Designing for Conversion: Creative that Works Across Paid Social

As marketers gear up for the fast-approaching Holiday season, we’re readying our content strategies across social platforms to get audiences engaged in brand stories and products.

In a previous blog, we discussed the importance of thinking about social creative through the lens of, 1) Is it non-disruptive to the user experience? 2) Is it intuitive to the platform? And, 3) is it designed for immediate, “thumb-stopping” impact? While all of these considerations are equally important in paid social content creation, we’ve listed some additional tactics that performance marketers should be thinking about when the ultimate goal for content is conversions.  Furthermore, these tactics can lead to longer term consumer/brand relationships, and ultimately, higher quality customer acquisition and increased retention success through more consistent brand experiences and storytelling.

Balance Lifestyle and Product-Focused Imagery

While consumers have been very keen to lifestyle content, it doesn’t always make the necessary impact on its own when it comes to tapping into purchase intent. Balancing lifestyle with product imagery has everything to do with the balance of brand and performance, or engagement and conversion. Content should always feel natural to your brand, but if the ultimate goal is to influence a purchase decision, the products and desired actions should be clearly emphasized.

Take the below example from Timberland. The copy within the ad clearly describes the product being displayed, but the creative itself doesn’t reflect a hard sell. It tells the broader story of the brand lifestyle – adventure and the outdoors – and encourages users to immerse themselves in it. Notice how it’s also a part of a series of carousel ads that get the end user visually intrigued, but also interested in the shoe that makes the experience.

Timberland Creative


Brand and performance marketers can work towards the same goals by using a smart, creative balance of authentic content that performs. In leveraging these tactics, our teams have seen CVR increases of 3% and overall click increases of 230% by syncing the creative strategies of brand and performance teams.

Leverage Sequential Messaging & Creative

How you package content has a direct impact on its ability to guide consumers down the consideration path. Content shouldn’t come across as a hard sell, but rather as an experience of value. Performance marketers can think about sequential messaging strategy as an effective brand-building technique, where the immediate call-to-action may not be to purchase, but to get audiences engaged with your content over a longer period of time. Gradually introducing someone to your brand through lifestyle or “softer” imagery can encourage them to engage later with content that offers a more direct CTA.

Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest all offer advertisers a wide range of ad formats, many of which are designed to influence unique parts of the customer journey. If you’re starting with brand awareness, you might intrigue someone through a visually captivating video that allows them to experience your brand free from any messaging around purchase. Later down the path, that same person may interact with carousel ads that contain creative that’s still lifestyle and “brand” focused, but gives them a closer look into product offerings. As the different ad experiences bring your audience further down the conversion funnel, ensure that your CTAs become clearer and more deliberate if someone has shown an increasing interest in product purchase.

Hone Your Strategy with Data

Using data to you advantage is a given, but are you considering all the different pieces of data that can really make an impact to the success of your creative? Marketers should be thinking about social listening, both for their brand and competitors, audience segmentation techniques, and creative testing. Insights from social listening tools allow you to design creative with a solid understanding of your audiences’ interests from the get go. It also gleans important knowledge about what your competitors are doing that might be working well with their customers.

Not every audience is going to interact the same way with a piece of creative, and even similar audiences will engage with varying interest. That’s why consistent testing of creative is key to learning earlier on what’s resonating. At a minimum, we recommend using three to five different creative assets per ad set to give you more coverage across audiences. Testing sequential messaging techniques, as we mentioned above, can also help you to understand what types of content influence the different actions of customers as they get more engaged with your brand over time.

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  • Ad Nabu

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