One question we get repeatedly is: “How often should I update creative?”
And as always, the answer is: “It depends.”
To help you, we’ve put together a quick guide to follow for how often to update your creative collateral.
Why it’s important to update creative
The primary reason to update creative is this: humans are prone to whitewashing their world.
What we mean is that our brains are trained to pay attention to what’s shiny and new. Why? Because that’s how our brains have developed.
For marketers though, this means that to capture attention creative design needs to be refreshed regularly regardless of medium.
What does “regular” mean?
That’s the million dollar question, and it depends on a lot of factors. Before we get into specific timeframes, there are some things to consider when you’re building and deploying creative:
How expensive is this piece?
A Facebook ad is relatively cheap compared to a TV commercial or a billboard. When you’re building creative, your creative costs should be proportional to the cost of the medium. That is, if a Facebook ad costs $0.10 per impression and a billboard costs $10,000, then your billboard creative should be more expensive to produce.
How easy is it to change?
Imagine that you spot a mistake. How easy is it to correct? Again, if we’re thinking about a billboard vs a Facebook ad, the former is very difficult to change whereas the latter is a 10-minute job.
These two questions should inform your creative refresh rate. The more you spend, and the harder it is to fix, the less frequently you should refresh it.
Creative update best practices
When looking at the most common channels our clients use, some best practices emerge in regards to updating creative:
The general rule of thumb is you should refresh your creative once a month if your campaign has a low per day spend, and once every two weeks if the spend is high.
The reason behind this timing is most Facebook campaigns have a similar trajectory. They peak early, and then you get fewer and fewer clicks over time as people get used to the ad/less ideal prospects are served. Once that leveling off happens, it’s time to refresh. You reach that point faster the more impressions you serve.
Out of home ads
Out of home ads (OOH), like billboards, should be refreshed depending on their goal. A psychologist named Daniel Kahneman’s came up with an idea called “thinking fast and slow.” When applied to marketing, rational, hard-hitting sales messages are the “fast” and emotive, brand-building messages are the “slow”.
When applying this idea to OOH ads, rational/pricing messages should be run on a short cycle (max six months) and emotive, brand-building messages should be run on a longer cycle: 6-12 months.
Direct mail creative is perhaps less critical than other mediums. It usually follows the 60/30/10 rule.
60% of success comes from the list you have.
30% comes from a relevant, compelling offer.
10% is the creative copy and design you use.
That means that your refresh rate can be a little more relaxed here. In general, when you start to see a campaign drop off in effectiveness, it’s time to change it up.
We recommend changing creative whenever you change you offer. Even if it’s a small change, it’ll stop you fading into the background.
Keeping your creative fresh and relevant is critical for grabbing and keeping your customer’s attention. Otherwise, your laboriously created collateral fades into the background.
The key to staying on top is to tailor your update schedule to the medium you’re in, based on effectiveness, channel costs and best practices. In general, it’s better to update digital assets more frequently than traditional advertising.
At the end of the day though, the old adage holds true: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Need help strategically updating your creative? Give us a call today!