We're (too) often told that making creatives for our ads is expensive and that we don't have the budget to do more or better.
So we thought it deserved a post to give you some ideas on how to make (very) good creative that performs (very) well in social ads or Google ads on a (very) low budget.
What makes a creative perform in ads or not?
Let's start at the beginning: what makes the difference between a hit creative and one that goes unnoticed?
There are several key ingredients:
- The visual hook: it must be immediate and striking. We only have a few seconds to capture attention (2 or 3 seconds on average). So your creative has to stand out in those first few seconds, and not be too complicated for the brain to analyze. So, avoid the intro with your logo for 2 seconds followed by a 1 second fade, which immediately cuts off any possibility of grabbing the user's attention; also avoid long sentences, 15 emojis, 6 people doing different things, etc. If you're making a video, a good idea in general is to make a 3 to 5 second intro with the best moment in the video, then your logo for 1 second (that's how it's done), then start the video.
- Relevance: your creative must speak to your target audience, resonating with their needs and desires. A good message is one that resonates. Be user-centric. Don't talk like experts talk, talk like your users talk. It has to speak to them first and foremost. Content must be focused on customer benefit.
- Consistency with your brand: colors, tone, mood, everything must be aligned with your brand identity. Good branding is consistent and identifiable.
- Adapt your creative to the network for which it's intended. The format (landscape, portrait, square...) is different for each advertising location, and the codes are different.
- For a video, ideally add subtitles that are easy to read for users scrolling in silent mode.
- To get ideas about your competitors or brands you like, follow this link our guide to seeing other people's ads.
Use generative AI to produce creative for your ads
Everyone's talking about it, so you probably know Midjourney or Dall-E (at least by name), but did you know that Google can generate your creatives directly from Google Ads?
That's right, Google has integrated generative AI into its Performance Max campaigns, enabling advertisers to concoct ads faster. Thanks to this technology, you can create visuals and text directly via Google's AI.
Google has also introduced a chatbot to facilitate the creation of Google Ads campaigns. This chatbot enables advertisers to generate keywords, titles, descriptions, images and other relevant elements for their campaigns, using an innovative conversational approach.
But above all, ACA (Automatically Created Assets), initially in beta, has been enhanced by generative AI. This means automatic updates to ad content, making campaign creation more relevant and aligned with users' specific needs. For example, with a search on "skin care for dry and sensitive skin", AI can use the content of your landing page and existing ads to create a headline that perfectly matches the query!
How it's made: Showcase your work
There's no better way to build confidence and enhance your branding.
Show how your products are made. Photos and videos of the manufacturing process are the perfect touch of sincerity.
It also works perfectly with services. Film and take photos of you and your team at work.
It creates a special connection with your audience, shows your expertise, and generates a sense of authenticity (and you don't need a big production team to look authentic).
User-generated content (UGC) is booming in Social Ads and Google Ads
Encourage your users to share their experience with your products (post-purchase emailing sequence, loyalty points, gifts...).
Not enough content from your customers?
You can use your products or services yourself, or your team, or a content creator (new or experienced). Show the before/after effect, show how it's used, etc.
The advantage of UGC is authenticity. So don't try to make a "fake UGC" with image bank videos or AI. It shows, it loses authenticity, and it has the opposite effect: it generates mistrust.
Recycle and modify your creatives to create more creatives for new ads
Don't forget the nuggets of the past. You probably have a treasure trove of old photos and videos on your hard drives. Modify them, re-edit them, combine them with other creas...
It costs nothing AND if a past creative has worked well, that's an indication of how well it resonates with your audience. A little freshening up and it could work wonders again.
Pool costs for your ads' most sophisticated creatives
Do you get on well with the other boxes in your coworking space or your neighbors across the street?
Make your creations together, pooling graphic designers, photographers, videographers, editors etc. for your more sophisticated creations.
You can create great creatives that perform well in your ads with very simple, free tools
You don't need a €5,000 camera, a complete production team with a photographer, cameraman, boom operator, editor, director etc...
These are undeniable advantages, of course, and can help you achieve a higher level of quality, which is generally a good thing to do. But no, they're not a necessity for high-performance creative.
Your smartphone, social networking apps, and possibly Canva or Adobe Express, and you've got everything you need to easily achieve, free of charge and in just a few hours, a result that would have required a team of 10 people 20 years ago.
Some of the best ads we've run for our customers have been created in 30 minutes with a smartphone in the corner of the office.
It's possible to create high-quality visuals for high-performance ads at low cost.
AI, UGC, recycling, collaboration and simple (and free) tools are just some of the ideas you can put into practice to increase tenfold the amount of creative you can produce on a limited budget (and even on larger budgets, there's always more to go around).