As a part of the Marketing Intelligence team, Sylwia's role as Analytics Specialist allows her to combine a passion for problem solving and continual learning with data analysis and interpretation. Always eager to expand her perceptions, you can often find this bibliophile's nose buried in a book, occasionally coming up for air to play a game of chess or to head out into the wilderness for some back-country camping.

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Tips for Better Creative Asset Management & Reporting

How is the creative performing? This is one question in the media agency world that can sometimes strike fear into the heart of a specialist. In our world, ‘Creative assets’ refers to the various file types used in an advertising campaign, including image, audio, and video files, and as any marketer will attest, at some point stakeholders will want to know one or more of the following:

  • Which creative performed the best/worst in my campaign?
  • Which creative performed the best/worst across all my campaigns?
  • How did the creatives perform among specific audience segments?
  • What insights from these best/worse performing creatives can I take back to my creative team to implement?

The ability to identify best/worse-performing creative assets within a single channel can often be found within the ads platforms themselves. The Google Ads Predefined Ads report and  Facebook Ads Reporting allow you to analyze the visual and text elements of your ads against a variety of metrics. However, the real challenge for marketers is to identify the reasons behind a specific creative’s success (or failure) and draw insights that can be leveraged by stakeholders going forward.

When multiple campaign messages and creative assets are in-market, successfully measuring creative performance can quickly become a daunting task. However, there are some simple steps that can be implemented to streamline the creative management process, making it easier to garner insights.

1. Be Present in Creative Concept Launch

Having line-of-sight prior to receiving the final assets can impact not only overall campaign performance, but it also impacts the efficiency of a workflow when setting up the campaign and how effectively creative insights can be collected. Being present during a creative-concept launch allows marketers to reinforce any learnings about the creative assets that occurred from previous campaigns (and even just channel best practices) prior to spending time and money on production. It is also the opportunity to identify what components of the creatives will be tested and assessed;  whether it be call-to-action button color, video length, or logo placement.

2. Create a Taxonomy for Digital Assets

With the volume of assets that even one campaign can produce, names like ‘version1.png’ or ‘facebook-video.mp4’ will only result in time wasted searching through files. Consider establishing a file-naming structure that can be utilized across all campaigns and clients; thinking about what components are meant to be searchable, which are administrative, which are descriptive, and which would be redundant. In addition to having a file naming convention, also implement a process and dictionary for adding metadata to creative assets. Having pre-defined tags built into the metadata will save you the time and headache of trying to categorize assets on your own later down the line.

3. Establish a System for Storing & Organizing Creatives

Execution of this step can look different depending on the size and software budget of your organization. Commonly, larger companies will utilize some sort of Digital Asset Management (DAM) Software to safely store and manage assets. DAMs, and more specifically Creative Asset Management platforms, typically include one or more of the following: secure cloud-based storage, metadata search functionalities, file version control, and workflow integrations. 

However, if a DAM is out of scope, creative assets can still be organized using folders within a cloud storage system: where assets are stored and shared from a single location, and utilize features such as metadata labeling

When generating a folder hierarchy and structure, it’s important to take into account the needs of the various teams that would access these files. This includes thinking about:

  • What is the key feature of the asset that categorizes it in one folder versus another
  • The keyword that defines each folder; is this categorization intuitive to others?
  • How many levels of folders are necessary; too deep will make finding assets cumbersome
  • How does the hierarchy look when applied across multiple campaigns or accounts? 

Generating a template of the folder hierarchy ensures that the system is replicable for other campaigns or clients; increasing the rate of adoption by team members. Whether it be a DAM or folder hierarchy, a clear and consistent organization system enables team members to locate files quickly and prevents the needless duplication of assets. 

With all assets located in a single library or being easily accessed by searching metadata, identifying the commonalities between high-performing creatives becomes much easier:  not only can we visually compare creatives side by side, but the taxonomy applied from Step 2 in the metadata also allows us to find patterns and insights that can be taken back to stakeholders.

4. Test & Assess

As platforms continue to move toward algorithm-driven black box campaigns, advertisers will also need to rely more strongly on the creative recommendations put forth by the platforms themselves, as they will no longer have visibility into creative performance on such a granular level. Being familiar and up-to-date with channel best practice guidelines, such as those provided by Google Ads, will help. However, implementing a testing protocol prior to campaign launch will also enable advertisers to gain additional insights into creative performance. Identifying key components to test prior to campaign launch (as outlined in Step 1) will enable advertisers to strategize and outline their campaign set-ups so that these tests can be properly executed. Strategies of these set-ups may include adding additional asset metadata, updating UTM tracking parameters to include creative keywords, clustering creative asset types into categories, then running them as individual campaigns.

While the above recommendations are just a launching point, proper execution will streamline the creative management process and in doing so, enable us to identify the patterns in the creative execution and messaging that led to success. When creative assets are properly organized and categorized, measuring the impact of other factors on asset performance can become more clear. These factors include:

  • The relevancy to the target audience of the creative & message
  • The channel strategy and placement
  • Time in market (too short will result insignificant results, too long and ad fatigue can start to skew metrics)
  • The quantity and variety of creative available

Unfortunately, there is no single parameter or metric that defines a successful versus failed creative, and it is up to marketers to look at the data from multiple angles. When creative assets are properly organized, it becomes much easier to analyze the information and provide useful recommendations on creative strategy going forward.