Brands are always looking for their next big creative idea, the creative that will inspire customers, and potential ones, to choose their brand.
Often brand leaders rely on insight from past campaigns to plan for future ones. According to Heather Kehrberg, director of global creative success at Amazon Ads, “While past campaign insights are helpful and they should be considered, they can also be quite limiting for advertisers in terms of preventing them from trying something different that may reach a new set of customers.”
A more effective approach is to take a customer-centric view to develop campaign creative that resonates with the audience in the moment. Kehrberg explained the term and what it means to brands and customers: “A customer-centric approach to developing creative is one that goes beyond outcomes from past campaigns to also encompass scaled creative insights, specifically those related to particular creative elements. It then utilizes experimentation to determine what resonates and performs best.”
With this approach, marketers can understand how their audiences are likely to respond to different creative aspects before moving into asset production, allowing investments to be better informed and helping to make positive outcomes more likely.
Customer-centric creative is informed by insights and experimentation
The concept of customer-centric creative challenges marketers to seek more insights than just what’s gathered from analyzing past campaign performance.
A customer-centric approach brings a variety of audience insights into the process. “We need to understand everything from shopping behaviors, media consumption and trending topics, but we also need to go deeper and look at creative-specific insights,” explained Kehrberg. “These can help identify the best creative types to use for different goals, like awareness or purchase, and they inform decisions about creative elements like imagery, headlines and colors to use in order to really resonate with a specific audience.”
A solid place to start is always with a clear goal or KPI. That goal then informs which scaled insights and past campaign learnings are most relevant and enables marketers to hypothesize what kind of creative and creative elements will perform best toward the goal.
“Then you have to produce those creative versions based on your hypothesis and conduct creative experimentation,” said Kehrberg. “Once you see what’s working best, you can shift more of the campaign budget into those creative versions.”
A customer-centric approach drives outcomes
“There’s not only one type of creative that comes from this approach, which is the beauty of it,” said Kehrberg. “The creative should be very specific to your brand and to the objectives you’re hoping to achieve with your campaign. It shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all, but more so tailored to the specific audiences that you’re hoping to reach.”
For example, using this approach, Kehrberg’s team at Amazon Ads worked with an Amazon seller in 2021 to run a consideration and conversion-driven campaign for artificial Christmas trees. With many other advertisers featuring similar products during the holiday season, this seller wanted to show customers how their product and brand were unique.
By consulting the brand’s past campaign learnings and scaled insights, the decision was made to include a tailored headline in the creative instead of the previous auto-generated headline, focusing on the product attributes customers indicated were most valuable to them in reviews. As a result, the seller saw a 75% uplift in detail page view rate, and a 140% uplift in return on ad spend.
In another case last year, an advertiser in the beverage category had been running a conversion-driven, always-on campaign for coffee products for several months. The creative had an auto-generated headline for its dynamic ad product pulled directly from the Amazon product detail page.
To avoid ad fatigue, Kehrberg’s team used scaled creative insights, which suggested that the campaign would have better outcomes if it used the same ad product and included a brand logo and a tailored headline. The team then used past campaign learnings to inform the messaging of that headline. After making those changes, the advertiser saw a 250% increase in ROAS.
“This was an example of leveraging insights to inform a hypothesis and then going bigger once you know what’s working for your brand,” said Kehrberg.
Customer-centric creative focuses on determining what truly resonates with a particular audience, and it’s an approach from which all marketers can learn.
“It requires embracing an approach that uses multiple insights instead of simply doing what the next best data point tells you to do,” Kehrberg added. “The combination of scaled creative insights with brand-level learnings from previous campaigns and creative experimentation will help brands achieve their campaign goals and deliver better creative.”
The outcomes and results described in this article may not reflect typical results. For average uplifts per locale and KPI, please refer to the creative type insights interactive guide.