MAGNAYahooAdEffectivenessMedia placement and creative work hand in hand when it comes to effective advertising strategies. A new study by MAGNA Media Trials and Yahoo set out to understand the role that creative quality plays in ad effectiveness, and the elements that contribute to quality creative. Creative, the Performance Powerhouse found that while media placement helps marketers find consumers where they are, creative quality was responsible for 56% of purchase intent, illustrating the strong performance of both tactics as they work together. The study suggests that marketers can greatly benefit from making small improvements to their creative in order to optimize ad performance, while also driving brand quality and trust.

The study findings also suggest that marketers should be optimizing their media across devices, such as taking advantage of the mobile mindset by ensuring compelling brand propositions and calls-to-action (CTAs). On desktop/laptop, brands should consider prioritizing imagery to attract attention on the larger screen size and consider including people in ads to more effectively connect with consumers.

Additional key findings of Creative, the Performance Powerhouse include:

  • Poor creative can make or break ad memorability: Creative quality leads to +23% aided ad-recall, which drops to +2% for ads with poor creative quality.
  • Strong visuals draw in consumers with the propensity to buy: Those in-market for the product are much more likely to notice (+20% lift) and enjoy (+13% lift) ads with improved visuals, such as a human presence, product images, or prominent logo placement. 
  • The larger canvas of desktop benefits from optimized imagery: Improved imagery on desktop leads to high search intent (+23% lift), as well as improved message association (+50% lift).
  • Ads with more informative messaging are seen for a longer timeframe and prompt next steps on mobile: Ads with explicit brand propositions stay on screen +8 seconds longer and prompt consumers to look for deals (+32% lift) and consider the brand (+27% lift).  
  • Improving the call-to-action drives interest and action: Improving the call-to-action with direct messaging and strong design can result in many positive outcomes, including piquing consumer interest in the product (+11% lift); likelihood to visit the brand’s website (+41% lift), and likelihood to look for offers/deals (+77% lift).

“When we began this study, we really wanted to emphasize that marketers shouldn’t let creative fall to the wayside in their marketing strategies because it plays an integral role in helping brands stand out and shaping opinions,” said Kara Manatt, EVP, Managing Director, Intelligence Solutions at MAGNA, the intelligence and investment arm of IPG Mediabrands. “Media placement and utilizing creative to reach the right audiences are equally important in successful advertising campaigns, but no amount of great media can perform well if creative is mediocre.”

“Creative is a fundamental element for the success of any marketing campaign,” said Elizabeth Herbst-Brady, Chief Revenue Officer, Yahoo. “When paired with premium placement, optimized targeting, and strategic timing, the message is amplified and consumers are more compelled to not only recall the ad, but also to take action.”

The study surveyed 4,100 respondents across 61 metrics, and tested brands spanning three industry verticals including auto, food delivery service and CPG. The study tested display ads with a variety of attributes across desktop/laptop and mobile devices. The types of ads tested per brand were control ads, base ads, and ads with optimized creative. Variables used in the optimized ad types were improved imagery, enhanced call-to-action, more informative messaging, and all creative enhancements.

The full study can be found here.