​Successful creative strategists are skilled at blending analytics and creative ideas to create compelling advertisements. To develop a creative strategy, a strategist must first understand the brand's market. This understanding is critical in defining the "why" behind the brand and differentiating it from competitors. When placed side by side with a competitor's ad, the ad with the most compelling "why?" is more likely to result in a sale.
Creative analysis is even more powerful when applied to competitor research. Understanding a rival's advertising campaign in depth can reveal opportunities to outperform them. It also ensures that your product consistently meets or exceeds industry standards.
Now, the big question is…
Where to start ad creative research and compile your creative strategy?
Step 1: Research, Research, Research
When building a new ad concept, you come up with two-three main themes with maybe three different variations, and you’re looking for that one winner. But, how do you even find the main theme? What are the most effective ad concepts out there? The short way to do this is analyzing what’s currently out there, what’s trending and what’s your competitors’ best practices with concepts.
Analyzing their top ads will help you develop your own creative findings. There are lots of brands that have already tested a variety of concepts — you will save your team time, budgets, and creative resources if you utilize those learnings. If you're reviewing multiple ads, you might even notice a pattern in the concept!
Top platforms to discover high-performing ad creatives
Step 2: Build a Concept
So, the first time you're looking at your saved ads or competitor's ad, try to understand the concept.
- What is the central message of the ad?
- What benefits is it highlighting? How can I translate this for my product?
- What pain points or problems is it talking about? What pain points is my product solving?
- What is the main idea of the creative?
Once you have broken it down, translate this into a similar concept that includes your product and suits your target audience.
Step 3: The Importance of a Good Hook
With ad creatives, one thing always remains true: a good hook is a powerful tool. A hook captures the audience's attention, piques their interest, and makes them receptive to the message being conveyed. Therefore, it is crucial to pay attention to the hook in an ad's first three to five seconds, which is the most crucial part of the ad.
Changing these initial seconds can significantly impact an ad's performance. A UGC-style unboxing or split screens are just a few examples of what could be used as a hook.
Watch an ad frame by frame to discover its hook. It's easy to miss, but whatever grabs the audience's attention and directs them to take action, even if they didn't intend to, is the hook. Understanding the hook's alchemy is critical if you're genuinely inspired by a competitor's ad. Observe factors like:
- What visuals are the competitors using for the hook?
- What's the text layover?
- What's the audio on the hook?
- What kind of emotion does it provoke?
Use similar hooks in your next concept to find a winning ad for your product!
Step 4: Analyze The Structure
When analyzing competitor ads, one approach is to identify different sections within the ad. For instance, the ad may begin by introducing a problem (part 1), followed by a suggested solution (part 2), then a demonstration of the solution (part 3), and ultimately, a call-to-action (part 4).
Assuming your competitor is data-driven and uses creative analysis, it is likely that these parts are intentionally placed in that order based on past performance. As such, the order of these sections is critical in maximizing the ad's impact and achieving its desired outcome.
When watching the ad for the third time, it is essential to think about the following:
- How many parts does the ad have?
- Why are they stacked the way they are?
- How do they flow from one to another, e.g. problem, solution, demo or solution, demo, CTA, etc.?
Step 5: The Visuals
Every detail in an ad is chosen carefully, and visuals are a significant part of that. To understand how specific visuals in a competitor's ads connect with the audience, it is essential to analyze them closely. If your competitor uses creative analysis, they have likely conducted tests and interactions before landing on the winning version.
When analyzing the visuals of an ad, consider the following:
- What kind of shots are they using (e.g., group shots, product shots, illustrations, etc.)?
- Do they use green screen effects?
- Do they include the TikTok questions box?
- Is it an unboxing clip? Is it a demonstration?
- Is there a lot of talking heads?
This stage is not just a study of traditional visuals. It's essential to consider what captions are used and how they are placed. Are they using TikTok native fonts, Facebook and Instagram native fonts, or brand fonts? Are they dynamic or animated in some way?
Together, all visual components amplify the ad's appeal, and analyzing these components in a competitor's ad can provide valuable insights. By understanding the visual components of successful ads, you can create your ad strategy to maximize the impact on your audience.
Still not sure how to compile a winning ad brief for creators? Talk to us today, and plug a fully-stacked team of UGC experts into your brand!