When to Refresh Creative: Optimal Campaign Timing from Awareness to Conversion

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Campaign creative is one of the most powerful ways to communicate a brand’s ideas and values, but it can easily grow stale or irrelevant, causing audiences to lose interest. To better captivate consumers and drive conversions, many marketers will tailor and sequence their messaging. But knowing exactly when creative is ready for a refresh can be a challenge. Proper timing is paramount to campaign success, and our research found that advertisers should pay attention to two factors: seasonality and where a consumer is in the purchase journey.

How Seasonality Affects Performance

Seasonality plays an important role in the campaign process. Designing the right creative for the right moment can drive engagement and increase relevancy with your target audience. As marketers, it’s important to understand the impact social advertising has on incremental growth across seasons.

To test the advertising impact, we established a baseline of factors that could affect conversion, such as holidays, product releases, and yearly trends. In this analysis, we were able to see the impact of social ad campaigns above the baseline. We discovered that maximizing advertising during seasonal peaks drives a lasting impact on conversions. Consumers become highly engaged with brands during seasonal highs, and the companies that secure shopper interest during those periods will retain it long beyond the peak times.

The impact varied, however, based on the type of good or service being advertised. One of our retail advertisers, for example, has a peak season that runs from fall to winter. Social ads run during that in-season window accounted for the majority of their annual incremental marketing conversions, contributing 33% more conversions per impression compared to campaigns in the off-season. The results are even more significant in the automotive industry, where consideration is high. One of our auto advertisers saw 81% of conversions from social advertising come during their primary season.

The results from both of these industries show that seasonality amplifies the effects of social advertising. Dynamic creative offerings allow brands to customize their creative based on seasonal factors and should be a key consideration in every brand’s creative development process. But it’s not enough to build your advertising plan around seasonal trends and events – you also have to think about individual consumers and where they are on their purchase journey. By factoring in both seasonality and funnel stage, you’ll be able to determine the right moments in time to refresh creative and optimize conversions.

Messaging Along the Marketing Funnel

Sequential messaging campaigns feature a mix of ad creative that’s designed to guide customers along the marketing funnel. Optimal campaign length differs for each messaging stage, so we ran a test to see what that messaging window would look like for three advertiser objectives: branding, consideration, and conversion. We tested each of those funnel groups with different levels of ad retention to determine how many weeks each type of creative should optimally run. By looking at the relationship between each metric and messaging category at different ad retention levels, we were able to identify the campaign lengths with the strongest relationships and develop our final results.

We found that branding had the longest ad retention window, with an optimal range of 3-4 weeks for driving conversions. It takes time and repeated exposure to build up awareness of a brand, which is why this stage requires the longest advertising window. Consideration messaging saw more intermediate impact, with a 2-3 week optimal range. Conversion-focused creative saw the most immediate impact, with ranges up to one week proving optimal for driving conversions. There’s already a relationship in place between the advertiser and consumer when targeting for conversion, which gives this stage the shortest optimal window. By reaching your consumer when they’re in a purchase-focused mindset, you can use promotions and time-sensitive language to drive them to conversion quickly, which also results in a short messaging window.

When planning your next campaign, consider which stage of the funnel you’re building creative for and use the research above to optimize the timing and increase conversions. Spend the off-season testing your campaign ranges to see if these optimal campaign length work for your brand. Allocate 3-4 weeks for branding campaigns, followed by 2-3 weeks of consideration, and finally up to a week to drive consumers to convert. Once you know if these benchmarks work for your brand, you can plan ahead for promotions and campaigns so that you’re ready to enter the conversion stage right at your brand’s peak season.

How Often Should You Refresh Creative

When it comes to creative, getting the right messaging and timing is paramount to the success of a campaign. Most advertisers already know to refresh creative in the runup to their industry’s seasonal periods – whether that’s planned sales, holidays, or major events – to maximize campaign conversions. But it’s not always obvious when to start that refresh, how long to run it, or how to customize creative to get the most out of seasonal timing. Now, with data from thousands of our advertiser campaigns, we have two key takeaways to help you get the most out of seasonal creative refreshes:

  • Update brand and awareness messaging 3-4 weeks prior to major seasonal periods, refresh consideration messages 2-3 weeks before, and update conversion messaging up to one week prior. The varying message types require different campaign windows to influence conversions.
  • Embrace seasonality by leveraging dynamic creative that is customized to the seasons, conditions, and events in your different ad targeting regions.

See More: Why Brands Need Creative That’s Native to Social Platforms