The performance creative framework used by Caraway to scale growth

Caraway, a leading direct-to-consumer home goods brand that is well known for its cookware product line, has experienced explosive growth with the rise of in-home cooking during the pandemic within the last year. A brief look at their FB Ad Library will reveal beautifully designed ad creatives with a brand voice and aesthetic that is consistent across their organic and paid social content.

We sat down with Senior Growth Manager at Caraway, Miranda Johnson, to get an insider perspective on the creative workflow of her brand and performance teams that are behind the immense success of Caraway’s creatives that convert.

What does the internal process for designing creatives look like?

At Caraway, the brand and design teams work closely with performance marketing starting from the initial ideation stage.

Everyone is encouraged to share their ideas and concepts as they come across them in an #adspiration Slack channel. During weekly team meetings, they get together to brainstorm creative ideas, prioritize the backlog of requests to execute on and review existing ads to discuss what’s working, what’s not working and what aspects of ad variations to iterate upon. This meeting is heavily focused on reviewing the data and letting it decide the “winners” to guide decision making. Creative testing is key - the team at Caraway is heavily focused on identifying winning combinations of video vs static, colours, landing page version across various segments of their audience.

During this meeting, they also assess their existing resources to determine whether to hire someone to produce content and in-house post-production or leverage existing asset variations in new campaigns.

On aligning priorities between the performance and brand teams

Miranda believes that while different teams can have assumptions and underlying hypotheses on what types of creatives would work best, the data is the key factor that guides decision making. While the creatives have to be on brand, she empowers her team by sharing creative performance data to enable them to make creative decisions.

When a concept is agreed upon and a shoot is scheduled, the brand team sends the performance team a shortlist to ensure that the creative direction is aligned across 3 key domains:

  • Placement types (, stories, reels)
  • Distribution medium (FB ads, IG ads, landing page)
  • Tone of voice and style (UGC messaging will differ from high-production creatives)

The importance of identifying attributes to test and setting up appropriate ad naming conventions to measure results

At the ideation phase, the team decides the direction of the creatives based on the attributes that they’re looking to test. It’s crucial to understand the importance of what you want to know and using specific naming conventions to be able to measure it. At Caraway, some examples include testing by colour, format type (video or static), concepts, landing page versions and so forth.

Using Motion’s Comparative Analysis Report, Miranda is able to seamlessly dive into specific attributes of what is working and use it as a guiding point in team meetings to recap performance and set the direction for further creative iterations.

Key performance metrics to determine top ad performance drivers

Miranda’s team uses ROAS (return on ad spend), CPA (cost per acquisition) and revenue driven from specific ads as the primary metrics to assess ad performance.

On a more granular level, the questions that they ask themselves are based on the attributes that they selected to test for those specific creatives such as which colour performs better in ads or which ad format - static or video - performs better. They determine “winners” based on comparing which of the variations had a higher click-through rate and factoring in the conversion rate on the landing page.

How to create buy-in from internal or external stakeholders to put more budget behind ad creative testing

At the very beginning stage, Miranda recommends building a case to have the relevant stakeholders take your idea more seriously. Attempt to quantify the impact of the idea you’re proposing and tie in to the objectives/goals of the stakeholder as this will help them visualize the impact of your idea on helping them push the needle on the metrics that they care about. 

Her go-to formula is starting small by taking one concept of an ad and trying to determine what exactly you’re trying to educate the user on and doing so while making it fit in with the brand. Start with a small budget and test one iteration of it, analyze and share results to let the data speak for itself. From there, you can run further tests and invest resources in what works.

Leveraging cross-channel learnings to boost channel performance

One of the quick wins to come out of the weekly meetings is the discussion about what type of copy and creative is working by funnel stage on one channel and using that as inspiration to implement across other channels to boost channel performance. The team also reviews what pieces of organic content (eg. across email or social) are driving the most engagement and repurposes it for ads.

Connect with Miranda Johnson, Senior Growth Manager at Caraway, on LinkedIn.

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Meghna Saraf
Marketing, Motion

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