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Creative Considerations for Paid Social.

May 18, 2022 / Reading Time: 3 minutes /
Simon Hanlon
Digital Designer

Creative is often overlooked by many and can easily become an afterthought (yes I have a chip on my shoulder!). This is understandable as many digital designers have become order takers and pixel pushers; very rarely demonstrating their true potential. As creators we have so much more to offer including processes and frameworks which can contribute to performance. Sadly, often, we are brought in too late with little time to make any sort of impact.

Luckily at Clicky the creative team is involved from the start. We are a vital part of our clients success and we consistently contribute value to every project we work on. With this being the case we have been able to test multiple processes enabling us to develop frameworks that are used collaboratively across teams and with our partners.

As a digital designer and motion graphics specialist, my focus is creative for paid social and what considerations need to be taken when creating ad sets and then how to test them.

With that in mind I would like to share with you four vital considerations when preparing your creative. Hopefully this will demonstrate to the non-believers how important creative is and what goes into creating those high performing ads you run.

Creative Art board and Adobe After Affects example email

By considering each of the below, you should be on your way to exciting and effective paid social creative!

The word count

Copywriters make design easy. Great copy brings the creative to life! The relationship between the two teams at Clicky is a bond like no other (Yin and Yang, bangers and mash, Ant and Dec). 

When writing copy for social, there are many factors to consider.

From a design perspective we are consistently talking about word count. With the optimal length of social ads being 15 seconds, we only have so much time to get our message across. This is where time and word count collide – how many words can someone read within 15 seconds? We discovered that the average person can read 3.33 words per second. With some complex maths, I calculated that in 15 seconds the average person can read 49.95 words. 

Ads need to be scroll-stopping and ensure the audience can consume all of the important information from the get go. I like to give them an extra second or two on the initial message to ensure they can follow the rest. Meaning that 15 second ads should feature no more than 43.29 words.


The framework

But what do you write about? How do you structure your content? How will creative know what you are trying to achieve with this section of copy? We use a framework from Google called A B C D – Attention, Brand, Connect and Direct. 

ABCD creative framework

This way, we have a consistent story arc to our ads where we can understand clearly what we want to achieve in each section. Not only that, it enables us to understand at what part of the video are people engaging or dropping off. 

There are many reasons why we use this technique and many complementary elements that make this technique much more than a communication tool between copywriter and designer. Take a look at the documentation Google have put together here.

We have very cleverly created a spreadsheet that calculates our word count for each of our framework sections (A B C D) and will then give you a total length for the ad. 


The creative

Once we have our copy, it’s time to say farewell to our close friends, the copywriter and say hello to the Adobe Creative Suite (is it even called that any more?). 

We need to visualise our ideas so that we can demonstrate them to the client. You can use many different tools to create storyboards and the artwork for your creative but I believe Adobe XD is the unsung hero of creative for paid social. It is a great tool that can be combined with Photoshop and Illustrator to create really stunning ads. 

Did you know that you can export your artboards directly from Adobe XD to After Effects meaning once you have sign off you can get straight to animating with two clicks.

My pro tip for Adobe XD is to ensure you set your artboards to 1920 x 1920 ensuring you have safe area of 1080 x 1080, this way you can export your artwork in multiple formats for varying platforms (portrait, landscape and square). Templating truly is the way forward.


The testing

So you have your copy and your creative has been signed off, it’s time to click the “Export to After Effects” but have you organised your artboards so that the design can be templated? 

Templates make testing easier, you have a starting point, something to compare against and structure for future ads. Ensuring you can easily adjust copy, colours, logo placement, imagery etc is vital. Rapid and frequent testing is so important meaning your artwork should be easily adjustable. 

One way of doing this is to break each section down into individual artboards and label them as Scenes. Once imported into After Effects, grouping your sections into scenes makes it easier to reposition within the timeline enabling you to create multiple variations as the data comes in. This technique means you are able to adjust the timing of each scene ensuring to designate the right about of time to each section.

If you would be interested in discussing how you can enhance your creative strategy to amplify social performance, get in touch.


Speak to a specialist about your creative or social strategy today.

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