Creative Combinations That Work

Traditionally, marketers have leveraged print ads to prime consumers or primetime TV spots to remind consumers of a brand’s message. But the success of a campaign ultimately hinges on using the right creative in the right sequence to achieve the best results, whether the metrics for success are driving consumer action or brand awareness.

Past research, like “The Value of Storytelling on Facebook for Marketers” explored the power of priming and reminding with online photo ads as consumers “walked” down the marketing funnel. How can an advertiser incorporate video within effective online campaigns? To help understand the role of video, Facebook Marketing Science analyzed how sequenced photo and video campaigns drove transactions.

Right creative for the right impact

Over an 8-day period in November 2014, Facebook helped an advertiser run a test that compared 3 sequencing strategies held over two 4-day phases across both desktop and mobile News Feed in the US. Each group was targeted with a single ad, either video or static (link ad), during each phase:

  • Video ad followed by static ad (photo is the same as the thumbnail of the video)
  • Static ad followed by video ad (same ads as previous group but different order)
  • Sequenced series of 2 static ads (first photo is the same as other groups)

We also had a separate control group that didn’t see any ads from this advertiser. To determine the impact, Facebook measured differences in consumer conversions by each sequencing strategy.


creative combinations that work


The effectiveness of each strategy was measured by comparing to the control group the additional people who visited their website and the additional people who spent with the advertiser online. All 3 techniques performed by driving more visitors to the advertiser’s website than the control, but the sequenced series of 2 photo-only link ads was the most effective. The photo-only link ad sequence outperformed the other strategies on driving unique traffic with a 75% higher likelihood than the control.

Beyond attracting visitors to its website, the advertiser’s main metric of success was driving online transactions. In this study, the combination of a video ad followed by a static image drove the most impact on unique conversions. In fact, this group was 31%more likely to make an online transaction than the control group.

What marketers need to know

The digital medium enables brands to study how using the same creative in unique sequences can lead to more effective outcomes. But creative sequencing strategies are relative—there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach. Marketers should evaluate for themselves the “right” combination for their brands and their key business outcomes.

Prioritize overall campaign objectives for creative impact: Before creating a campaign, marketers should identify the metrics that matter most to their business objectives; in this case, the advertiser’s objectives were increasing sales and growing brand equity. To create the strongest campaigns, all of a campaign’s components—including creative, target audience and bid type—must align to the same objective.

Measure, learn and evolve your marketing: As media evolves, identifying what the best strategy is to fulfill a brand’s objectives is not always a clear process. For example, video was becoming more prominent in this advertiser’s online campaigns. How could its marketing team use an expanding creative palette online while adopting and adapting the traditional marketing concepts of priming and reminding? These questions led this advertiser to conduct this study and test the effectiveness of each strategy. Through testing, the advertiser learned how to most effectively drive transactions, gained an evolved understanding of marketing and is now informed about planning future campaigns.

Combine creative for impact: Video has a role in telling your brand story, but the strongest campaigns use a combination of relevant ad formats, such as static and moving imagery, to drive key business objectives. Creatively telling a story with static and video ads in a variation of sequences resonated differently with consumers, and each sequence resulted in attracting more visitors to its site or driving purchase consideration.


Source: Facebook, results based on a test of a US marketer’s 8-day campaign in Nov 2014.
Note 1: Statistically significant at the 0.01 level.