Celtra Partners With STG for a New Phase of Growth

Why Creative Automation Is Every Growth Marketer’s Secret Weapon

December 8, 2021 By Celtra

Illustration: Tereza Prepadnik

How can marketers keep their acquisition campaigns alive and thriving? Every growth marketer will have you know that it takes a lot of testing and learning, knowing your audience like the palm of your hand, and serving content that speaks to them. What is the common thread to all three of these? Design excellence and creative variety. We break down how this helps growth marketers reach their goals in more ways than one.

 

The Importance of Design Excellence and Branding

E-commerce sales grew by 32% in the US last year, from $598B to $792B. On top of that, digital ad spend grew by 12%, with the most investment going towards lower funnel creative. Looking at the numbers, we know that digital is booming. Marketers are capitalizing on this by flooding digital channels with creative. However, most of what we’re seeing is a product shot on a white background. Although this strategy may work for some brands, it jeopardizes brand equity and fails creative excellence altogether.  

But why does it even matter? Well, it’s what shoppers want. In fact, 85% of shoppers are more likely to trust a brand with high-quality and well-designed ads. That includes lower-funnel assets, too. Not only do shoppers want to see ads that look good, but they want to see ads that feel like the brand. With the rise of social media, there are now more online marketing opportunities than ever imagined. Brands are investing more money in producing digital content, but often lack the workflows to effectively reformat assets for each specific platform. This causes brands to launch inconsistent designs across high-volume campaigns. That explains why the majority of shoppers (60%) distrust a brand when the ad design doesn’t match the brand’s website, app, or store. Shoppers not only crave creative ads, but they want ads that continue the brand story across every touchpoint.

It’s time for brands to wake up. Gone are the days of dull digital assets. Instead of cutting creative corners to produce volumes of uninspiring lower-funnel creative, brands need to rethink their strategies if they want to succeed. If e-commerce sales have already been booming, imagine how much it could skyrocket if brands stepped up to the plate and started giving consumers what they actually want to see? It may sound daunting, but we know marketers are always hungry for a challenge.

 

How To Drive Design Excellence Across The Funnel

When creative offers a chance to differentiate your brand in the market, every little detail counts. Paid impressions are often the only chance brands get to influence certain shoppers, especially in today’s saturated and fast-changing digital landscape. From art design to branding to messaging, creative across the funnel needs design excellence to drive traffic, subscriptions, direct-to-consumer channels, testing, and revenue.  

More than half of shoppers (52%) have been deterred from purchasing a product they would have considered buying because of a poorly designed ad. As we know, lower-funnel assets typically lack branding and high-quality design, which inadvertently puts their company at risk. When brands need to create high volumes of lower-funnel assets to drive growth and performance, they often do not have much time left for designers to work on creative excellence. Many teams simply do not have the bandwidth or resources to explore creativity and improve design quality.   

There is one simple solution: automating creative production. Creative automation allows marketing teams to govern their brand across thousands of assets and tweak for different use cases without the overtime or additional hires. That way, high-quality design excellence and brand consistency can be maximized across the funnel in just a few clicks.

Here’s how some brands are using creative automation to improve their lower-funnel, dynamic product ads (DPA): 

  • Apply consistent branding: Forget about the hours associated with versioning and leverage template-based design. Input all the creative modules you need and let the technology do the work for you. 
  • Adopt an integrated approach: Drive brand consistency and strengthen brand voice by applying the same look and feel from upper-funnel campaigns to your lower-funnel assets. 
  • Venture beyond the packshot: Whether it’s a single product, bundle, model, or lifestyle shot, you can incorporate as many elements as you can imagine with limitless variants. 

When brands enrich their dynamic product ads, they see 2x higher click-through rates (CTR) compared to standard dynamic product ads. It doesn’t stop there. They also see a 58% increase in ROAS. In addition to driving a clear lift in revenue, automating digital marketing assets means cost and time savings, too. An international enterprise brand turned to creative automation to launch a campaign in 10 markets, saving 48% on time-to-market and 55% on costs. The takeaway: With the help of automated production, you can revolutionize and maximize your lower-funnel ad performance with creative and branding.

 

The Correlation Between Creative Variety and Performance 

When it comes to driving performance with creative, more is more. It gives teams the freedom to expand their marketing efforts and experiment with different combinations for their target audience, and it offers valuable intel from an optimization standpoint. After all, there’s only so much insight you can draw from one type of creative asset. 

66% of consumers find ads and social media messaging from brands to be repetitive. Ad fatigue, an industry buzzword you may know all too well, is another factor that affects performance, but can also have a detrimental effect on your brand long after it’s served. They don’t call it the silent killer of ad performance for nothing. Not only does it have a diminishing level of return as they’re repeatedly shown to users, but it can impact the bottom line – such as increasing your CPM and cost per acquisition, which ultimately decreases your overall return on ad spend (ROAS). Consumers aren’t the only ones experiencing fatigue – it goes both ways. Many creative teams are feeling overworked trying to manually meet the growing content demands for performance campaigns.

To meet this challenge, marketing teams need to transform their workflows. Manual creative production processes are too slow and cumbersome to keep up with today’s oversaturated digital marketing needs. Shoppers’ expectations are higher than ever before. Marketers need the right tools to reshape how they produce, scale creative variety, and distribute digital assets. What they need are solutions like creative automation to scale content quickly while maintaining brand governance. Saying goodbye to traditional production workflows and introducing automated, cloud-based software means organizations can execute and scale innovative, on-brand ideas across every format and channel. 

With great creative variety comes great performance. However, brand governance must be protected in order to execute incredible variety and see results. After all, consistent branding across marketing funnels and all platforms can increase revenue by up to 23%. That’s why cloud-based toolkits can help. They allow marketing teams to develop the creative variety they need to stay on brand while catering to every unique audience. 

 

What Do Scale and Speed Have to Do With It?

It is clear that there is a problem here, which we coin the Content Gap. This is where a brand’s content and asset needs grow quickly while team resources and budgets remain stagnant or even decline. Creative Automation is the solution to overcoming these challenges and facilitates both scale and speed without compromising quality.

In today’s marketing, brands need to move quickly to stay relevant. A major roadblock for most businesses are team silos. Though some software and workflows have improved, the work is still segmented. Teams must wait for others to finish one part of the production process before the next can get started, only for this cycle to keep repeating over and over again. In order to move at the speed of insight without growing teams or maxing out budgets, they need to take a step back and analyze their business. 

Creating efficient project management workflows is a good place to start. To run a well-oiled machine that can move with agility, seamless workflows are crucial. Instead of working in isolated silos, processes should promote team collaboration instead. That way, all team members can easily work together to produce, review, and distribute creative content. Updating workflows can seem challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. After key stakeholders and organizational structures are defined, adding new tools like automation to the creative production process becomes a breeze.   

Cross-functional communication is also crucial for scaling with speed. With endless email chains and PDF comments, small details get lost or hours go by waiting for consolidated feedback. These methods of communications are outdated and unreliable for today’s fast-paced market. Instead, brands need to find innovative tools that allow all team members to snag instant feedback. That way, the entire team can stay aligned while boosting overall productivity. Having all teams connected in a centralized platform means insights can be shared easily amongst all stakeholders. This leads to more strategic conversations and a higher quality of work.   

Creative Automation software like Celtra allows marketers to quickly meet the volume demands that are common to many businesses (especially D2C and e-commerce brands), by allowing marketers to create and customize their own library of templates in one centralized platform. This is paired with a content feed – where you would upload information like product names, CTAs, language variants, and so on. By separating content from design, churn out creative variants en masse, saving your production teams the time and headache of creating these manually. 

These assets have a wide, multichannel use-case across social media, display, video, email, and more. Creative Automation allows teams to even make any last-minute changes without having to reinvent the wheel every time:

  • Opening new markets with localized campaigns – Different languages and markets? No problem. Use Content Feeds to upload translated copy, connect them to a template, and generate the variants.
  • New channels and sizes – Repurpose existing assets to fit any ad format, which makes it easier to expand to new platforms and channels. 
  • Speed to market – Creative Automation simplifies the production and feedback loop. Our cloud-based platform allows designers, marketers, producers, and media teams to collaborate in real-time. Keep up with the changing trends and consumer needs and quickly launch marketing campaigns.

 

Although growth marketing hasn’t always shone the spotlight on visual storytelling, privacy regulations are about to shake things up. Soon enough, growth marketers will be unable to rely on the troves of third-party data to drive growth, which means they will have to go back to square one: brand marketing. When shoppers want high-quality, well-designed ads, they soon won’t be able to distinguish between big brand campaigns and everyday social ads. Instead, clicks and conversions will come from elevated, on-brand lower funnel creative. 

 

If you’re ready to explore transformative solutions for lower-funnel creative, then send us a note at marketing@celtra.com

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