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Jewelry Marketing Isn’t a Beauty Contest

I recently stumbled upon a really interesting quote by Josh Hayes from Liftoff, a company that helps ecommerce brands optimize their mobile apps. In a blog post, Josh says, “Creatives aren’t a beauty contest, so let performance drive your ad appearance decisions. Oftentimes, the best performing creatives run counter intuitive to what we might think because they aren’t necessarily the most aesthetic. We see this time and time again.”

I completely agree with Josh’s assertion about “creatives”, which are the photos and videos that brands use in their Facebook and Instagram ads. When I build an advertising campaign for a client, I’m not necessarily looking for the client’s most beautiful photo and video assets. In fact, the beautiful photos are usually the ones that perform the worst in advertisements. They tend to look too polished – and therefore unrelatable.

Instead, I look for creative that’s unique, memorable, and engaging, something that will inspire emotion or cause a Facebook or Instagram user to stop in his or her tracks. That photo or video will probably not be the “beautiful” one. It’s kind of difficult to articulate that je ne sais quoi about effective ad creative because it just comes from the experience of looking at many, many Facebook ads and also paying attention to ads in my own Facebook and Instagram feeds. In managing my clients’ Facebook ads, I also see on a daily basis what does and does not engage Facebook and Instagram users.

However, I can offer a few general guidelines that will help you choose the right ad creative, so you’re not always just relying on the “beautiful” options. According to stats about Facebook from Social Report, “350 Million photos are uploaded every day, with 14.58 million photo uploads per hour, 243,000 photo uploads per minute, and 4,000 photo uploads per second.” If you want to stand out from the crowd, you’re going to have to do better than “beautiful”. Follow these best practices.

Tell a story and capture emotion

Telling a story and capturing a user’s emotions is extremely difficult to do with only a single image, a carousel of images, or even a 15-second video. Many clients who try to manage Facebook ads on their own underestimate the challenge of basically having to communicate *everything* about their brand with very little digital real estate. However, the more you can tell the story of your brand or make the casual news feed scroller feel something, the better chance you have at earning a click.

Don’t use excessive text

If you try to put too much text on the image itself, Facebook will likely reject your ad. However, even if you’re able to get your text-heavy graphic past Facebook’s AI screening process, you’ll still want to avoid too much text in your creative. A few words may be appropriate for some campaigns, but you’ll only want to use text sparingly and with an intentional strategy.
Give them something they can’t ignore

Consider your own browsing habits on Facebook and Instagram. You’re likely scrolling and only partially paying attention to what you see. But what makes you stop and click? What are the things you can’t ignore? Your ad creative should be the thing that a user can’t ignore, even if that person knows absolutely nothing about your brand. What can you show them to inspire them to sacrifice a few minutes of their precious time?

Create visual contrast and use color

A typical Facebook feed involves a lot of blue and white with pops of color from images and graphics. Instagram is similarly stark. If your Facebook creative is blending into the background, then no one’s going to notice you. Be sure to use color strategically and to include visual contrast in your photos and videos. Your photos should be eye-catching, even at a small size.

Avoid clutter and keep it simple

In the composition of the images or videos themselves, keep things simple. Make your jewelry products or models the center of attention. Avoid distracting backgrounds or trying to cram too much stuff into the frame. You don’t want to overwhelm your target customer with too much visual information or too-small details.

Consider your ad placements

When you create your ad campaign, you’ll have the option to choose between automatic and manual placements; I always recommend manual placements, since you have more control over how to display your creatives. The word “placement” refers to where your ad is being shown, like on the Instagram news feed, in an Instagram Story, or on the Facebook news feed. To learn more about all the different placements, visit this page. A creative that may work very well on Instagram may not work as well on Facebook, but you’ll have to do testing to know for sure.

Consider your personas

Not only will you want to potentially consider different images and videos for the different ad placements, but you may also want to consider different creative for your customer personas. For example, let’s pretend that one of your personas is a busy mom, while another persona is a fitness-loving woman. You would not use the same creative for both.

Try user-generated content for more authenticity

Authentic creatives tend to perform the best for Facebook and Instagram ads. One of the easiest ways to get authentic content is to source it from the customers who wear your jewelry. You can partner with an influencer or an actual customer to get high-quality content from them. Your customers will be more likely to trust the social proof.

Reflect Your Brand

Above all, you’ll want your creatives to reflect your brand. You can do that by incorporating your brand color palette and trying to communicate the emotions and values that your brand represents.

At the end of the day, you can never assume you know what your customers will like. You’ll need to test multiple creatives with the same caption in order to decide which image or video is resonating the best with the customers you’d like to reach. Time and time again, I’m surprised by the data, but the data doesn’t lie. You shouldn’t put your ad spend behind an image or video you think is “pretty” when your target customers are responding positively to an image or video that maybe isn’t your personal favorite. When choosing creative, you have to remain open-minded and think about the customer first, putting aside your own preferences.

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