What we have learned from testing the winning adverts of the 2016 Facebook  Awards.   

Digital advertising is the wild west of marketing. With so much creative being produced for dozens of channels, brands are airing digital advertising without any pre-testing. Gauging success of the ad is mostly done on the fly and in isolation, through live engagement metrics. But at that point, money has been spent, and at worst the ad could be having negative impact for the brand. However, with the right platform it is possible to farm key insights, learnings and guardrails for your digital creative, through batch testing.


The Challenge – Testing some of  the best Facebook Ads

To illustrate what can be achieved through digital ad testing, together with our partner Kantar Millward Brown, we tested the winning adverts of the 2016 Facebook best digital advertising awards on Zappi.Pro with the LinkNow for Digital tool. Providing the outputs to some of the analysts at Kantar Millward Brown we asked them to explore the findings and look at what key learnings brands can access by batch testing and being able to review meta-analysis at a touch of a button. The competition was judged by experts Jackie Wallace on the Creative Development team at Kantar Millward Brown, Mitzi Lorentzen VP Client Solutions and Innovation at Millward Brown, and our very own Joseph Chen VP/Country Manager Canada. This is the ZappiStore Kantar Millward Brown Digital Insights Challenge!

The team at Kantar Millward Brown and Zappi had a raft of submissions that really demonstrated how rich the insights farmed from a set of standardised ad analysis can be. Submissions ranged from key learnings on the role of voiceovers, how batch testing can provide important guardrails for brand marketers when putting together ad creative, and the power of storytelling in digital creative.

Who brought it home & why?

The winner was Chase Bender, chosen by the panel of judges of  Kantar Millward Brown and ZappiStore. In the words of  Jackie Wallace on the Creative Development Program team at Kantar Millward Brown:

Chase won because he provided a visual and easy to digest summary of an issue with client’s branding performance in a third of the digital content. He then utilized specific learning from the well branded ads on how to optimize future digital creative to better link to the brand

What did we learn?

Through the automated analysis Chase managed to glean key data points that would be vital to any brand creating digital ad creative:

  • 30% of advertising tested was significantly underperforming on branding, a critical component to break through in market. And this poor performance is a creative issue, not a category issue, as underperformers were present across multiple categories.
  • 10% of low branding ads made it to the top 30% of either brand or involvement – soft branding has a tangible impact on ad response
  • 60% of top branded ads were top 10 on enjoyment or involvement – strong creative pays dividends across measures.

This led to three key learnings based on analysis from the LinkNow for Digital automated tool on ZappiStore:

  1. Keep the brand essential to the story. In each of the well branded ads, brand assets were clear from the outset.
  2. Keep the story simple and engaging. None of the well branded ads had a later reveal, backward format or complex storytelling.
  3. There are many paths to good branding in a digital ad; nostalgia, celebrity, visual cues, product shots, music, and humor. But understanding which resonates better with your brand is vital.  

The best should not rest, and you?

The Digital Insights Challenge shows that even ads that get a lot of attention in the marketplace  aren’t perfect, in fact some of them need a lot of work in order to optimize their potential ROI. Almost all the ads tested had room for improvement, and it’s only natural for you to be wondering whether your ads would perform under the same digital testing. By using an automated platform, you can inexpensivly test in a matter of moments, but over time you create your own benchmarks and guardrails so as a brand you can continually learn and develop better ads over time. When it’s that easy and quick wouldn’t you love to explore what your digital ads are saying about your brand?  

As Kantar’s Jackie Wallace says,

It is important for brands understand the performance of digital creative prior to ad deployment because you may actually be damaging your brand and hampering your ROI.  Poor digital creative can make people less favorable towards a brand and confuse them about the brand’s meaning.

If you want to learn more on how pre-testing digital creative in hours  can move your brand forward, get in touch.

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Emily Weinstein

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Emily Weinstein

VP Strategic Partnerships, ZappiStore

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