Best Practices

Creative Analytics 101: Everything you need to know

It's no secret that creative is one of your most potent growth levers in post-iOS-14 paid advertising. But don’t just take our word for it. Google found that creative drives 70% of a campaign's success – that's a significant number, to say the least.

However, marketers no longer have the luxury of tossing creative spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks. To truly drive success with creative, you must bridge the gap between the right brain and the left brain with creative analytics. 

In this guide, we will guide you through the fundamentals of using data insights to drive your creative, the challenges surrounding the practice, and how your marketing team can use creative analytics to ship more winning ads.

What is creative analytics?

Creative analytics is the organized method of gathering and studying the data related to marketing assets and ad creatives. Its purpose is to identify patterns and comprehend customer preferences by evaluating how your audience interacts with your creative.

In the past, brands would typically analyze creative performance using spreadsheets or custom dashboards. Today—you don't need to lose your mind with pivot tables and copy and paste creative links from Facebook Ads Manager. With creative analytics tools like Motion, it's never been easier to analyze your Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube ad performance.

For example, let's say your brand just launched a new paid ad campaign, and you want to know which ad formats (video, static imagery, etc.) are performing best.

To uncover these findings, you run a comparative analysis report that displays the return on ad spend (ROAS) for each ad format in your rotation. 

After analyzing the data, you find that video ads have the best ROAS, so you adjust your ad spend toward more video ads and, as a result, your brand sells more products. That's creative analytics in action.

3 benefits to using creative analytics for paid ads

Creative analysis is challenging but worthwhile. Brands that dedicate time to this task will see benefits including:

1. Clearer insights into consumer behavior

Creative analysis helps you identify which paid ads resonate with your target audience. By analyzing their interactions with your ads, you can identify their preferences and interests — helping you ship more targeted and personalized campaigns. For example, say you’re targeting Instagram users who liked at least one of your posts and notice they prefer UGC video ads with promo codes over static image ads for legacy products. As a result, you double down on UGC and influencer marketing to drive user engagement and sales.  

2. Improved ad campaign effectiveness 

Whether your brand is shipping new creative or looking to make minor improvements on existing ads, creative analysis provides the added clarity needed to make data-driven decisions that bolster campaign effectiveness. 

Building onto our example from the last section, let’s say your Instagram UGC campaigns were a huge success. Knowing short-form video performs well with your audience, you expand your UGC campaign to TikTok, broadening your reach and bolstering campaign effectiveness.      

3. Increases in ROI and ROAS from creative assets

The more effective your ad creatives are at captivating your audience, the better your ROI and ROAS. While shipping more winning ads is a goal for brands of all sizes, it's especially important for brands with limited marketing budgets. 

For example, Motion’s partner Fluency Firm — a full-stack marketing agency — ran a creative split test to help a client determine the impact of displaying its awards on ads. The test found that ads displaying awards had a 30% higher ROAS than those that did not — another insight that would be impossible to uncover without creative analytics. 

How does your creative analytics strategy stack up?

Optimizing your creative performance starts with asking yourself the right questions. By assessing the effectiveness of your current creative analytics strategy, you’ll identify any potential shortcomings in your journey to ship more winning ads. 

Where do you pull your data from?  

The first stage in creative analytics is gathering your ad data for further analysis. It’s important to ask yourself where you're pulling data from because if your data is spread across multiple platforms or vendors, it can be a trying process to retrieve it. 

Typically, brands will pull their ad performance data from the following sources:

  • Ad platform dashboards (Google Ads, Meta Business Suite): These dashboards measure performance metrics like reach, engagement, conversions, and more.
  • Analytics platforms (Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, Mixpanel): These are integration platforms for your ad accounts where you can track user demographics, analyze your funnel, and more.
  • Email marketing platforms (Mailchimp, Klaviyo, Sendlane): If you're running ads via email campaigns, these platforms provide insights into open rates, CTR, and conversions.
  • ecommerce platforms (Shopify, BigCommerce Magento): If your ads send traffic to a storefront operating on these platforms, they can provide data on product views, conversions, and revenue attributed to your ads.
  • Third-party ad tools (Google Data Studio, Tableau, Motion): These tools aggregate data from multiple ad platforms for comprehensive reporting.

Each of these metrics plays a critical role in determining the effectiveness of your creative assets. Without them, your creative reporting process will be based on partial data that doesn’t tell the whole story.

Is your data consolidated to increase visibility and insights? 

Do you compile your data and findings into spreadsheets, leave it in various ad platforms, or use a data analytics platform as your central hub?

Regardless of your brand's size, having your data spread across various platforms, tools, or vendors is a recipe for disaster — as the time spent trying to assemble and analyze that data can quickly eat into your bandwidth for other business objectives.

How much bandwidth do you spend on creative reporting? 

Speaking of bandwidth, while consistent creative reporting is incredibly valuable, it's also incredibly time-consuming.

The average media buyer spends 8 hours generating and presenting creative reports each week. That number can vary depending on the cleanliness of your data, which reporting tools you're using, and the size/scale of your company.

Brands that invest in leading creative analytics platforms will spend significantly less time on creative reporting. Meanwhile, brands that keep their data siloed across different platforms and rely on spreadsheets for reporting will spend considerably more time trying to generate the same insights.

Are all stakeholders gaining meaningful takeaways?

The end goal of all creative reporting efforts is to deliver easy-to-understand and actionable insights to stakeholders. If your findings are locked behind cluttered spreadsheets or pivot tables, it's doubtful your stakeholders are gaining meaningful takeaways — making your creative reporting efforts an exercise in futility. 

Fortunately, there are dedicated creative analytics platforms that specialize in delivering highly visual and easy-to-understand reports, but we’ll discuss that in a bit. 

3 common challenges in creative analytics

While creative analytics is essential in helping your brand ship more winning ads, there are several hurdles to overcome in your path to success. From significant time investments to overcoming cross-team inefficiencies, here are the most common challenges brands face:

1. Reporting is a time-consuming process

Time spent per month on creative reporting can vary widely, ranging from just a few hours to several dozen hours, depending on your workflow and tools.

Why is creative analytics such a time sink? Like any in-depth reporting process, creative analytics requires your team to consolidate your ad data and generate high-impact reports, preferably on a bi-weekly basis. 

If your ad data is scattered across many platforms or you rely on formula-heavy spreadsheets for reporting, your creative reporting process will be a significant time investment. 

 2. Getting your creatives and analysts to see eye-to-eye

Creative analytics is not a single-team effort. Both your media buyers and creatives play a crucial role in the process. The problem is getting your creatively-minded and analytically-minded teams to see eye-to-eye. 

Most creatives will take one look at a cluttered spreadsheet or pivot table and run the other way. Those who stuck around will be staring glassy-eyed at the numbers, struggling to gain any meaningful takeaways. 

This underscores the importance of generating visual reports that help all teams understand your findings regardless of data fluency.

3. Endlessly sifting through data to uncover actionable insights

When it comes to creative analytics, operational inertia is the silent killer. While platforms like Excel and Google Sheets help store ad data, their ability to uncover actionable insights (like thumb stop ratios or influencer attribution) leaves something to be desired. This is where dedicated creative analytics platforms come into play. 

How Motion can help your team overcome creative analytics challenges

Motion is a creative analytics platform used by ecom and DTC brands like Vuori, True Classic, The Farmer’s Dog, HexClad, and hundreds more. We bridge the gap between media buyers and creative teams with fast, visual reporting for your Meta, TikTok, and YouTube ads.

Motion helps brands unlock the growth potential of creative analytics in several ways:

  • Centralize your ad data using Meta, TikTok, YouTube, Google Analytics, and Northbeam integrations. No more consolidating your data from multiple platforms. 
  • Create evergreen reports that save you time, including top-performing creatives, comparative analysis, video iteration, and much more. 
  • Understand the findings with visually simplified reports all team members can understand. No more digging through spreadsheets to uncover actionable creative insights.
  • Sharing your insights with key stakeholders using easily shareable URLs that direct viewers to simplified reports.

What's next?

Creative analytics is invaluable for any brand looking to ship more winning ads and gain a competitive edge in the world of paid marketing. However, knowing the value of creative analytics is only one piece of the puzzle. 

If you want to discover how to effectively analyze your creative performance, start your free trial / Book a demo.  

Get a tour of Motion’s creative analytics platform. We’ll even build free sample reports for you using live data from your TikTok, Meta, and YouTube ad accounts.

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