If you want to have Facebook ad success, you cannot neglect the importance of having fresh creative coming into your ad account. What isn’t covered most of the time, is how to actually GET creative. It’s one thing to say “get new creative for us to test” and another thing to actually procure said creative.

If you have a small team, it can be really hard financially and logistically to have brand photoshoots every week, let alone hire a creative agency. So, how do you get the amount of creative you may need to keep things afloat in your ad account?

In our How to Audit Your Facebook Ad Creative post, we shared a few tips on how you can analyze the images that you’re using, iterate on them and test to see if they move the needle in your ad account. 

In this post we’ll go even deeper and introduce you to a formalized process called “the creative sprint”. This is a method that can create a system where you can communicate your needs, make small changes, and receive a constant stream of creative. All the while involving all relevant contributors to find success. 

What is a Creative Sprint?

A creative sprint is the process of extending the life of a piece of creative by making small iterations to an existing piece of content.This process is done by working together with all parties involved in the creative process to create and test new content with the aim to validate a hypothesis rooted in data. Think of it as a lean method of a brand photoshoot. When it comes to running successful Facebook ad campaigns, there are usually a few parties involved: the media buyer (the person running the ads), the creative team (graphic designs, videography team) and management (the person who manages relations between the two and communicates goals). 

This process is meant to brief the three parties on what is needed on the creative end, simplify the ask, and reduce friction. The point of a creative sprint is to focus on the easiest things you can do to make changes. This is especially useful for smaller teams. The focus is on extending the life of a piece of creative you already have vs procuring/creataing something new. For larger teams this process can still be utilized for more efficient tests. 

When Should You Use a Creative Sprint?

Generally you’ll want to conduct a creative sprint when you either have new concepts to introduce or when you’re looking to make iterations on content that’s preexisting.

Introducing New Concepts

If you’re looking to introduce a new concept to your audience, it’s important to understand that this is an intensive process. A key feature of a creative sprint is having something to iterate on based off of data. If you are introducing a new concept, you probably don’t have alot of data to support your hypothesis. Thus, this can be a longer and more intensive process than if you were to work off of an iteration.

We generally recommend using the creative sprint if you have a larger budget and a longer timeline. You can use this process to introduce new product lines, for holidays, or historically busy times of the year.

Iterating on Current Success

The power of a creative sprint is found in the iterative process. When looking to improve your results on Facebook, you’ll want to look at the pieces of content that have performed well in the past. The past can help predict your future performance. When we take content that has done well and make small changes to them we can test and see what elements exactly are contributing to their success and throw the weight of our efforts behind them.

Focusing on these elements will allow you to decrease the load on team members while also taking advantage of the easy wins. Iterating over and over again can leave room for some serious improvements over time. If you need help identifying what creative you should use to perform this process, take a look at How to Audit Your Facebook Ad Creative! We break down what metrics you should be looking for to determine good creative in that post.

How to Conduct a Creative Sprint

Hypothesis

Before performing a creative sprint you have to have a hypothesis or educated guess based on data. Are you seeing a trend in your facebook ad creative? Is a certain type of image or video working best for you? Do you believe that if you make more of it you can replicate your success? What metric are you hoping to improve with this creative sprint?

These are all questions you need to ask yourself before creating your brief. Ideally, you’ll be able to sum it up in a sentence or two. Remember that the creative briefs are supposed to be lean and communicate clearly so try to streamline your hypothesis. 

Here’s an example:

“Increasing the thumbstop ratio and maintaining the conversion rate will lead to more sales.”

Timeline

What makes creative sprints so effective is that they have a general timeline or runtime. This goes for both the time needed to create as well as the time required to actually run the content. You will need to look to the graphics team and have an idea of how long it’ll take to create the content so as to not make an unreasonable asks in terms of timeline.

You’ll also need to consult your media buying team to ask for their input on how long it’ll take to run a test successfully. Make sure you are taking into consideration the amount of creative you are asking for as well as your budget. 

We generally recommend 21 days, however this can vary if you’re spending more money. We say to take at least 7 days to conduct your test. Include dates in your brief. 

Here’s an example:

“Content Delivery Date: 3 Days – March 15”

“Estimated Run time: 14 Days”

Control & Our Ask

When conducting an iterative creative brief, you need to identify which piece of creative will be “Creative 0.” This will be your control. This is the piece of content you’ll be basing your iteration on. Remember to only ask for small tweaks and changes to this piece of content to gather findings.

Asking for drastic changes defeats the purpose of the creative sprint. This is supposed to be a swift process. Asking for dramatic changes can change the sprint into a marathon, and exhaust your design team. All work and no play makes your graphics team a tired… boy? Group of people? Well, you get the picture.

Our general rule of thumb is to ask for positional changes, thumbnail changes, background color changes, and copy (in image/video) changes. You can ask for logos to be added and or removed or to change the first 3 seconds of a video. Get creative with it (that’s the point)! Just ensure that these changes are small enough to be iterative and not a brand new piece of content. 

For Example: 

Video 1: Please change the thumbnail to a person holding the product. We’d like this to have a slightly blurred effect to give the appearance of a more authentic piece of content.

Video 2: Please change the headline in the video to “Rated ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ in Vanity Fair”. Please include a snapshot of the article in the first 3 seconds”

Brief

Finally you’ll need to take all of the above and include it in a brief. This gets set out to everybody involved in your Facebook ad process. We generally like to keep this brief short, 1-2 pages maximum. It may be beneficial to have a meeting about the brief to discuss the asks and ensure everyone is on the same page regarding the sprint.

Ask in explicit terms what you’re looking for. Don’t be afraid to make suggestions. You can go a little bit more into depth about the numbers of creative you need as well as their dimensions.

Report

After completing the test it’s very important to communicate the results with all team members involved in this process. Did this piece of creative work? Did this prove our hypothesis to be true or false? This’ll better equip folks with insights and create a baseline of understanding of what works and what doesn’t for brands.

This can work as a great stepping stone to discuss hypotheses for future sprints. At this point, the team members will be more aware of what is going on overall and it can provide a sense of comradery between the three teams. 

Sample Creative Sprint

So while we’ve talked about what this could look like and how to conduct the process of the sprint, what does it ACTUALLY look like? Below we’ll share some images that may give you an idea of how to conduct your own sprint.

What we can see from the images above is that we started off with Image 1. We’ll say that this image performed well and met our KPIs. With that knowledge we created a creative sprint to iterate off of it. The ask would be for 2 iterations on this image. The goal for this is to see if it can prove our hypothesis true or false. 

With Image 2 we asked for the image to be centered. With Image 3 we asked for all additional products to be removed from the photo and for only the product to be the central focus, we also asked for a background colour change. 

Looking at the two images you can see that not too much has changed but we’ve essentially created 2 additional pieces of content just by adjusting the original image incrementally. 

Conclusion

Whether your brand is small or larger you can benefit from conducting a creative sprint. It’s easy to look for drastic changes you can make to improve performance while forgetting about the small tweaks that can move you forward. Understand that the first few sprints may be disappointing. You may find that the iteration doesn’t perform as well or completely flops, but that is just a part of the process.

Once you complete a few sprints, you will be able to start trending in the right direction. The goal is to get 1% better every day and make the best use of the content that you have and increase your profits with Facebook ads.

If you’re looking for a team to manage your ads and perform creative sprints with you feel free to reach out to us at Take Some Risk. We’d be elated to help you with this process.