Wasted ad spend makes me angry. It’s impossible for me to watch ads without viewing them through the lens of a performance marketer. Do they tell me anything? What is the product? Why is it relevant to me? This is especially true when spots are meant to drive action. All too often, these “performance ads” fall frustratingly short (and in some cases, way short) of their objective. I became frustrated enough to start scoring these ads, and so, the G-Meter, GainShare’s Performance Video Rating tool, was born.
Why so angry? Few things irritate me more than wasted ad spend. Faulty creative is a waste of media dollars. All our clients are challenger brands, taking on brands with more funding and a potentially higher market share. They must punch above their weight. Every ad dollar counts.
Ineffective creative makes even the perfect media strategy and plan, garbage. Clients must have great creative, great audience targeting, a great media plan, a great measurement plan, a great understanding of the customer journey and, a great test and learn plan. If all else in in place but the creative is crap, you’re wasting your money.
So, from there I developed a defined and simple percentage-based rating scale containing 15 criteria across four core categories:
This is nothing new, really, we’ve been using these criteria to develop our own creative work for over 35 years.
I watch a commercial and assess it based on our criteria in the given categories and assign a percentage rating. The goal: 100% across all criteria and categories.
I watched some commercials (actually hundreds of commercials) and started sending out G-Meter ratings to the companies whose commercial I viewed.
How Clients Feel About Their Creative
What has been the reaction, you ask? As you can imagine, some were irritated, and some were intrigued. I have a hypothesis about the four ways that clients feel about their creative.
Overconfident – Perhaps the campaign is in the early stages, results aren’t in yet, they’re not measuring the right thing… but they feel great about the creative with little to no proof that it’s working. This is an example of what can happen when someone falls in love with their own work.
Complacent – The creative works, the results are good, so why upset the apple cart?
Growth Mode – They have ambitious targets and know that though what they have is working now, they need to be working on the next thing ASAP. They need multiple versions to test and in multiple formats. They need guidance and lots of creative.
In Trouble – Results are declining, and they need to get back on track. Perhaps it’s a new team brought into a turnaround brand, or they have a new performance-oriented approach. The pressure is on to turn results around and quickly.
Overconfident and Complacent groups are far more likely to follow up on my G-Meter rating with a nastygram or just simply ignore me, which is fine. It’s unlikely that I’ll change their mind. We tend to have meaningful conversations with Growth Mode and In Trouble groups.
Creative = Results
Creative is an interesting part of performance marketing. Great creative can amplify results and bad creative can stifle results. To get a response, you need to make a connection to something that the person can relate to, like solving a problem and creating a path to the solution. The connection must be based in emotion and must provide a rationale to get them to react. A true meeting of art and science.
I can say with absolute certainty after watching hundreds of ads - there is almost always room for improvement, which is a path to eliminating waste. Because few things irritate me more than wasted ad spend. Did I say that already?
Stay angry my friends.