place, there are some significant challenges brands face in delivering great creative performance.

1. Resources

Many brands try to accomplish the above with a constrained, non-specialist creative team. The result is limitations on creative volume and expertise which in turn places a ceiling on performance improvement.

2. Expertise

In-house teams may not have experience producing paid-social-first creative. Often the designer creating their ads is a generalist who is splitting their focus between many different areas and paid social isn’t a top priority.

3. Access to the latest trends

Most ecommerce advertisers don’t have access to a bank of learnings from brands that look like them, which essentially acts as a springboard for improving performance. 

Meet Nest Studio

In response to the increasing importance of creative, we have built a creative team that runs paid social creative for our clients, as a standalone service as well as in combination with campaign management. Nest Studio turns client assets into paid-social-first creative, and manages full-scale production with talent included.

We drive the strategy, ideation and experimentation with performance at its heart – and everything we produce is native to Meta and TikTok. Our team is led by Ben Ryder, our Head of Creative with an impressive background in lululemon and the film industry.

A virtuous cycle

There are three core pillars to our creative approach:

1. Trend-led

2. Frequency meets demand

3. Testing and iteration

We leverage real-time insights into what’s working from our base of 40+ mid-large ecommerce advertisers, we unlock the required volume to tackle ad fatigue, and everything we create is aligned with a structured testing roadmap. Once our tests tell us what works, the iteration engine gets fueled which drives incremental performance.

It’s a virtuous cycle – ads drive creative, creative drives ads.

The pay-off

The data speaks for itself when it comes to paid-social-first creative.

Nest Studio creative for our production and media clients delivered a 38% higher ROAS, 17% higher CVR and 10% higher engagement when compared to the brand’s own creative. Meta’s algorithm prioritises great creative, and as a result, Nest Studio also drives a lower cost for our clients – and delivered a 36% lower CPA and 9% lower CPM.

In essence, great creative drives down your cost of media and drives up your conversion rate. At scale, it quickly pays for itself and drives higher ROAS.

Meanwhile, every impression that doesn’t convert is a potential future customer who has seen your ad. In other words, your performance campaigns are very important for brand impact. The better the brand impact of your creative, the more likely these customers are to convert down the line.

Four key elements of any creative strategy

1. You need a clear strategy

What are your commercial and brand objectives? How will your creative strategy align with those? What key USPs do you want to get across?

2. You need a testing roadmap

How else can you learn what works? With a structured testing framework, you can build hypotheses, run tests, and build a bank of insights that you can leverage to drive iteration. Our advice: keep it simple and ask one question at a time – testing lots of variables at once won’t give you reliable answers.

3. You need a continuously topped-up creative pipeline

To tackle ad saturation and fatigue, you need a continuous source of content in multiple formats (static, video, 1:1, 9:16, 4:5) and styles (e.g. lo-fi, polished). Ideally, you will have purpose-built this content for the channel it’s intended for. The goal is to appear platform-native.

4. Your performance and creative teams need to speak to each other

What often happens with in-house creative teams, is that they are limited on time and capacity, and can’t consistently deliver the volume of ads required for paid social. When this happens, how is this communicated with performance teams? How do you plan to fill the gap?

To make things harder, when these teams don’t work together closely, what does get delivered may also not be 1) paid-social-first or 2) guided by what drives performance. Fostering close collaboration solves this.

Need help with any of these challenges – or want to discuss paid social ads with one of our creative experts? Get in touch here.

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