Data-Driven Digital Ad Creatives That Guarantee Success

Gio Franco Jorgio

Author & Editor

Co-Creatives Team Lead

Published on: Nov 26, 2021 Updated on: May 21, 2024

There is nothing more frustrating than taking all the right steps in developing your digital ad creatives, only for your efforts to have been for nothing. We'd go so far as saying it's demoralizing. But gladly, there's a way of countering this, and it lies in how you inject data into your design process.

With every digital ad creative, data-driven insights are vital components in the development. Because only by gaining insight into your audience's behavior and tastes, can your design direction lead to truly effective assets.

Ad creatives that resonate with your audiences and are able to convert them specifically, are genearted from how you act to adddress a number of levers. These include how well you know your audiences, how they perceive your brand, and where and how they interact online, to name a few.

But why should you or your PPC management agency care about data in developing digital ad creatives? Wouldn't this just stifle your creative process?

Data-driven digital ad creatives are vital for success

A 2015 report from Forbes Insights found that data-driven marketing is crucial for success in today’s hyper-competitive economy.

Coca-Cola, one of the world’s leading beverage brands, is yet to be dethroned partly because of how they use data mining and analytics to influence their messaging and ad designs. In a 2015 campaign, Coca-Cola used social data mining to understand their customers, what they talked about, and where they lived.

Doing this allowed them to develop digital ad creatives that accurately targeted their customers; helping their ads get more clicks. Imagine what you could achieve if you combine that with pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

So when you're faced with the dilemma pf choosing format (photo or video), post type (carousel, collage, or ephemeral content), or how you tell your story (informational or emotional), take a look at your data. The data will reveal the answer.

The best thing is, this kind of data-informed approach to creating advertisements, is something you can scale for your organizations by following a few best practices.

Best practices in creating data-driven digital ad creatives

While optimization is a natural part of a PPC management process, these can often be costly. Believe us: you spare yourself from a ton of hassle when you design for maximum impact from the get-go.

Here’s how you do it:

1. Message mining

In its simplest form, message mining is knowing what your customers are saying about your brand. It’s you taking a deep-dive and nitpicking how your customers talk about you on social media or in reviews they leave on your or third-party platforms.

But the work doesn’t end there. After you’ve conducted your message mining, you should then take the insights you gained and use them to inform your ad creative copies. 

So many businesses fall into the trap of creating ads that don’t speak the same language as their target audience. Hence, it’s no surprise when their ads don’t turn up results. Message mining is a vital tactic every ad copywriter must have, because copies that resonate with audiences are copies that convert.

Think about it: There is no one better to describe and talk about a product or a service than your customers. So it's time to let that data work for you in the form of conversion copywriting. This is important because it allows you to craft accurate conversion copies that hit the mark on the customer’s pain points and psychology.

Go through the internet and discover what customers say about your product/service and incorporate this into your copies. Doing this allows you to come up with creative Facebook ads that are empathetic, authentic, and relatable. 

2. Don’t neglect your data points

Your data points should play a big role in crafting your digital ad creatives. Your data points are discrete units of information and statistics that have been collected over time, these are then stored in your data bank. Your data bank, on the other hand, is where you store the information from all your customers and can be retrieved anytime you need it. In line with this, you need analytical tools to help you interpret the data points and statistics in your data bank. Some of these tools include the widely known Google Analytics, the lesser but still as effective Tableau Public, Python, R Programming and others. 

The data points must-haves include:

  • User identifiers (Who) - These are user IDs that let you know who you’re targeting, when they log in, and what device they use more often than not. The more user data you have, the better.
  • Timestamps (When) - Knowing when a customer clicks on your ad.
  • Media data (What) - This provides information on the actions taken by a user. This data lets you know if version A or version B of creative was successful and allows you to keep track of impressions.
  • Channel Data (Where) - Accurately track your campaigns by knowing what channel an action or an event took place. Make sure your channel data is clean and available at all times. 

3. Ask your customers

Analytics a little too vague? Or you’re looking for crisper insights into how your audiences think and behave? Then ask them directly.

Nothing trumps data that’s directly provided by your customer feedback (like what we established in message mining earlier), and appealing directly to your audiences.

You can do this in a number of ways, including Instagram Stories or Facebook polls, crowdsourcing for opinions, or Hotjar surveys on your website. Data collected directly from your customers won’t lead you astray. It is better to hear from the horses’ mouth after all.

4. Spy on the competition

Now, hear us out. We’re not telling you to commit industry espionage. We’re simply suggesting that you check out what a direct competition is doing.

Kind of like message mining, but this time, you’re mining for strategy from your competitors instead of customers.

This way, you won’t have to play catch-up with the competition, because you’ve already taken their best practices and improved upon them in your marketing campaign. Take inspiration from your parallels and the more accomplished and successful brands.

With social media, you can do this easily by checking their feeds. For search, check on the keywords they use (, their SEO rankings, and website performance. Track what is being said about their products and how they communicate online. Then, capitalize it for your own campaigns.

However, don't just follow the mold and use the information you’ve obtained as is. Don’t be a direct mimic and be original. Otherwise, you're just another voice chiming in to the conversation, without adding value. Or, in short, noise.

Although we advocate for originality and ad creatives driven by the data you’ve collected, it would be worthwhile to stay up-to-date on industry trends and issues. 

You can stay up to date by subscribing to some industry websites and newsletters such as Social Media Today, Search Engine Journal or Ad Age. And for local news, Adobo Magazine. The only way spying on the competition works is if you’re updated on what’s happening in your niche. 

Remember to be original. Stay updated with issues so you can also develop relevant and emotionally resonant ads that are anchored on insights from the present moment. 

6. Experiments allow you to discover chinks in your armor

This is a good thing as it shows you what isn’t working, and what more could work. 

Many of you may often fall into the trap of sticking with “what already works” because you want every effort turning up results. But remember that it is equally important to keep your ad creatives fresh and, if possible, change the status quo.

Never shy away from giving the customers something different. It may not always work, but like what Coca-Cola’s ad says, “You need to try it first.”

7. Anchor your ad creatives on sound principles

Following all the steps above to develop a rushed and imperfect ad creative can be disastrous. 

In designing ad creatives, you need to make sure that it’s grounded on basic design principles and best practices for creating better visual content for social media, or others.

Some of the design principles that will ensure you have not only creative visuals but also unique and easily distinguishable ones include: 

  • Balance and alignment. Your material has to be visually appealing to your customers and those you aim to convert. A good rule of thumb is to avoid so much text in your graphics.
  • Emphasis. Direct the focus of your audience on the most important part of your design. Such information or graphic should stand out from the rest of the design.
  • Contrast. Play around with colors, shapes and sizes to make sure your design stands out.
  • Repetition. Doing this properly will shift the focus of your customer to what really matters in your design. It emphasizes your concept and the general theme of your design.
  • Proportion. This is the overall weight, size, and other components of your design and how they relate to each other. Carefully consider where you put the different aspects of your design.
  • Movement. Where you out certain elements (photo, text, shapes, colors, etc) will work wonders in directing your customer’s eyes to right where you want it.
  • White space. Leave some room as a metaphorical breathing space, no pun intended. Don’t try to put in too much information as it can be distracting and have the opposite effect on the audience.

8. A/B test your ad creatives

A/B testing your ad creatives on various digital advertising channels must be the bare minimum for anyone in digital marketing. A/B testing gives you an idea of what your audience really wants, what they will respond to, and what service and product you will have a better chance of making a profit from if released. A/B testing is kind of like the light that allows you to traverse the darkness, almost like having inside information.  

Running A/B tests is Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) 101 and doing your A/B testing the right way can be the difference between a winning formula and a failing one. A/B testing is essentially a scenario where you show your audience two or more versions of a webpage, email, or marketing campaign/design and measure the success of each version with the help of statistical analysis. This helps you determine which version performs better and is preferred by your audience. 

Word of warning: don’t conduct a test with the wrong audience. Making this rookie A/B testing mistakes will have you ending up with invalid and irrelevant insights; rendering your entire campaign ineffective. 

Key takeaways

Ad creatives should be more than appealing visuals, as that alone won’t cut it anymore in today's digital marketing landscape. Businesses have to make every customer feel important and like they are personally being appealed to. Here are some things you want to keep in mind when brainstorming for your next creative Facebook ads or creative ad copy:

  • Know your customers. Everything falls into place once you have a solid grip on who your customers are, what they want, and how they feel about what you’re offering. Giving the people what they want always works, don’t change a winning formula.
  • Ground it on your objectives. Having strong objectives will guide your marketing campaigns and help your team seek and create new innovative ways to use data to your advantage.
  • Keep track of the data/respond correctly to changes. Keeping track of the data goes hand-in-hand with the proper use of that data. Connect your data with real-world situations and current affairs that connect deeply with your audience and provide real, substantial growth.

Do you allow data to inform your ad creatives development? If you do, what impact has it had in the performance of your ads? We'd love to discuss it with you in the comments! Or if they're still falling short of your expectations, then you can definitely drop us a line or message us on Facebook, LinkedIn, or X