For decades, it’s been one of the biggest question marks when it comes to the performance of campaigns: what type of creative will have the most impact? An image, a cinemagraph maybe? Or will a video be more impactful and effective? Now, research conducted by Greenhouse and supported by Facebook shows that marketing managers can rest assured that any of these formats will deliver an equal amount of positive incremental sales and additional buyers.
Angela van der Velden (Strategy Lead at Greenhouse)
Siem Peters (Data Scientist at Greenhouse)
Today, every online media euro spent is accounted for, there are only so many factors you can influence to get the best possible performance. You can have the best top notch performance strategy and tooling, but that will only get you so far. A Nielsen study from 2017 showed that one factor that has a huge impact on performance is creative, so far it’s always been missing in marketing research. When over 56% of digital sales contribution can be attributed to the creative that is used.
Angela van der Velden, Strategy Lead at Greenhouse: ‘We hadn’t seen any aggregated learnings in the market on the sales impact of a specific type of creative. So, we felt that it was our job to bring new data and insights about this to our clients and the market.’ With this goal in mind, the social and data team at Greenhouse set off on a journey with support from the Facebook EMEA Marketing Science team to research the efficiency of different creative formats on their performance.
The results of this groundbreaking research show that the Facebook family of apps (Facebook, Instagram) is able to generate an equal amount of incremental sales across verticals and product categories, using either a static image, GIF or video. ‘There really is no significant difference between the impact of the three formats,’ says Angela van der Velden. ‘Which is also good news, if you have a light creative & media budget at your disposal.’ Siem Peters, Data Scientist at Greenhouse continues: ‘As our research shows, you do not lose performance power by going with a static image. All creative formats showed better sales and visitor stats than the control group, who hadn’t seen any of the creatives.'
Greenhouse set about running a meta study on the effectiveness of different creative types in relation to conversion/sales goals over the course of 1.5 years and 20+ campaigns across a wide variety of verticals. In total, 20 different clients participated in the study, racking up a total number of 24 campaigns. Van der Velden: ‘These campaigns have been tested in Multicell Conversion Lift Studies. By doing these studies we’re able to investigate specific client hypotheses; in this case different creative types. And compare test cell results against a control group (people who have not seen any ads of this campaign). The difference between test and control group is called ‘Lift’. Those experiments help clients to learn and understand the incremental business impact caused by a specific campaign and chosen strategy.’
What this means for your next Facebook campaign: mix it up!
Make sure to produce a variety of assets (square, gif, static, cinemagraph, video, mobile first, vertical, etc.) to maximise sales effects. Even in small campaigns with limited budgets and smaller audiences, we always recommend using at least two different versions to let the platform optimise towards people most likely to complete an action. In our study, we saw indications that the auction optimises different creatives to different audiences; potential buyers who are most likely to convert via a static creative versus potential buyers who are more likely to convert via video creatives, and so forth. This means focussing on a single creative asset strategy will make you miss out on potential audiences, and ultimately, potential buyers.
The Facebook platform offers many solutions, from simple A/B testing to incrementality tests like the Conversion Lift Study which we have used here. A very interesting way to gain insights, develop campaigns more efficiently, and start learning with measurement.
If you’d like to know more about this Greenhouse/Facebook research, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org