“All good things must come to an end.” It’s an adage that applies to many things in life – lazy weekends, delicious desserts and exotic vacations. This sentiment also applies to advertising creative. Like a single guy using the same pickup line one too many times, brands that never change things up are a turnoff to potential customers.
While the team at Morgan & Co. is dedicated to all things media, we’re intricately tied to creative through managing, optimizing and reporting on its performance and the entire campaign. Being so close to creative, and more specifically spending our days studying how its performing, we thought we’d spend this week’s blog talking about something every marketer is (or should be) concerned with – wear-out.
No marketer wants continue to spend limited media dollars on advertising that’s no longer working. Conversely, producing integrated advertising campaigns is becoming increasingly expensive. So how do you keep things fresh and avoid the phenomenon of creative wear-out without breaking your budget?
In this post, we’ll dig into why you need to be aware of creative wear-out, how to anticipate it, and how to extend the life of your creative without negatively affecting your ROI.
What is creative wear-out?
First off, creative wear-out occurs at the point in an advertising campaign where, following numerous exposures to the message, the sales impact of the ad begins to decline. For hotels, this could look like fewer rooms booked. For restaurants, it’s fewer reservations made. A law firm might see fewer new cases. In business terms, it means a high cost per acquisition and wasted money. This decline signals a point at which the ad is no longer effective and needs to be replaced. If your creative isn’t producing multiples in ROI, it’s time for a change.
Anticipating creative wear-out is easier than you might expect if you have access to robust data and analytics. The Morgan & Co. team works with clients to measure the success of their campaigns, adjusting the media buy as needed to prolong the life of their creative.
The Life Cycle of an Ad Campaign
The life cycle of an ad campaign provides insight into the potential for creative wear-out.
When a new campaign is launched, the first period in its life cycle is sometimes called “wear-in.” This is when the campaign message is working up to its maximum level of awareness. More and more consumers are gradually becoming aware of the advertising message and are taking action. Campaign ROI increases incrementally until the second phase of the life cycle.
The second phase in this life cycle is a plateau, during which additional media exposures no longer build awareness. At this point, increasing the frequency of an ad only serves the currently engaged audience, which can strengthen the ad’s persuasion to that audience. However, the end of the plateau gradually gives way to the third phase, wear-out.
As mentioned earlier, wear-out signals the final phase during which the ad no longer drives behavioral changes with increased frequency. It’s gone stale.
Prolonging the Life of Your Creative
If you begin to see signs of wear-out, there are a few strategies for prolonging the life of your creative. You could press pause on the creative or place it on hiatus, reviving it at a later date. This strategy works especially well for seasonal advertisers, allowing them to use the same creative for several consecutive years. Rotate in newer creative or work that has been shelved for a while, making it fresh again for the audience.
Another option is to refresh the original creative into new executions, repurposing without starting from scratch.
In some cases, wear-out inevitably requires the development of new creative.
How do you know if you’re ready for a new campaign?
You might be ready for a fresh campaign if:
- The marketplace dictates that strategic changes are in order.
- The original campaign didn’t deliver the expected ROI.
- Solid research data indicate that the campaign is no longer effective, despite adjustments in media placement.
Regardless of how you choose to address creative wear-out for your ad campaign, the team at Morgan & Co. is here to help you navigate the advertising life cycle. Our data-driven team of numbers people has the tools at the ready to estimate, anticipate and evaluate the success of your campaign and make sure that you’re getting the most from your ad spend. Give us a call, and we’ll show you the way.