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Top Creative Best Practices to Increase ROAS

By Lomit Patel | February 17, 2023

Lomit Patel is the Chief Growth Officer of Tynker, with 20 years of experience helping startups grow into successful businesses. Lomit has previously played a critical role in scaling growth at startups, including Roku (IPO), TrustedID (acquired by Equifax), Texture (acquired by Apple), and IMVU (the #2 top-grossing gaming app). Lomit is a public speaker, author, and advisor with numerous accolades and awards throughout his career, including being recognized as a Mobile Hero by Liftoff. Lomit’s book Lean AI is part of Eric Ries’ best-selling “The Lean Startup” series.

Learn more about Mobile Hero Lomit.

Superior creatives can help brands stand out, capture consumer attention, and communicate the brand message engagingly and memorably. With the right ad creative, advertisers can differentiate their products and services from competitors, communicate complex messages, and emotionally connect with consumers. This can boost brand recall, improve brand attitudes, and increase sales.

The key is to focus on serving the right messages and designs to the right audiences. Here are some creative best practices to help increase your ROAS and grow your customer base.  

Know your target audience 

The most significant benefit of advertising with AI is the ability to target customers who are the most likely to make purchases. Leverage this data to your advantage by creating relevant ads that are likely to resonate with different target audiences. One of the best ways to do this is by running various A/B tests on creatives. You can determine which ads are the most compelling to different target audiences at different stages of their customer journey.

KISS (keep it simple, stupid)

It’s more effective to keep your ads clean. You risk overwhelming users with too much information, cluttered designs, or dense copy. You will not communicate your entire value proposition story in just one ad. Your messaging should be concise and get straight to the point. 

Generally, you should also sequence your creatives to your target audience. Remember that the critical goal is to capture your target audience’s attention by piquing their desire to learn more about you rather than closing the deal immediately. Use ads to tease a product, service, or promotion. Earn your audience’s attention and encourage them to follow through to the richer content on your website or mobile app. Create a series of sequential ads to communicate different value propositions. They should feature “snackable content” that is easy for users to digest and can break through the clutter of competitor ads that are fighting for their attention.

Most common display ad sizes are small, and too much information can be challenging to read. Keep the ad simple, lightweight on file size, and easy to understand. You must convey your message clearly and quickly because you’ll only have your viewer’s attention for a second. Make that small window of attention count.

Use compelling visuals, copy, and CTA

One of the most daunting parts of designing creative is determining the best combination of copy, visuals, and CTAs. You want to stand out from other ads competing for the customer’s attention. As a best practice, you should A/B test different creative formats, messages, CTAs, images, or videos to determine the best-performing ads for the different target audiences at various stages of their customer journey. Our job as growth marketers is to include a CTA that clarifies what you want a customer to do, then make it simple for them to do precisely that. Continue to iterate on the winning ads by creating slight variations, then rinse and repeat the tests. Testing should be ongoing—never one-and-done.

The color scheme of your creative should reflect your brand guidelines and your landing pages. Aim to achieve a seamless, integrated experience from ad to the landing page. Website content should carry the same look and feel as the ad. 

Also, use simple images that are easy for the eye to recognize. Design your creative with clearly defined borders, which draws visitors’ eyes to the ad. You should never use images to fill space and ensure that the image visually communicates what is written in the copy. 

Finally, limit your typography to two fonts per ad. Make sure to only bold vital information, and try to limit the advertisement to no more than one-third of the real estate devoted to text. More copy can be overwhelming, and most users won’t even read it. Take your cue from billboards—the most compelling billboards limit themselves to eight easily readable words.

Future Creative Development and Iteration

Finally, as I noted earlier, today’s neural networks and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) advances make it possible to “train” AI to write advertising or marketing copy in your brand’s voice or recommend things like hashtags for social media posts.

You can achieve exciting results today by using tools like ChatGPT and training them on a significant sample of your brand’s marketing copy (the more structured, the better). These exercises can be helpful for idea generation and creating variations in ad copy, emails, or other marketing materials.

Some companies operating in highly structured reporting environments—think sports, financial reporting, etc.—have replaced reporters with trained, special-purpose machines designed to churn out copy virtually indistinguishable from an editorial product.

However, it currently requires more work to envision a world where AI could completely automate creative. This is one area where human creativity is still superior to AI. Even though AI and machine learning may replace many mundane creative tasks, they can never entirely usurp a process that thrives on innovation. 

You can read my book Lean AI for more about leveraging artificial intelligence to scale your creative process and achieve the best ROAS results. You’ll also learn the best testing practices to determine personalized ad creatives for different user segments.