Ad Creatives Framework: Optimization Deep Dive

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11

Matej Lancaric (Head of UA at Superscale - growth partner for game developers and publishers) and Joseph Kim (CEO of Tiazu - Mobile game consulting) discuss how to develop a framework for managing Ad Creatives.

Source:
Ad Creatives Framework: Optimization Deep Dive
(no direct link to watch/listen)
(direct link to watch/listen)
Type:
Webinar
Publication date:
April 30, 2020
Added to the Vault on:
May 18, 2020
These insights were shared through the free Growth Gems newsletter.
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💎 #
1

When people are scrolling their feeds you do not have 3 seconds, you have 1 second. If you have a boring first few seconds in your video, move the core of the message directly to the beginning. 

05:00
💎 #
2

Facebook Canvas Ads allow you to create an instant "store" experience. It's like a short mobile landing page that allows you to describe the game, for example using your store assets. They use this a lot and it tends to perform well. 

07:15
💎 #
3

To test new ideas you can use static banners/images to find a winner then convert them to video. 

08:40
💎 #
4

For your creative team you want a mix of senior people with younger ones that can grow and improve quickly especially if they have the winning attitude. 

20:20
💎 #
5

Using outsourcing companies can bring a lot of value right away through new ideas, a new pairs of eyes and different processes. So it's worth it even if you have a big in-house team. 

25:21
💎 #
6

When it comes to creative testing, you have to think about how Facebook actually works. If you use different optimizations (app installs, purchased-optimized campaigns, value-optimized campaigns) you will get different results from your creative. 

31:47
💎 #
7

When testing new creatives, create 1 ad set within your current CBO campaign that has the same target audience and the same optimization so you can have a clear picture of how this creative resonates. 

32:15
💎 #
8

To come up with ad creative ideas, use: 1. competitor analysis 2. Trends for casual games 3. YouTube trends (example: people opening "chests" with million of views) 4. Memes (example: Drake creatives) 5. TV series with hype (when resemblance with game) 

44:30
💎 #
9

You need to know how the LTV curve looks like and then go down to the creative level to see how D1, D3, D7, D28 (for example) perform. 

53:52
💎 #
10

When it comes to creative fatigue you need to take a look at the combination of the creative and the targeting to make assumptions from that combination. A creative that showed fatigue might work well with a different audience. 

1:00:52
💎 #
11

One thing that's important to measure the KPIs of the creative is the naming convention so you can clearly see what's inside the creative and if it's portrait, square, etc. 

1:07:10
The "gems" from this resource are only available to premium members.
  • Unlock access to gems from over 130 mobile growth resources
  • Define your preferred categories and receive new relevant gems directly in your inbox
  • Discuss key insights (and any other mobile growth topic) in the members-only community.
Upgrade Your Plan
💎 #
1

When people are scrolling their feeds you do not have 3 seconds, you have 1 second. If you have a boring first few seconds in your video, move the core of the message directly to the beginning. 

05:00
💎 #
2

Facebook Canvas Ads allow you to create an instant "store" experience. It's like a short mobile landing page that allows you to describe the game, for example using your store assets. They use this a lot and it tends to perform well. 

07:15
💎 #
3

To test new ideas you can use static banners/images to find a winner then convert them to video. 

08:40
💎 #
4

For your creative team you want a mix of senior people with younger ones that can grow and improve quickly especially if they have the winning attitude. 

20:20
💎 #
5

Using outsourcing companies can bring a lot of value right away through new ideas, a new pairs of eyes and different processes. So it's worth it even if you have a big in-house team. 

25:21
💎 #
6

When it comes to creative testing, you have to think about how Facebook actually works. If you use different optimizations (app installs, purchased-optimized campaigns, value-optimized campaigns) you will get different results from your creative. 

31:47
💎 #
7

When testing new creatives, create 1 ad set within your current CBO campaign that has the same target audience and the same optimization so you can have a clear picture of how this creative resonates. 

32:15
💎 #
8

To come up with ad creative ideas, use: 1. competitor analysis 2. Trends for casual games 3. YouTube trends (example: people opening "chests" with million of views) 4. Memes (example: Drake creatives) 5. TV series with hype (when resemblance with game) 

44:30
💎 #
9

You need to know how the LTV curve looks like and then go down to the creative level to see how D1, D3, D7, D28 (for example) perform. 

53:52
💎 #
10

When it comes to creative fatigue you need to take a look at the combination of the creative and the targeting to make assumptions from that combination. A creative that showed fatigue might work well with a different audience. 

1:00:52
💎 #
11

One thing that's important to measure the KPIs of the creative is the naming convention so you can clearly see what's inside the creative and if it's portrait, square, etc. 

1:07:10
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💎 #
1

When people are scrolling their feeds you do not have 3 seconds, you have 1 second. If you have a boring first few seconds in your video, move the core of the message directly to the beginning. 

05:00
💎 #
2

Facebook Canvas Ads allow you to create an instant "store" experience. It's like a short mobile landing page that allows you to describe the game, for example using your store assets. They use this a lot and it tends to perform well. 

07:15
💎 #
3

To test new ideas you can use static banners/images to find a winner then convert them to video. 

08:40
💎 #
4

For your creative team you want a mix of senior people with younger ones that can grow and improve quickly especially if they have the winning attitude. 

20:20
💎 #
5

Using outsourcing companies can bring a lot of value right away through new ideas, a new pairs of eyes and different processes. So it's worth it even if you have a big in-house team. 

25:21
💎 #
6

When it comes to creative testing, you have to think about how Facebook actually works. If you use different optimizations (app installs, purchased-optimized campaigns, value-optimized campaigns) you will get different results from your creative. 

31:47
💎 #
7

When testing new creatives, create 1 ad set within your current CBO campaign that has the same target audience and the same optimization so you can have a clear picture of how this creative resonates. 

32:15
💎 #
8

To come up with ad creative ideas, use: 1. competitor analysis 2. Trends for casual games 3. YouTube trends (example: people opening "chests" with million of views) 4. Memes (example: Drake creatives) 5. TV series with hype (when resemblance with game) 

44:30
💎 #
9

You need to know how the LTV curve looks like and then go down to the creative level to see how D1, D3, D7, D28 (for example) perform. 

53:52
💎 #
10

When it comes to creative fatigue you need to take a look at the combination of the creative and the targeting to make assumptions from that combination. A creative that showed fatigue might work well with a different audience. 

1:00:52
💎 #
11

One thing that's important to measure the KPIs of the creative is the naming convention so you can clearly see what's inside the creative and if it's portrait, square, etc. 

1:07:10
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Impact of Good Creatives

How to defined good vs. bad creatives? It's about good vs. bad performance. ROAS is the ultimate KPIs we are optimizing for but you need to look at a few different metrics:

  • IPM
  • CTRs
  • CPI
  • Click to Installs


Creatives can make or break your business. Example: going from $4 CPI vs. $.5 CPI.


You need to grab viewers' attention immediately.


[💎@05:00] When people are scrolling their feeds you do not have 3 seconds, you have 1 second. If you have a boring first few seconds in your video, move the core of the message directly to the beginning.


Types of creatives

  • Still banners
  • Videos in different resolutions (landscape to portrait)
  • Playables
  • Carousels (5 or 10 square images/videos next to each other) - used a lot by e-commerce but can be used to showcase your characters, using video with sequences from gameplay, etc.
  • [💎@07:15] Facebook Canvas Ads allow you to create an instant experience. It's like a short mobile landing page that allows you to describe the game. You can use your store assets to re-create that small "store" experience. They use this a lot and it tends to perform well.


Moving from static images to videos can have a really high impact.


[💎@08:40] To test new ideas they use static banners/images to find a winner then convert them to video.


You have to be careful about using only static images because of the high frequency at which they are shown to people. So they keep a diverse creative mix.


Ranking creatives

  1. Square videos - highest reach as you can serve most of the inventory. 70% of any budget or resources go to video.
  2. Landscape videos - can still perform very well
  3. Portrait videos
  4. Keep 10-15% to test other kind of creatives: static, playables, etc.


With playables there is the hypothesis that you will get a better quality of users but it is not always the case, plus it tends to be expensive on the CPI side. Great format but you need some time to crack it.


You want different lengths of video, and it's all about testing: 30 sec, 15 sec, 12 sec, 8 sec, etc.


Having a separate budget for experiments

It's a very small portion of each budget because you assume you might lose this money.


You have to be "crazy" and use different ideas in terms of formats but also concepts. You can iterate on your winner creative a couple of times but eventually it will die. This is why you want to test as many new concepts as possible.


Metrics Terminology & Downstream

What they use for Top of Funnel :

  • IPM - Impressions per Mille
  • CTR
  • CPI
  • CVR (Conversion Rate) - Click to Install


They don't use Install Rate that much, just to keep it simple.


On the downstream side:

  • ROAS
  • LTV

Also depends on the stage of the game. If you're at the monetization stage then you look at the retention numbers to see if the creatives are bringing good quality numbers, rather than ROAS/LTV. Mostly D1 and D7.


Creative Team Structure & Size

When he joined there was 5 UA person but no creatives. How they built the team at Superscale:

  1. Had 2 candidates for creative ideation and copywriting which is something you need because you need a middle man between the UA manager and the creative team.
  2. Gave a creative assignment and one of the candidates create a 50-pages presentation.
  3. After 1 month he became the creative lead
  4. Looking at their portfolio of games, they looked at the kind of profiles they needed (motion designers, 2D/3D, illustrators, etc.) and brought in people.
  5. [💎@20:20] For your creative team you want a mix of senior people with younger ones that can grow and improve quickly especially if they have the winning attitude.


For candidates you want to check the hard skills. Matej does a paid assignment first, then he talks with them. It's about the attitude and the soft skills, because everything can be learned. New people need to fit into the team.


  • Current team - 25 people
  • UA team - 7 people
  • Creative team - 18 people

Have been growing a lot and have now hit a good spot where they can do everything in-house. New hires come when they get new clients.


If you are spending millions you need new creatives weekly.


[💎@25:21] Using outsourcing companies can bring a lot of value right away through new ideas, a new pairs of eyes and different processes. So it's worth it even if you have a big in-house team.


The outsourcing decision comes mostly when you need new ideas.


The Creatives Framework

Ad-Creative-Framework.png

Process

  1. Assessments of the creatives of the game they manage + competitor analysis
  2. Brainstorm new ideas based on target audience and what could resonate with them
  3. Choosing the ideas, going back and forth with the clients
  4. Choosing first sketches
  5. Creative testing
  6. Evaluating with their internal tool


Different ways of testing creatives people typically use: different accounts, only app install campaigns (cheaper and faster).

[💎@31:47] When it comes to creative testing, you have to think about how Facebook actually works. If you   use different optimizations (app installs, purchased-optimized campaigns, value-optimized campaigns) you will get different results from your creative.


[💎@32:15] When testing new creatives, create 1 ad set within your current CBO campaign that has the same target audience and the same optimization so you can have a clear picture of how this creative resonates.


Let CBO spread the budget. Observe if there is creative fatigue (CTR decreasing and CPI rising) after a couple of days and if the new creatives outperform the old ones.

Slightly more expensive than some other ways but it is easier to find a winner and make a decision.


CREATIVE ASSESSMENTS

An assessment of previous creatives should always be done when starting to work on a game. Looking at ROAS/LTV of creatives and trying to find out why to bring that to the brainstorming If no data is available, then only looking at performance from competitors with different tools.


BRAINSTORMING

Have a moderator to write down the ideas and keep the brainstorming group to 3 to 4 people maximum. Have the creators of the game as well so they can understand the perspective.


CHOOSING THE IDEA

The idea(s) come from a combination of suggestions from the brainstorming session and the Creative Lead.

Partner or client has the final word to pick 3-5 ideas to go to the sketch phase.


FIRST SKETCHES

For playables, that's a storyboard with every step so everybody is on the same page.


CREATIVE TESTING

(see above).

Take the new creatives and run them in the new "testing" ad set of your campaign.


EVALUATION

In the first 5 to 7 days (sometimes less with more budget) you see trends about the new creatives in terms of performance. Top of funnel but also looking at ROAS/LTV.


Whether you get winners or losers, try to deconstruct and evaluate why.

Double down on the stuff that works.


Designing  the Creatives Pipeline

Showing "real progress" of the game and noob vs. pro variations tend to work really well for action games.


[💎@44:30] To come with ad creative ideas, use: 1. competitor analysis 2. Trends for casual games 3. YouTube trends (example: people opening "chests" with million of views) 4. Memes (example: Drake creatives) 5. TV series with hype (when resemblance with game)


They also try to use their sense of humor depending on the type of target audience: Family Guy, etc.


They also try to look at different perspective from characters, giving them personality, etc.


How some hypercasual games look at things

They look at IPM also but tend to focus on CPCs and CTRs. They have so many benchmarks that by looking at these early metrics they can typically tell what the other ones will be.


Often they don't even have a game and when they see good metrics, that's when they build the game.


Downstream metrics & Deceptive Ads

Deceptive ads show great front-end/TOF metrics but the downstream metrics are not as good.

DX ROAS depends on the game.


[💎@53:52] You need to know how the LTV curve looks like and then go down to the creative level to see how D1, D3, D7, D28 for example.


If you get a lot of players with low CPIs within the game, you still have a higher chance to convert them (even with a deceptive ad).


Google released a policy for deceptive ads but nobody knows when it's going to happen. Problem is bigger on Facebook especially when you are trying to set expectations for the players.


Creative Fatigue Management

When to retire a creative and when do you know how to resurrect and old retired creative?

  • No specific time before retiring, some creatives are "evergreen" and can work for several years. Especially if you iterate/update it. Watch for CTRs getting low. For some it can be a couple of days.
  • No specific time for resurrecting either

[💎@1:00:52] When it comes to creative fatigue you need to take a look at the combination of the creative and the targeting to make assumptions from that combination. A creative that showed fatigue might work well with a different audience.


Have benchmarks of CTRs/CPIs and if a creative goes below it is flagged. Example: CTR dropping below .5%. Be careful because CPIs rising might mean you're reaching the target audience.


Tools for Creatives Management

Looker, Tableau, etc. to visualize performance.

They built an in-house creative tool to try and evaluate all the campaigns on the creative level. If you're using Facebook Marketing Partners (something like Bidalgo) they usually have very good creative dashboards. Good for inspiration as well?


[💎@1:07:10] One thing that's important to measure the KPIs of the creative is the naming convention so you can clearly see what's inside the creative and if it's portrait, square, etc.


Facebook Data Changes Impact

Regarding Facebook stopping sending user-level data to studios. There should be workarounds, so not too worried.

It might require you to work with FB analytics to create LAL or working with Firebase for UAC.


Creative process is super important and not a lot of companies have that in place. Be careful how you implement but try to find the right balance of experiments.



The notes from this resource are only available to premium members.
↘ At this point, you know what to do ↙
Upgrade Your Plan

Impact of Good Creatives

How to defined good vs. bad creatives? It's about good vs. bad performance. ROAS is the ultimate KPIs we are optimizing for but you need to look at a few different metrics:

  • IPM
  • CTRs
  • CPI
  • Click to Installs


Creatives can make or break your business. Example: going from $4 CPI vs. $.5 CPI.


You need to grab viewers' attention immediately.


[💎@05:00] When people are scrolling their feeds you do not have 3 seconds, you have 1 second. If you have a boring first few seconds in your video, move the core of the message directly to the beginning.


Types of creatives

  • Still banners
  • Videos in different resolutions (landscape to portrait)
  • Playables
  • Carousels (5 or 10 square images/videos next to each other) - used a lot by e-commerce but can be used to showcase your characters, using video with sequences from gameplay, etc.
  • [💎@07:15] Facebook Canvas Ads allow you to create an instant experience. It's like a short mobile landing page that allows you to describe the game. You can use your store assets to re-create that small "store" experience. They use this a lot and it tends to perform well.


Moving from static images to videos can have a really high impact.


[💎@08:40] To test new ideas they use static banners/images to find a winner then convert them to video.


You have to be careful about using only static images because of the high frequency at which they are shown to people. So they keep a diverse creative mix.


Ranking creatives

  1. Square videos - highest reach as you can serve most of the inventory. 70% of any budget or resources go to video.
  2. Landscape videos - can still perform very well
  3. Portrait videos
  4. Keep 10-15% to test other kind of creatives: static, playables, etc.


With playables there is the hypothesis that you will get a better quality of users but it is not always the case, plus it tends to be expensive on the CPI side. Great format but you need some time to crack it.


You want different lengths of video, and it's all about testing: 30 sec, 15 sec, 12 sec, 8 sec, etc.


Having a separate budget for experiments

It's a very small portion of each budget because you assume you might lose this money.


You have to be "crazy" and use different ideas in terms of formats but also concepts. You can iterate on your winner creative a couple of times but eventually it will die. This is why you want to test as many new concepts as possible.


Metrics Terminology & Downstream

What they use for Top of Funnel :

  • IPM - Impressions per Mille
  • CTR
  • CPI
  • CVR (Conversion Rate) - Click to Install


They don't use Install Rate that much, just to keep it simple.


On the downstream side:

  • ROAS
  • LTV

Also depends on the stage of the game. If you're at the monetization stage then you look at the retention numbers to see if the creatives are bringing good quality numbers, rather than ROAS/LTV. Mostly D1 and D7.


Creative Team Structure & Size

When he joined there was 5 UA person but no creatives. How they built the team at Superscale:

  1. Had 2 candidates for creative ideation and copywriting which is something you need because you need a middle man between the UA manager and the creative team.
  2. Gave a creative assignment and one of the candidates create a 50-pages presentation.
  3. After 1 month he became the creative lead
  4. Looking at their portfolio of games, they looked at the kind of profiles they needed (motion designers, 2D/3D, illustrators, etc.) and brought in people.
  5. [💎@20:20] For your creative team you want a mix of senior people with younger ones that can grow and improve quickly especially if they have the winning attitude.


For candidates you want to check the hard skills. Matej does a paid assignment first, then he talks with them. It's about the attitude and the soft skills, because everything can be learned. New people need to fit into the team.


  • Current team - 25 people
  • UA team - 7 people
  • Creative team - 18 people

Have been growing a lot and have now hit a good spot where they can do everything in-house. New hires come when they get new clients.


If you are spending millions you need new creatives weekly.


[💎@25:21] Using outsourcing companies can bring a lot of value right away through new ideas, a new pairs of eyes and different processes. So it's worth it even if you have a big in-house team.


The outsourcing decision comes mostly when you need new ideas.


The Creatives Framework

Ad-Creative-Framework.png

Process

  1. Assessments of the creatives of the game they manage + competitor analysis
  2. Brainstorm new ideas based on target audience and what could resonate with them
  3. Choosing the ideas, going back and forth with the clients
  4. Choosing first sketches
  5. Creative testing
  6. Evaluating with their internal tool


Different ways of testing creatives people typically use: different accounts, only app install campaigns (cheaper and faster).

[💎@31:47] When it comes to creative testing, you have to think about how Facebook actually works. If you   use different optimizations (app installs, purchased-optimized campaigns, value-optimized campaigns) you will get different results from your creative.


[💎@32:15] When testing new creatives, create 1 ad set within your current CBO campaign that has the same target audience and the same optimization so you can have a clear picture of how this creative resonates.


Let CBO spread the budget. Observe if there is creative fatigue (CTR decreasing and CPI rising) after a couple of days and if the new creatives outperform the old ones.

Slightly more expensive than some other ways but it is easier to find a winner and make a decision.


CREATIVE ASSESSMENTS

An assessment of previous creatives should always be done when starting to work on a game. Looking at ROAS/LTV of creatives and trying to find out why to bring that to the brainstorming If no data is available, then only looking at performance from competitors with different tools.


BRAINSTORMING

Have a moderator to write down the ideas and keep the brainstorming group to 3 to 4 people maximum. Have the creators of the game as well so they can understand the perspective.


CHOOSING THE IDEA

The idea(s) come from a combination of suggestions from the brainstorming session and the Creative Lead.

Partner or client has the final word to pick 3-5 ideas to go to the sketch phase.


FIRST SKETCHES

For playables, that's a storyboard with every step so everybody is on the same page.


CREATIVE TESTING

(see above).

Take the new creatives and run them in the new "testing" ad set of your campaign.


EVALUATION

In the first 5 to 7 days (sometimes less with more budget) you see trends about the new creatives in terms of performance. Top of funnel but also looking at ROAS/LTV.


Whether you get winners or losers, try to deconstruct and evaluate why.

Double down on the stuff that works.


Designing  the Creatives Pipeline

Showing "real progress" of the game and noob vs. pro variations tend to work really well for action games.


[💎@44:30] To come with ad creative ideas, use: 1. competitor analysis 2. Trends for casual games 3. YouTube trends (example: people opening "chests" with million of views) 4. Memes (example: Drake creatives) 5. TV series with hype (when resemblance with game)


They also try to use their sense of humor depending on the type of target audience: Family Guy, etc.


They also try to look at different perspective from characters, giving them personality, etc.


How some hypercasual games look at things

They look at IPM also but tend to focus on CPCs and CTRs. They have so many benchmarks that by looking at these early metrics they can typically tell what the other ones will be.


Often they don't even have a game and when they see good metrics, that's when they build the game.


Downstream metrics & Deceptive Ads

Deceptive ads show great front-end/TOF metrics but the downstream metrics are not as good.

DX ROAS depends on the game.


[💎@53:52] You need to know how the LTV curve looks like and then go down to the creative level to see how D1, D3, D7, D28 for example.


If you get a lot of players with low CPIs within the game, you still have a higher chance to convert them (even with a deceptive ad).


Google released a policy for deceptive ads but nobody knows when it's going to happen. Problem is bigger on Facebook especially when you are trying to set expectations for the players.


Creative Fatigue Management

When to retire a creative and when do you know how to resurrect and old retired creative?

  • No specific time before retiring, some creatives are "evergreen" and can work for several years. Especially if you iterate/update it. Watch for CTRs getting low. For some it can be a couple of days.
  • No specific time for resurrecting either

[💎@1:00:52] When it comes to creative fatigue you need to take a look at the combination of the creative and the targeting to make assumptions from that combination. A creative that showed fatigue might work well with a different audience.


Have benchmarks of CTRs/CPIs and if a creative goes below it is flagged. Example: CTR dropping below .5%. Be careful because CPIs rising might mean you're reaching the target audience.


Tools for Creatives Management

Looker, Tableau, etc. to visualize performance.

They built an in-house creative tool to try and evaluate all the campaigns on the creative level. If you're using Facebook Marketing Partners (something like Bidalgo) they usually have very good creative dashboards. Good for inspiration as well?


[💎@1:07:10] One thing that's important to measure the KPIs of the creative is the naming convention so you can clearly see what's inside the creative and if it's portrait, square, etc.


Facebook Data Changes Impact

Regarding Facebook stopping sending user-level data to studios. There should be workarounds, so not too worried.

It might require you to work with FB analytics to create LAL or working with Firebase for UAC.


Creative process is super important and not a lot of companies have that in place. Be careful how you implement but try to find the right balance of experiments.



The notes from this resource are only available to premium members.

The detailed notes taken for a resource are an easy way to see the gems in context to get a better understanding. They also include any relevant visuals from the source.
↘ At this point, you know what to do ↙
Request Access

Impact of Good Creatives

How to defined good vs. bad creatives? It's about good vs. bad performance. ROAS is the ultimate KPIs we are optimizing for but you need to look at a few different metrics:

  • IPM
  • CTRs
  • CPI
  • Click to Installs


Creatives can make or break your business. Example: going from $4 CPI vs. $.5 CPI.


You need to grab viewers' attention immediately.


[💎@05:00] When people are scrolling their feeds you do not have 3 seconds, you have 1 second. If you have a boring first few seconds in your video, move the core of the message directly to the beginning.


Types of creatives

  • Still banners
  • Videos in different resolutions (landscape to portrait)
  • Playables
  • Carousels (5 or 10 square images/videos next to each other) - used a lot by e-commerce but can be used to showcase your characters, using video with sequences from gameplay, etc.
  • [💎@07:15] Facebook Canvas Ads allow you to create an instant experience. It's like a short mobile landing page that allows you to describe the game. You can use your store assets to re-create that small "store" experience. They use this a lot and it tends to perform well.


Moving from static images to videos can have a really high impact.


[💎@08:40] To test new ideas they use static banners/images to find a winner then convert them to video.


You have to be careful about using only static images because of the high frequency at which they are shown to people. So they keep a diverse creative mix.


Ranking creatives

  1. Square videos - highest reach as you can serve most of the inventory. 70% of any budget or resources go to video.
  2. Landscape videos - can still perform very well
  3. Portrait videos
  4. Keep 10-15% to test other kind of creatives: static, playables, etc.


With playables there is the hypothesis that you will get a better quality of users but it is not always the case, plus it tends to be expensive on the CPI side. Great format but you need some time to crack it.


You want different lengths of video, and it's all about testing: 30 sec, 15 sec, 12 sec, 8 sec, etc.


Having a separate budget for experiments

It's a very small portion of each budget because you assume you might lose this money.


You have to be "crazy" and use different ideas in terms of formats but also concepts. You can iterate on your winner creative a couple of times but eventually it will die. This is why you want to test as many new concepts as possible.


Metrics Terminology & Downstream

What they use for Top of Funnel :

  • IPM - Impressions per Mille
  • CTR
  • CPI
  • CVR (Conversion Rate) - Click to Install


They don't use Install Rate that much, just to keep it simple.


On the downstream side:

  • ROAS
  • LTV

Also depends on the stage of the game. If you're at the monetization stage then you look at the retention numbers to see if the creatives are bringing good quality numbers, rather than ROAS/LTV. Mostly D1 and D7.


Creative Team Structure & Size

When he joined there was 5 UA person but no creatives. How they built the team at Superscale:

  1. Had 2 candidates for creative ideation and copywriting which is something you need because you need a middle man between the UA manager and the creative team.
  2. Gave a creative assignment and one of the candidates create a 50-pages presentation.
  3. After 1 month he became the creative lead
  4. Looking at their portfolio of games, they looked at the kind of profiles they needed (motion designers, 2D/3D, illustrators, etc.) and brought in people.
  5. [💎@20:20] For your creative team you want a mix of senior people with younger ones that can grow and improve quickly especially if they have the winning attitude.


For candidates you want to check the hard skills. Matej does a paid assignment first, then he talks with them. It's about the attitude and the soft skills, because everything can be learned. New people need to fit into the team.


  • Current team - 25 people
  • UA team - 7 people
  • Creative team - 18 people

Have been growing a lot and have now hit a good spot where they can do everything in-house. New hires come when they get new clients.


If you are spending millions you need new creatives weekly.


[💎@25:21] Using outsourcing companies can bring a lot of value right away through new ideas, a new pairs of eyes and different processes. So it's worth it even if you have a big in-house team.


The outsourcing decision comes mostly when you need new ideas.


The Creatives Framework

Ad-Creative-Framework.png

Process

  1. Assessments of the creatives of the game they manage + competitor analysis
  2. Brainstorm new ideas based on target audience and what could resonate with them
  3. Choosing the ideas, going back and forth with the clients
  4. Choosing first sketches
  5. Creative testing
  6. Evaluating with their internal tool


Different ways of testing creatives people typically use: different accounts, only app install campaigns (cheaper and faster).

[💎@31:47] When it comes to creative testing, you have to think about how Facebook actually works. If you   use different optimizations (app installs, purchased-optimized campaigns, value-optimized campaigns) you will get different results from your creative.


[💎@32:15] When testing new creatives, create 1 ad set within your current CBO campaign that has the same target audience and the same optimization so you can have a clear picture of how this creative resonates.


Let CBO spread the budget. Observe if there is creative fatigue (CTR decreasing and CPI rising) after a couple of days and if the new creatives outperform the old ones.

Slightly more expensive than some other ways but it is easier to find a winner and make a decision.


CREATIVE ASSESSMENTS

An assessment of previous creatives should always be done when starting to work on a game. Looking at ROAS/LTV of creatives and trying to find out why to bring that to the brainstorming If no data is available, then only looking at performance from competitors with different tools.


BRAINSTORMING

Have a moderator to write down the ideas and keep the brainstorming group to 3 to 4 people maximum. Have the creators of the game as well so they can understand the perspective.


CHOOSING THE IDEA

The idea(s) come from a combination of suggestions from the brainstorming session and the Creative Lead.

Partner or client has the final word to pick 3-5 ideas to go to the sketch phase.


FIRST SKETCHES

For playables, that's a storyboard with every step so everybody is on the same page.


CREATIVE TESTING

(see above).

Take the new creatives and run them in the new "testing" ad set of your campaign.


EVALUATION

In the first 5 to 7 days (sometimes less with more budget) you see trends about the new creatives in terms of performance. Top of funnel but also looking at ROAS/LTV.


Whether you get winners or losers, try to deconstruct and evaluate why.

Double down on the stuff that works.


Designing  the Creatives Pipeline

Showing "real progress" of the game and noob vs. pro variations tend to work really well for action games.


[💎@44:30] To come with ad creative ideas, use: 1. competitor analysis 2. Trends for casual games 3. YouTube trends (example: people opening "chests" with million of views) 4. Memes (example: Drake creatives) 5. TV series with hype (when resemblance with game)


They also try to use their sense of humor depending on the type of target audience: Family Guy, etc.


They also try to look at different perspective from characters, giving them personality, etc.


How some hypercasual games look at things

They look at IPM also but tend to focus on CPCs and CTRs. They have so many benchmarks that by looking at these early metrics they can typically tell what the other ones will be.


Often they don't even have a game and when they see good metrics, that's when they build the game.


Downstream metrics & Deceptive Ads

Deceptive ads show great front-end/TOF metrics but the downstream metrics are not as good.

DX ROAS depends on the game.


[💎@53:52] You need to know how the LTV curve looks like and then go down to the creative level to see how D1, D3, D7, D28 for example.


If you get a lot of players with low CPIs within the game, you still have a higher chance to convert them (even with a deceptive ad).


Google released a policy for deceptive ads but nobody knows when it's going to happen. Problem is bigger on Facebook especially when you are trying to set expectations for the players.


Creative Fatigue Management

When to retire a creative and when do you know how to resurrect and old retired creative?

  • No specific time before retiring, some creatives are "evergreen" and can work for several years. Especially if you iterate/update it. Watch for CTRs getting low. For some it can be a couple of days.
  • No specific time for resurrecting either

[💎@1:00:52] When it comes to creative fatigue you need to take a look at the combination of the creative and the targeting to make assumptions from that combination. A creative that showed fatigue might work well with a different audience.


Have benchmarks of CTRs/CPIs and if a creative goes below it is flagged. Example: CTR dropping below .5%. Be careful because CPIs rising might mean you're reaching the target audience.


Tools for Creatives Management

Looker, Tableau, etc. to visualize performance.

They built an in-house creative tool to try and evaluate all the campaigns on the creative level. If you're using Facebook Marketing Partners (something like Bidalgo) they usually have very good creative dashboards. Good for inspiration as well?


[💎@1:07:10] One thing that's important to measure the KPIs of the creative is the naming convention so you can clearly see what's inside the creative and if it's portrait, square, etc.


Facebook Data Changes Impact

Regarding Facebook stopping sending user-level data to studios. There should be workarounds, so not too worried.

It might require you to work with FB analytics to create LAL or working with Firebase for UAC.


Creative process is super important and not a lot of companies have that in place. Be careful how you implement but try to find the right balance of experiments.