If you only had to produce one TV ad twice a year, it would make no sense to standardize your process. However if you had to produce hundreds or thousands of ads you couldn’t possibly do it manually. Performance marketing teams often need to solve this problem at scale, particularly when they have hundreds of unique products to sell. Multiply that by 2-3 different creative strategies you want to test and you need a scalable strategy for creating ads in bulk.
The simplest method for doing this is the creative template. It works by taking a product feed – a spreadsheet containing every product and different attributes about each product – and processing it through a series of templates to generate tens of thousands of ad variations. The templates read like mad libs: “Buy _______ only $_______”. You risk nonsensical or embarrassing variations. Given the favorable economics of long tail campaigns it’s often better to have something imperfect than to have nothing. Nothing beats the power of being able to generate 100,000 ads in the time a copywriter could finish 20.
The key to an automated creative template strategy is ‘fall-backs’: rules for what happens when a word doesn’t fit the character limit. Almost of equal importance is pairing your large scale campaign with anomaly detection, so you spot unintentional combinations, like when one of your Google Ad keywords crosses over with a popular film name. Finally, remember that automation begets automation. Accounts with 100,000 ads can’t be managed manually, and need sophisticated and often custom software to maintain.