Yesterday’s “hacks” to account performance are long gone. The days of narrowly targeting interest-based audiences or fine tuning your ad budgets have been replaced by the digital ad platform’s algorithms. In Facebook’s and TikTok’s attempts to level the playing field for advertisers, they have essentially removed the ability to fine-tune your ad account to optimal performance. Today, the greatest lever that is available to growth marketers is ad creative. With high-volume creative testing, you are able to find new levels of efficiency and growth.
At Primer, we use a creative testing process called The Outlier Method. Our goal is to find the ads, audiences, and landing pages that rise to the top above all the others and focus on scaling those wins to create a healthier, stronger account. In this method, great ad ops can only take accounts so far. To get ads over the finish line and into the “win” zone, high-volume creative testing is key.
The Magic of High-Volume Creative Testing
There is only so much account management and restructuring you can do to optimize an account—especially as Meta, TikTok, and Google take more control out of the hands of the marketer and deliver it unto the almighty algorithm. Gone are the days of being able to slap together a few rushed ideas, make a couple of tweaks in platform, et voila… your campaigns are humming along with a positive ROI.
If only it were still so simple.
The digital landscape is now more crowded than ever, and costs are constantly rising. In order to be successful, you’ll have to stand out from the crowd—and to do that, you need creative that connects with your audience and gets potential customers to convert.
This is why high-volume creative testing (i.e., launching many ads with new creative against your go-to top performers) is such a crucial part of a successful paid media strategy.
The Case of 2 Accounts
Below we’re going to lay out two types of accounts. One doesn’t test new creative regularly and the other does. Can you guess which one is healthy and hitting goals? Let’s find out.
Prioritizes “Scrambling” and “Account Optimizations”
- Priorities always given to daily and deep-dive account management
- Creative briefs are always rushed. Copy no one would ever say out loud BDQs aren’t answered in videos or LPs. Turned in late or over the weekend.
- Constantly wasting time on extra meetings and comms with the partner b/c the account hasn’t improved in since the start
- Just treading water 🦆
- Prioritizes the creative brief and creative reviews
- Learns from each creative test
- Invests now for a payoff in 2-3 weeks.
As we can see from above, the account that is regularly testing new creative, learning from those tests, and then continually building on the learnings will eventually reach its aggressive CPA goals. Whereas the account that relies purely on ad optimization is “treading water” and will have a hard time unlocking new wins to hit its goals.
At the end of the day, garbage in equals garbage out.
How it Works: Otter.ai Case Study
Let’s take a look at how this works—with a real example from one of our successful partners.
Otter.ai is an automated note-taking app that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to help users boost productivity in meetings, lectures, dictation, and more.
Otter.ai came to Primer with the goal of growing their customer base and scaling ad spend while improving their cost per acquisition. By implementing an aggressive creative testing strategy, we were able to scale purchase volume by 60% while decreasing CPA by 13% over a 3 month period.
Otter.ai’s previous creative strategy used language and visuals common in the tech world. They were blending in where they needed to stand out. By testing large amounts of copy, visuals, and landing pages, we pushed creative boundaries to the edges of their brand guides to find new scroll-stopping ways of appealing to the customer.
We aggressively tested creative at high volumes and found outliers that resonated with the audience, including retro imaging, videos showcasing the software, and testimonial copy. After finding these outliers, we quickly scaled various combinations of winners to build a large stable of ads that could maintain a strong CAC while actively scaling spend.
The Thought Process
Like most data-driven ventures, we began with the tenets of the scientific method: We started with an educated hypothesis, then took what we learned from that test and built upon it — then repeated A LOT ‘til the cows came home.
Here are some of the insights we discovered in our tests and how we scaled them to hit Otter’s goals:
Since we believed the isometric images so similar to other tech companies that were previously used in the account were blending into viewers’ feeds, we tried a new pop-art/retro style paired with copy we had previously seen perform well. This resulted in 3 quick wins. Based on these wins, we tried a similar art style with animals in an office environment and got even more wins. After that, we routinely included pop-art-style graphics into every creative brief and new test, looking to keep up performance momentum, even as we tried out new copy concepts.
In our pop-art image test, we noticed that of the 10 images in the creative sprint, the 3 winners all had a blue background. This led us to keep increasing the amount of images that had blue backgrounds every sprint. After doing so for a while, we deduced that blue outperformed all other colors and used it for the majority of ads.
Copy focused on “manual notes” and associated pain points had always worked well in the account, so we tested copy that was the inverse—what did Otter offer in relation to manual notes? Tapping into BDQs led us to unlock new key phrases like “boosting productivity” and “time-saving automated notes,” which consistently performed well—both in headlines and various body copy.
Quiz Landing Page
We communicated to the partner that we had seen a lot of success with quiz-style landing pages in other accounts. We built a new quiz page around the new imagery and messaging we had seen working in the ads. This landing page led to a 65% increase in conversion rate. (You can find more examples of Primer’s top performing landing pages here.)
Using all our learnings from top of funnel (TOF) prospecting advertising, we rebuilt Otter’s retargeting campaign with the addition of middle of funnel (MOF) messaging. This unlocked massive gains, reducing retargeting CPA by 43%.
Better Creative Testing for ANY Vertical
If you’re looking to make great improvements to your marketing campaigns, aggressive creative testing is one of the best ways to do that. Taking the time to optimize which imagery and messaging attracts your target customer will help drive purchase volume, lower acquisition costs, and scale your paid media in ways that would be nearly impossible to achieve otherwise.
If you’re looking for a guide on your paid media journey, consider our full-service marketing strategy, creative development, and account management solutions.
Find out how you can start hitting goals with our high-volume strategy in a growth consultation.