The future of digital advertising is Creative Automation

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Tackling the holiday rush with Creative Automation [Five approaches to maximize your holiday ad campaigns]

With a significantly higher ad volume for your marketing and design teams, managing the holiday rush can be overwhelming. Our article aims to help you stay on top of your marketing campaigns without sacrificing quality and increasing your overhead.

Whether you are a digital creative lead or a global marketing manager, the holiday season always comes with its challenges. With an increase in demand, it’s easy to fall behind and not make the most of your ad campaigns.

Everyone is doing their holiday shopping. Everyone is looking for that perfect gift. Everyone is waiting for good deals. By scaling up your ad campaigns and making the most of your creatives, you can maximize your business during the holiday rush.

What does this year’s holiday season look like?

While some shoppers have decided to return to physical stores, online shopping and e-commerce businesses are more popular than ever. According to this study, online sales are predicted to reach $207B in the United States alone, around $910B globally.  By preparing dynamic ad campaigns, you can adapt to the various channels customers will use to make purchases this holiday season and maximize the effectiveness of your creatives.

Holiday spend by year with average Forecast. Online sales are predicted to reach $207B in the U.S. in 2021.

While the holiday season certainly includes holidays like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas, research shows that shoppers also notice brands that celebrate more niche holidays. Whether it’s Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, or Festivus, broadening your target audience and creating a personal connection through these niche holidays is the way to go. 

It’s clear that holiday shoppers aren’t going to slow down, and neither should you. But increasing your overhead and risking burnout by trying to catch up with yourself throughout the season isn’t the answer. There are ways in which you can increase ad volume without sacrificing the quality of your creatives and increasing overhead. 

Five ways to holiday-proof your campaigns through Creative Automation

Here are five ways in which Creative Automation can help you stay focused and thrive throughout the holiday season:

  1. Leverage the power of premium creatives 
  2. Create meaningful connections with your audience through personalization
  3. Run A/B and multivariate testing
  4. Promote seasonal products
  5. Scale up and adapt your creatives fast

Using the following approaches, marketers can better position themselves and their brands to navigate through yet another uncertain holiday season. 

1. Leverage the power of premium creatives

Creativity is inherently human, but cannot be relied on entirely for large-scale ad campaigns. It’s possible to stretch yourself too thin over the festive season by having to complete the repetitive tasks of creating variations for your creative assets

Instead, you can spend your time more efficiently by focusing your energy on one master template which you can then spin into multiple variations.

“The creative is king to ultimately stand out, bring the message across, and connect with the consumer.”

John van Pijkeren, Product Manager at Nike (ex-Marketing Technology Lead at Heineken)

Marketers are more and more aware of the pitfalls of aggressive retargeting campaigns. Running a successful holiday marketing campaign is about having an empathetic approach and understanding the specific group of people that make up your target audience. 

In this case, personalized videos and dynamic banners make a difference to your audience. They help you avoid ad fatigue, and by harnessing the power of your master creative assets, you can also drive your audience to perform a specific action. For example, including the right product above a specific Call to Action (CTA) can make all the difference. 

Even with enough time to prepare, and with your energy and time refocused towards creating your master creative template, things can still catch up to you. One way to help you through these times is to look into your archives and see what you or your team have prepared for previous holiday ad campaigns. 

With the pandemic still raging on, this year’s holiday messaging will probably have similarities to last year’s. This way, recycling and repurposing materials is easier. Re-using or making iterations of your past creative assets from your previous campaigns can make your current one successful. 

Take note of what has worked before and what needs changing or updating. Making aspects of your creatives dynamic (interchangeable overlays, products, etc) can help you use the best parts of your old campaigns in your new one. 

By reusing your best-performing creatives, your brand can harness maximum flexibility and avoid one-size-fits-all marketing campaigns.

2. Create meaningful connections with your audience through personalization

Reaching customers at the right place and at the right time is essential for the success of your holiday campaigns. Creating personalized, data-driven videos to engage with your audience can help you increase the performance of paid ad campaigns. 

By producing creatives that have dynamic components like text, audio, images, languages, you can ensure that they can be personalized to the maximum effect, creating a successful marketing campaign for the right audience.

This is what the founder of Joinative shared on successful ad campaigns:

“A successful campaign is a blend of an appealing idea, a good placement, and creatives that represent the message in a way that makes the right user want to click.”

Jonas Olausson, Founder at Joinative

There are two ways in which you can segment your audience and implement personalization to your ad campaigns:
1. Geolocation 
2. Localization

Geolocation

By identifying the geographic location of a user or member of your target audience, you can make sure that they see the ads that fit their needs and context more accurately.

For example, the global brand Heineken decided to roll out ads in the United States that offer the user a free beer at their local bar. This is an excellent way of connecting to customers as it is in line with the current branding of Heineken, which is focused on the community that surrounds the product.  

(Source: Heineken)

Localization

You can go beyond using geolocation and also implement some localization processes in your ad campaigns. Why just rely on the location of your target audience when you can create an even more personalized experience? 

It’s critically important to focus on unique selling points that resonate with specific, local audiences. 

For example, you can create ads in multiple languages for the specific markets you are targeting. In addition, you can also adjust other dynamic aspects of your creative ads 

With Creative Automation, you now can automatically create different versions of your ad. 

Two brilliant examples of localization from two global brands, Coca-Cola and Heineken, showcase how they use the momentum behind local events to promote their products and create a personalized experience for their customers. This way, these brands can make the flag or the team logo on the bottles dynamic and change them depending on the market they are targeting. 

Coca Cola advertisement, featuring logos of local US teams. Heineken advertisement, featuring flags of European countries during EURO2020.
Coca-Cola ad featuring the logos of local US teams.  Heineken ad featuring world flags. 

3. Run A/B and multivariate tests

To maximize your engagement with your audience and achieve high click-through rates, make sure to test your campaigns via A/B or multivariate testing. 

Ask yourself the question: What elements of my creatives work the best? 

It’s important to play to your strengths as an advertiser. Think of it this way. As a marketer, you might find hiking to be the best way to clear your head and get some inspiration. But your colleague might actually think the opposite. The same goes for advertising. One-size-fits-all is no longer acceptable as a form of strategy. This is why you need to invest some of your energy into testing and tracking performance.

Creative Automation can help you spend less time on creating digital ads and help you find the versions of your creatives that work the best for you. Testing ensures that your business will have the right creative and messaging for your specific target audience. 

Make sure you test at a small scale, limiting your concepts or iteration to between three and five. By doing market research and knowing your audience, you can create relevant creatives for testing. 

“Storyteq is ideal for us to do A/B testing. We can change a lot of dynamic elements in the templates and experiment with what works best for our target audiences such as copy, color usage, models etc. Using the platform makes this very cost-efficient because we can easily create these banners ourselves.”

Marc Poelsma, Customer Journey Expert Online Marketing at Allianz

Here is a simplified visual of what it might look like to create a dynamic personalized ad in our Creative Automation platform. 

4. Promote seasonal products

The holiday season encompasses multiple holidays, all of which require a different holiday marketing strategy. For example, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are usually focused on electronics, but Christmas is usually more about seasonal, event-specific products. 

By doing A/B or multivariate testing, you can find out what products to promote best, for each season. By making several elements of your creatives dynamic, you are no longer limited to promoting one product to your target audience. Instead, you can easily switch between the right product for the right segment of your audience in the right season.

The application of this approach becomes evident when we talk about seasonal products. 

Nevertheless, seasonal content can help you fight ad fatigue and drive up your engagement. By understanding the expectations of your audience, you can aim to deliver creatives that meet those expectations.  

By featuring seasonal products in your holiday marketing campaigns, you can avoid static creatives and increase click-through-rates to your sites. For example, research has shown that a seasonal New Year’s ad had a Click Through Rate (CTR) of 1.10% compared to a non-seasonal ad with 0.62%. 

5. Scale up and adapt your creatives fast

Creative Automation lets you focus on the things that matter. By reducing the tedious work of creating creative iterations manually, you can focus and re-center your energy towards brainpower, testing, scalability, and most importantly, creativity. 

This makes scaling your marketing campaigns during the already stressful holiday season easy. You can relieve the pressure from your design teams and make sure that you have met the increased demand without increasing work hours or overhead. 

Using a Creative Automation platform like Storyteq can help you meet the needs of your creative and marketing teams in-house, or support the creative teams you outsource to. By cutting down on cost and time spent on tedious tasks, you can streamline your workflows and ultimately achieve a faster go-to-market strategy. 

With our Creative Automation technology, you can create ads at scale while maintaining brand consistency across platforms and reducing risk.

Through creative automation, companies are 4x more likely to see improvements in their asset post-production process. Download the guide.

Takeaway

As a marketer, your goal is to create a cohesive brand image that brings together design, creativity, and data. When you are faced with the holiday rush, it can become overwhelming to stay consistent and creative resulting in undesirable quality trade-offs that end diluting your brand.

The solutions we have outlined in this article can help you overcome the challenge of the holidays and make you stay on track to maintain a consistent brand image so you can create any kind of promotion, across any channel, for multiple products in multiple markets during any season. 

If you want to hear more from us about how Storyteq can help you create, scale and deliver multiple creative assets in minutes, book a demo or connect with us through our LinkedIn page.

Johanna Kaszti
Content Intern at Storyteq
As a content intern, Johanna works alongside our marketing team to write stories for our various platforms. Outside of work, she is passionate about the outdoors and animals.

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