Use Facebook's AI to Build Better Creatives
If you’ve read anything we’ve written in the past on Facebook advertising (check out our Beginner's Guide to Facebook Advertising), you know that we’re really big fans of the so-called “Power Five” here at AdVertize, a digital marketing agency in Tokyo. While there was most definitely a time in Facebook’s lifecycle when it made sense to micromanage every facet of your campaign, that era has come and gone.
As the Zuckerberg empire has tried to streamline its flagship ad offering, things have moved more and more towards a simplified account structure. Rather than try to tweak things on your own, the winning play these days is to adhere to the “Power Five” and give control over to Facebook’s algorithm.
The Different Types of Facebook Dynamic Ads
If you have read some of our top digital marketing agency blogs for Japan, you may have already seen some of the elements of the “Power Five”. One of them is known as dynamic ads. More a category of settings than a singular feature, this term simply refers to creative variations that are changed up based on who is viewing them. As of this writing, there are a handful of different options for utilizing dynamic ads. These are as follows…
Dynamic Creative: Toggled on at the ad set level, dynamic creative allows a marketer to give Facebook a collection of up to 10 visuals, 5 headlines and 5 primary texts. On top of this, you can also add further variety with descriptions and calls to actions. Once the creative parameters are set, Facebook’s algorithm will then iteratively A/B test which of the many possible combinations gets the best results.
Collection Ads: Enabled at the ad level, this feature allows an advertiser to create an instant experience that is derived from a product collection. Which item gets shown is dynamically updated based on the viewer as well as other users’ reactions to whatever is in the collection. These ads create their own mini landing page within Facebook and Instagram to allow shoppers to easily browse. Note that you’ll need to have your product catalog synched to Facebook for this to be possible
Catalog Ads: Similar to collection ads, this format allows you to create a set of products that are loaded into a mini landing page. Unlike collection ads though, catalog ads are something that you select at the campaign level. Additionally, one benefit of catalog ads over collection ads is that you can populate the list of products shown based on what someone has viewed on your site. This is great for retargeting ads as buyers will see exactly the offerings that they interacted with.
Honestly speaking, a thorough exposé of all of the forms of dynamic ads and when to use them would likely require its own standalone piece. Since that’s a bit outside the confines of this piece, we want to instead focus only on dynamic creative in comparison to standard static creative. Generally speaking, we actually still like to use the standard options for ads when scaling and only use dynamic creative for testing. We’ll dive into why later on in this article but for now, just keep this in mind.
The Downsides of Facebook Dynamic Creatives
At first glance, you’d think that it is always the right choice to use dynamic creative, especially considering that it's a “Power Five” play. Unfortunately, this just isn’t always the case (maybe one day in the future this will change). Though indeed quite useful, there are some major downsides to dynamic creative that many people often overlook. The following are just a few negative aspects of dynamic creative…
Only one “ad” per ad set (albeit an ad with tons of variables)
The algorithm entirely controls what combinations get shown
Any one element needs to mesh well with all others
Engagement gets split across all possible renditions
Any edit resets all social proof on ALL the variations
You need a big enough budget to get statistical relevance
Of course, there’s a lot of upsides to dynamic creative too. For example, it greatly reduces the number of actual ads that you have to have running in Ad Manager. Moreover, it also helps you quickly identify winning creative elements by eliminating the need to A/B test by hand. This alone is a godsend and will save you countless hours that would otherwise be wasted on publishing ads and going over the data.
How to Test Facebook Dynamic Creatives
When it comes to our clients, our general stance is that we use dynamic creative to weed out the underperforming assets before we begin to scale. Oftentimes, we’ll launch an ad with 10 similar but slightly different images or videos along with sets of copy that are all minor variations. Then, we’ll take the top performers and republish the best visual, headline and primary as a new static creative.
This process allows us to quickly and efficiently cook up a far better ad than we would have otherwise been able to do manually. We allow Facebook to play with all of the different variables in our stead so that the system can discern what is the best visual, headline and primary text. I cannot stress enough just how much of a time saver using dynamic creative is compared to doing all of this testing by hand.
Now, the reason why Facebook Ads are now even easier to create is because of one thing you absolutely need to do when testing with dynamic creatives is to keep the variables somewhat similar to each other. For example, it wouldn’t make much sense to take wildly divergent visuals that convey entirely different messages and throw them into the same dynamic creative test. Simply put, you’re not comparing the same thing anymore at that point so you can’t make a clear call whether it was the visual or the overall message that made an impact.
Since ad fatigue is always something that can rear its ugly head, you always want to have at least one of these dynamic creative tests going for your cold audience targeting. This way, as soon as the performance of an ad starts to drop off, you can refresh the creative in circulation by dropping in the best performer from the test. As someone who has been in this position before, I can tell you that you never want to be in a position where a campaign hits ad fatigue but you have nothing on file to publish.
Thankfully, as mentioned in our article on How We Used Facebook Ads to Boost Client ROAS by 4x in 4 Days, dynamic creative makes testing and coming up with new ad variations a breeze. As long as you’re constantly launching small tests so that you have a steady stream of new content to publish, you can ensure that nothing your brand is running ever gets stale. Moreover, the algorithm and the data you get from the dynamic creative testing will help steer you in the right direction when the time comes to source future assets.
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