How many digital ads do you really need? The magic formula you’ll want to bookmark

Advertising, Creative, Marketing, Social Media

Keep hearing about ‘ad fatigue’ and wonder how many creatives you need to keep your socials humming and engagement metrics rocketing? 

You’re not alone! 

Ad-fatigue graph

We’ve all seen this chart at some point.

Ad efficiency simply drops with repeated exposure (high frequency) and with limited audience pools, multiple touchpoints to conversion, and evolving audience preferences; we need more creative variety consistently to kick goals. 

Brands can no longer rely on an annual or seasonal quota of creative assets to be produced in bulk and drip fed out over the course of the planned media schedule.


Creative and media effectiveness in performance marketing IS completely intertwined.


As digital experts, we’re also often posed this question: 


‘How many pieces of creative do I need to be producing each month (for my paid social media)?’


Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all response to this question.

Fortunately, having worked over 15+ years on social, and having spent and analysed in excess of fifty million dollars of media spend, Digital Minds uses a proprietary formula to help our clients arrive at an optimal intersection of creative and media effectiveness.


The Formula

The Digital Minds Performance Creative Benchmark

Digital Minds Performance Creative Benchmark

So for example, for a brand a. spending 100k in a month b. with a target audience of 300,000 c. at a recommended freq cap of 1.2 (prospecting) d. with CPM of $8 and e. generally seeing 50% of produced creative work well:


Optimal creative assets required per month = [100,000 / (300 * 1.2 * $8)] / 50% = 69


However, as mentioned above – there is no ‘one-size-fits all’ answer to suit all brands and no room for such an approach across different paid social channels especially with continually evolving ad formats and considering algorithm changes. 

In addition to considering the rotation and volume of your creative asset requirements for Paid Social channels, the other lens also comes down to your execution and creative development principles.


Top Tips for Winning Creative Execution Across Paid Social

Bring in an authentic look and feel to your mix of creative styles.

Some of the best social ads don’t even look like ads.

Gone are the days of spending weeks in studio, perfecting designs, photoshopping images and agonizing over image selection and font placement or style – success for brands is all about bold agility.


Don’t be shy on volume. 

Storyboard out multiple concepts then multiply multiply multiply.

Be prepared to test fast…. but discard even faster.

Remember – we’re looking for winners and losers, so remove the subjective preferences for concepts you really like.


Build the mindset with your team of an iterative process of creative testing and media optimisation.

Sometimes, the small changes through multiple iterations of similar creative options across multiple formats deliver impressive gains in efficiency.


Go back to the basics.

The fundamentals of good creative strategy and execution are often overlooked because ‘it’s social’.

  1. You still need a very good brief
  2. Design for the various placements
  3. Spend time on good copy – it must be snappy and pointed
  4. Even if you’re going authentic in style, you still need a winning CTA
  5. Think about the format, experience and presence of audio
  6. Consider the 1 key message you’re looking to land with your audience (ie not 5)


Different strokes for different folks.

Audiences and the content they expect (and consume) varies across channels, so creative formats and execution need to play to the strengths of each channel. 

For example on TikTok, we’re still seeing the greatest success coming from personable, authentic content that looks organic in nature; while on Instagram, it’s the more polished look and feel. 

Similarly, while organic (social) content can be broadcast-esque and align with a brand story, the best performing Ad Content need to be developed with core fundamentals which are key to driving media effectiveness.

In short, it’s safe to never assume the same creative would work well across different channels.


Be singular in your ask of the audience.

Success is having your target audience do or remember one thing. 

It’s easy to fall into a trap of thinking that because the space is paid, it’s worth jamming in a few different points and an extra call to action just to ensure you really captured the audience’s attention and cover all bases. Keep it simple.


Be singular in the focus for each creative asset.

Don’t drink your own Brand Cool-Aid! 

Be objective and be harsh when looking at your ad content

Is the messaging and image truly engaging? 

Is there a compelling message or benefit?

Does the creative execution work for this format?

There’s a lot to consider and best practice principles and learnings are changing rapidly too …  invest in a commitment to continually producing great digital creative and watch your marketing effectiveness in digital elevate.