As data and numbers people, performance marketers are constantly looking for ways to optimise their campaigns. In all of our analyses, we sometimes overlook one critical way to improve campaign performance: the creative.

Based on a decade of performance marketing experience, here are some of the creative-driven tactics which have enabled me and my teams to improve campaign performance:

Better/different product images

How many times have you re-edited texts and changed font colour and size for an ad while using the same image that you’ve been using for the last 24 months? Just because that image outperformed others two years ago, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t refresh your product shot. Over time, images grow stale from overexposure and campaigns benefit from new and refreshed images. That’s why I recommend adding or refreshing product images regularly.

One image-related tactic which works well is adding seasonality to your product shots. Where relevant, include your product in holiday settings or winter or summer settings (though remember which hemisphere you’re targeting).

More creative

Beyond just changing your product images, I’ve seen better results by running performance marketing campaigns with different ad creatives. When you segment your marketing efforts to make each campaign more relevant, you’ll need different ad creatives to personalise the campaign for each segment. Recent research from Nielsen confirmed that ad creative is the most important advertising element with the greatest contribution to sales and more than double the second most important element, ad reach. Therefore, after spending resources to segment and target your campaigns, make sure you’re also using the best, most personalised creative for each segment.

More creative units and channels

Changing images to refresh a campaign is a great way to improve performance. As an effective best practice, add new creative units and channels. One channel which I recommend performance marketers consider is local marketing. From Local SEO to localised campaigns on social media, local channels are effective if you have an offline presence. This is also effective for products and services with specific locality demand.

Mobile video is a creative unit that is underutilised in performance marketing., 94% of marketers said the importance of mobile video has increased in the past few years, with 70% of marketers preferring mobile videos shorter than 15 seconds. With engagement migrating from desktop to mobile, actions which no one would have considered doing on a mobile phone a few years ago – like watching a movie – are happening with increased frequency on mobile phones. If you haven’t already, you should consider adding mobile video to your performance marketing mix.

Another channel that is becoming more important for performance marketers is retargeting. Retargeting enables performance marketers to re-engage with users who downloaded their app but didn’t proceed through the funnel OR have simply become dormant. Thanks to campaigns measuring incremental lift, retargeting technology can show exactly how profitable each retargeting campaign is, and by implementing retargeting as part of the user acquisition funnel, retargeting makes user acquisition more effective. 

Dynamic creative optimisation

A new technology which enables performance marketers, and particularly, retargeting, to be more successful is dynamic creative optimisation. Dynamic creative optimisation technology facilitates the creation of an ad in real-time based on multiple creative elements including headlines, images, ad copy, calls-to-action, based on the data received from the programmatic exchange. The dynamic ad will direct the user to the relevant place within the app based on that user’s intent in the funnel.

By offering users a relevant ad aligned with their intent, I’ve worked with a company called YouAppi and have generated much higher click to conversion rates while also improving Effective CPM.

Sometimes left-brain, analytical performance marketers overlook the creative side of the business, leaving it to their right-brain colleagues. Based on the results I’ve seen, both right and left brain performance marketers will benefit from the creative optimisation I’ve highlighted here.