How to Use Creative Brief Templates

to Scale Your Digital Ads

Let’s be real: creative briefs are a pain. They take too much time, too much back-and-forth, and it’s hit or miss whether the creative they inform comes out on target. When scaling ad production for paid social, the creative brief bottleneck scales, too.

If this is you, your creative brief template may not be asking the right questions. Or you may not be filling it with the right answers.

So what does a good creative brief template do?

  • Aligns everyone to the goal of the creative
  • Makes it easier and faster for creative team members to produce on-target work on the first try
  • Formalizes the process for requesting and approving creative
  • Keeps everyone from having to read everyone else’s mind

To produce a high volume of ads, your creative briefs and the processes around them must be on point. At Primer, we produce hundreds of creative assets per week, and our creative gets approved within 1.1 rounds of revision, on average.

Creative brief template header

Essential elements in a creative brief template

The goal of a creative brief is to translate an idea in your head into a form that your creative resources can use to bring that idea to life. A typical creative brief template should give them a starting point and a few bumpers within which to explore and innovate.

Here are a few common elements of creative briefs:

The ask

First and foremost, what is the thing that the brief is meant to produce? Your brief should convey the type of deliverable you need and what that deliverable should do, e.g., explain a concept, position a product as the right solution, instruct the reader in some type of tactical execution, etc.

The parameters

This could be anything from an outline to dimensions to mandatories like CTAs and logo placement. Essentially, anything that must be included in your creative.

The strategy

What action should the audience take after consuming the piece? Growth-driven creative should always be part of a broader journey and facilitate a purchase decision. That journey and conversion goal should be included in your brief.

The audience

Who’s consuming the deliverable? What do they know already and what do they need to know? You should also consider what brand interactions the audience has already experienced. You want to meet them where they are, but you don’t want to waste their time on something they already know.

The message and benefit

At the highest level, what is the core value proposition that the piece should promote? What buyer decision questions (BDQs) must the piece answer to spark a conversion? No deliverable can speak to everything and everybody. Your brief should convey what benefit gets priority.

The brand and voice

Any stylistic requirements dictated by brand and channel deserve a place on your brief. If you’re using ad templates and themes (as any growth marketer should be!), the brief should communicate that theme or inspo.

You may choose to break up, reorder, rephrase, or expand upon these points according to your needs, but generally, this is the information any team needs to execute on a creative asset.

Go ahead and steal our creative brief template >>

Make sure your Video Creative Brief ends with an action

Filling out the creative brief

Ok, maybe your creative brief accounts for all the factors listed above, but they still take too much time to develop and they still yield creative that falls flat.

Look beyond the brief and honestly assess the processes around them. When these processes are broken, these symptoms tend to show up and kill your vibe.

Creative brief template inline question



You don’t really know what you’re asking for, so your input on the creative brief is vague. Completing the brief is a box-checking measure.


You may not understand the strategy behind the creative, or worse — the strategy itself is half-baked or absent. In this scenario, the entire marketing motion is probably in disarray.


Work to understand what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, i.e., what part marketing is supposed to play in meeting business objectives. That may require asking big questions of leadership or if you’re an agency, the client.


The creative output doesn’t meet your needs or expectations, but it doesn’t directly violate the instructions in the brief.


The brief isn’t capturing what you expect from design. You’re likely giving too much or too little information. Alternatively, you may not be communicating as clearly as you think you are.


Try being as exact and prescriptive as possible in your creative brief, and see where that gets you. Don’t be afraid to ask your creative team what their experience is, or how you could better set them up for success.

Creative brief template target

creative brief template checklist


Creative output directly contradicts the conditions clearly indicated in the brief, so edits are heavy and time-consuming.


Creatives aren’t using the brief as a compass or rubric in generating their work. They may not understand the role briefs are supposed to play in the creative process.


Reinforce that creatives should be checking all of their work against the brief before submitting it to whatever editing or QA checks you have in your process.

You don’t need one

creative brief template

you need several

While brand-driven assets can take months of deep exploration and conceptualization, growth marketers have to move fast. To reliably stock your pipeline of ads, you need to be much more prescriptive to your designers and use creative brief templates to put them ahead of the starting line.

Instead of using one creative brief template for every ad, you should create a few different brief templates that reflect the various formats an ad could take.

Here’s how we break it down.

Big idea briefs

We use a big idea brief to test an entirely new concept, theme, audience, value proposition, product, or benefit. This brief introduces a new idea in a few different ways to see how it best resonates with the audience. Therefore, a big idea brief should give a lot of detail about that idea and why it’s valuable to the customer.

A big idea might be

  • Lower cost
  • Customized product offerings
  • Higher quality
  • Simplicity

From there, you can paint the picture of how your big idea benefits the customer in various ways — with gifs, lists, testimonials, UGC content, and other methods.

For example, we used big idea templates to help Farmstead, an online grocery platform, develop brand awareness and achieve unprecedented growth during the COVID-19 pandemic. One big idea we tested then was all about value.

One ad shows Farmstead in different contexts, like a busy family, a Super Bowl party, and a healthy eater. Another leaned into high-quality food photography to make the food feel delicious. Another centered on a checklist of benefits and utilized food as more of a design element. But all of them illustrate the value of a Farmstead membership.




creative brief templates big idea

farmstead creative brief template

Iteration briefs

An iteration brief takes a winning ad from the big idea ad set and creates several variations on that ad. Because you’re only changing one or two elements, iteration briefs tend to be simpler.

With this type of brief, we can test iterations of various elements of the ads.

  • CTAs
  • Headlines
  • Photos

For Farmstead, we took the big idea and ran tests on iterations of these elements.

Once we identified the highest-performing CTA, the highest-performing headline, and the highest-performing photo, we combined them into a powerful mega-ad.

The results were revolutionary for Farmstead. Not only did they lower CPA by 48%, but they also increased order volume from retargeting ads by 87%.

Ready-to-use creative brief templates

Even in formulating creative brief templates, starting from scratch is the enemy. Here are a few we regularly employ at Primer.




The “Vs.

the Alternative” brief

We love this template because it saves your audience the steps of researching and comparing you to the competition. It allows you to control the narrative while emphasizing the benefits that set you apart.

You can see how the template breaks down each segment of the video to show exactly what it should do.

Vs ad creative brief template



The “Buyer Decision

Question (BDQ)” brief

When pulled off perfectly, this creative brief template makes it seem like your ad is reading the prospect’s mind. It answers the questions they undoubtedly have, which keeps them hooked.

By the time they get to the end, you’ve spoken to all of the prospect’s doubts and objections. They should be ready to take the next step!

BDQ creative brief template

To continue building out your array of creative brief templates, keep your eye on the social media platforms you plan to advertise on and pay attention to popular formats and trends. You should always be borrowing from what works and imagining how your brand could play within the latest viral post type. For growth marketing, your ads can benefit from being organic to the platform your prospects see them in. That means using the native formats, fonts, sounds, and best practices of that platform in your ads.

If this sounds like this approach makes creative briefs even more work, you’re right. However:

  • More definition and intention on the front end of ad creation drastically smooths out the rest of the ad’s production lifecycle. You’ll be amazed at how fast ads get approved.
  • You’re probably so in the weeds with your current process that you can’t even see how much time and effort it takes to get an ad across the finish line.
    The best part is this creative brief template process gets better the more you use it. When you have a tested formula and a tested template, you can work within that structure to flex your creative muscles, try new and unique formats, and raise the standard quality of your ads over time.

Turning on the creative faucet:

How volume leads to quality

We’ve all seen the clip of the Beatles’ Paul McCartney pulling the hit “Get Back” out of the ether, or we’ve watched the perfect tagline dawn on Mad Men’s Don Draper mid-pitch.

But you can’t scale creative if you rely on getting struck by lightning.

Great creative doesn’t come from getting it right the first time, or from an unpredictable spurt of creative genius. For every great idea you see, there are a dozen others left on the cutting room floor. Without the losers, you can’t know that a winner is a winner. There is no diamond without the rough.

Each quarter, we test about 30-75 visuals and 30-50 copy variations for each of our partners. That takes a lot of ideas to sustain, and many get left behind. That’s not a bug. It’s a feature of our battle-tested Outlier Method.


The Outlier Method of ad testing

Hypergrowth requires rapid-fire testing. The Outlier Method thrives on a high volume of creating and assertive decision-making to marshall the maximum amount of budget behind the highest-performing assets.

The two-week process of the Outlier Method is simple.

  • During the first week, you’ll launch an ad set of 10-50 ads promoting a new big idea. Within three days, you’ll pause all but the highest-performing 25% of your ads. Then, you’ll create a campaign consisting exclusively of those proven top performers.
  • In the second week, you’ll follow the same process, but the ads will be iterations of the winners from week 1 — varying headlines, images, CTAs, and so forth. Within a few days, you’ll be able to identify the winningest elements, and you can use these winning elements to create even higher-performing ads.

The Outlier Method isn’t for the faint of heart, and it requires a ton of creative, but it’s the best way to maximize ROI on your ad spend. Don’t be intimidated! If you can assemble a kit of reliable creative brief templates, the battle will be half-won. At that point, it can be as easy as fill-in-the-blank.

Check out our guide to switching on your inner creative faucet >>

Success story


Rocksbox is a longtime Primer client, and we’ve helped them succeed in paid social through UGC content on Facebook and Instagram. But when they set out to tackle TikTok in 2021, the same ads fizzled.

At the time, TikTok was uncharted territory for most marketers. There wasn’t much conventional wisdom around what worked and what didn’t. Rocksbox took the challenge as an opportunity to draw their own map. They committed to a high volume of testing and found that winning ads used copy, sounds, music, and other elements that resembled the native, organic feel of the platform.

This was a breakthrough for both Rocksbox and Primer. With our creative brief templates in place, we were able to focus our energy on developing creative that leaned into pop culture references, trending music, and quiz-style formats to make the ads feel more authentic and native.

Rocksbox’s top-performing ads regularly made TikTok’s list of top ads, and they unlocked an entirely new growth channel for Rocksbox.

  • 614% increase in conversion rate
  • 73% lower cost per acquisition
  • 1,035% purchase increase

See the full Rocksbox case study here >>

Today, Rocksbox is still killing it on paid social, and Primer is still creating fresh content that wins.

Why scale alone?

The hardest part of ad testing is to keep doing it month after month. Even your most stellar ads have a short shelf life. Within a week or two, they’ll lose their mojo due to audience saturation and creative fatigue. You need a consistent pipeline of superstar ads, which requires more testing and more iterations.

Your goals are big, and the pressure is on, but we’re here to help you thrive. Our resources, case studies, and teardowns can show you how other organizations are winning paid social with ad testing.

Or you can work directly with us! We have the growth experience and processes to onboard you smoothly and get results right off the bat. Our creative team lives in the channels you deploy ads within, and they have their finger on the pulse of the next latest trends.

As an agency partner, we’ll become part of your team to oversee your entire marketing effort.

Our leadership team will work with you at the strategic level to establish how ad campaigns can help accomplish your broader business goals. We’ll also fully handle creative production.

See the team members you get when you hire Primer >>

As an On-Demand customer, you’ll gain access to our roster of creative experts.

They’ll help you produce the high-quality creative you need to fuel your campaigns. These top-notch designers, video editors, and project managers will work to keep you on track toward your goals.

See the team members you get with Primer On-Demand >>

If you’re ready to take your growth marketing to the next level, we want to hear from you. All you need to do is schedule a call with our team.





ad templates header