Digital campaigns present a unique opportunity to speak directly to our target audience and test creative ideas. Taboola, the leading discovery and native advertising platform, analyzes the content campaigns running on its platform to provide insight into what creative is working and what’s not. The Taboola Trends tool allows us to see in real-time which digital creative on Taboola’s platform is producing the highest click-through rates (CTRs). Taboola analyzes its data once a week based on 75 million clicks across 50 billion impressions.
The platform is broken into the following categories: images, videos, titles, keywords, phrases and topics. I find images, videos and keywords particularly helpful when looking for creative testing inspiration. You can also filter the data to a very granular level. For example, under “image trends,” you can select an industry, device, language and country to see whether images with or without overlaid text perform better within the financial industry on a mobile phone, in English and in the US.
What have we learned (or confirmed) by using this tool?
- Color only matters when it helps the brand stand out. For example, while black and white images often have higher CTRs than color images, this only applies because of how infrequently black and white images are used (i.e., not often). Hence, if black and white images are the industry “standard” then color images would stand out and vice versa.
- Video achieves higher CTRs than static executions. We’ve seen this firsthand in our social campaigns for years and the trend continues in native advertising as well.
- What achieves a higher CTR varies by industry. For example, in almost all industries in the Taboola filter tool, images featuring people have higher CTRs except in the financial sector where we see images without people actually performing better.
Some Taboola pointers
All art we create should match Taboola Trend’s highest performers, right? Wrong. I do not recommend basing creative work on the factors Taboola reports as achieving the highest CTRs. Trend data is always changing and seasonality and region play a big role.
Instead, use the tool as a starting point for your campaign planning to help foster inspiration when deciding what you’d like to learn by the end of the campaign. Or, use the tool to optimize current campaigns. For example, Taboola reports that using the word “bonus” in a financial campaign reduces CTRs. If “bonus” appears in your paid search promotion, I recommend creating ad copy to run within the same ad group without “bonus” to see if it makes a difference.
The ultimate goal: Understanding which creative works best for your brand and using that knowledge to inform future campaigns.