Holiday Marketing

How to Optimize Your Black Friday Creatives to Maximize Sales

Dina Taitelbaum
Dina Taitelbaum
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With the holiday season coming closer, Black Friday campaigns are just around the corner. Many of you have already started your brand awareness ad campaigns to warm up your target audience towards the long-awaited offers and now is the time to plan your conversion campaign extra carefully. 

To help you boost your Black Friday sales, we’ve prepared a comprehensive cheat sheet for your ad creatives.

Did you know that 70% of ads success is driven by the creative? 

Not to worry! This year, you’re in good company with our friends at Pudding.ai – a real-time ads creative analysis solution. 

They’ve analyzed ad data from the past half a year of conversion campaigns leading to purchase. Let’s explore their top recommendations for ad creative strategies to maximize sales from Black Friday 2021 campaigns.

Top Black Friday Ad Creative Insights

In the first week of November, 9 top-advertising businesses were analyzed to gather the best and worst performing creative practices. These insights help us understand which creative elements help or hurt ad performance with a purchase KPI.

Images

Let’s start with image analysis. 

As you can see in the examples above, there are several design elements that impact image ad performance that should be considered in the upcoming holiday campaigns. To increase purchases, make sure to add your discounted offer within the creative. 

It’s very important to differentiate between top and bottom funnel campaigns, because the same advice does not apply to brand awareness. For conversion campaigns though, texts like “% off”, “up to % off”, “extra % off” and equivalent are showing increased performance by +13.5%. 

Interestingly, an element that proved to be the most effective is a crossed-out price. Showing off the original price crossed off next to your new price and thus visually showing off your offer increases ad performance by a whopping +48%.

Text positioning is also an important element to pay attention to when optimizing your ad creatives. Here, there’s a significant difference between centered and top positions. Placing your text on the top of your image can hurt your ad performance by as much as -56%. Alternatively, centering your text on image can boost conversions by +13.3%. 

A human presence, especially close-ups of a single person, are trending and increasing ad performance in general. However, images optimized for conversions are performing better without a single person. This means you should try showing off your product and maybe including a hand in the image, or multiple people. Single person decreases ad performance by -55%. 

Regarding image size, vertical images are not performing well at all (-50%) but that is likely due to the ad placement performance differences – story vs feed. Vertical images are just not going to cut it for you in stories, so make sure you differentiate your ad creatives and plan them by intended placement. This leads us to…

Video insights

Video ads are performing great for both story and feed ads. In fact, as much as 81% of marketing experts are posting videos in their marketing strategy. We can assume that Instagram reels and TikTok plays a role in the significance of video in today’s advertisements. 

Therefore, keeping up with video trends is crucial to maximizing your Black Friday sales. Analysis of ad creatives from the past 6 months suggests that static frames are decreasing purchase intent ads (-25.5%) while high-motion frames increase performance by +32%. “Static frames” means that a large percentage of the video is static, like an image with only a few elements that are moving. Just like vertical images aren’t performing well, static framed videos don’t either.

Similarly to your CTR (AKA early-funnel) campaigns, bright images are still working great (+27%) for conversion campaigns. Even though it’s Black Friday, find a way to create bright, light-colored videos!

Finally, the most consistent insight is a decrease in performance for videos that start with music (-52.2%). This trend has been evident since the beginning of 2020 but it isn’t spoken about much amongst marketers. Ever since the Super Bowl ads, the trend of starting with speech has outperformed music. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a song with your video – by all means, feel free to use TikTok’s best practices – but make sure the first 1.5 seconds of your video ad do not include music. 

The #1 mistake of carousel ads

Carousel ads are becoming more and more popular and not for no reason. According to Facebook, carousel ads drive 30-50% lower cost-per-conversion than single image ads. Retail advertisers are already taking advantage of carousel ads since 2015 so if you haven’t given it a shot, this holiday could be a great time to start saving CPC while maximizing your sales.

The insight that stands out most from carousel ad campaigns is the presence of text. Text on carousel ads is hurting the performance of your ads badly! 

Businesses that include text on carousel image or video, no matter where they place it (center, top, or corner) see a -82.8% decrease in performance. This statistic is so shocking that we decided to test the opposite situation, and saw that the absence of text on images indeed increased performance by +86%. Therefore, take this advice and absolutely avoid using text for your carousel ads. 

Ad copy

What constitutes winning ad copy? Only a highly organized split testing campaign will tell. There are, however, copywriting tactics that have been tested by advertisers over and over, and are shown to optimize ads and increase sales. Here are some insights: 

Discount offers vs urgency CTAs

Discount-related copy, such as percentages, words like “sale”, and similar CTAs are working well for conversion campaigns (+23.5%). Don’t be afraid to include your discount in your copy as well as in your images or videos but watch out for urgency-related FOMO language. 

This season, words like “sale extended”, “sale ends”, “today only” are decreasing ad performance by as much as -61%! That is a high impact insight to keep in mind for your Black Friday creatives. Use your language to increase purchase interest but don’t try too hard by making it seem like your customers don’t have anywhere else to go. They do and they will if you push too hard.

Another way to keep your audience engaged and to maximize those purchases is by implementing questions (?) and exclamation (!) marks. Yes! These are increasing ad creative performance by +33.4%. Ask your audience questions, keep them engaged, and they’ll respond with a purchase. 

Increase Your Ad Performance with Creative Analysis 

On the eve of 2022, businesses cannot afford to make creative mistakes when it comes to running successful ad campaigns. The impact creative plays on ad performance is more than any other element of your campaign. Therefore, businesses have to plan their digital marketing strategy with creative analysis at the top of the priority list. 

Split testing ads creative has long been regarded as the best way to analyze and optimize  campaigns, but running an accurate A/B test takes a lot of effort, time, and money. As a result, many creative tests don’t offer actionable insights due to their low testability score. To run a meaningful A/B test, each element of the creative needs to be tested because each element can impact the overall performance. Automating this process so marketers can make quick optimization decisions about their ads will be key to creative intelligence in the upcoming year. 

Dina Taitelbaum

Dina Taitelbaum

Dina is Head of Growth at Pudding.ai, helping marketers who run ads on Facebook, Instagram, Google, YouTube, and TikTok with their creative intelligence.