Will's Monthly Platform Update - August 2021
Pencil users have been getting some awesome results recently (like double and triple-digit ROAS lifts, see my LinkedIn post on this here!)
However many of you have told us that (1) you can't always generate the kinds of ads you want (2) you don't always know when to run new ad ideas.
So that's what this release is all about! Let’s go 💥
Generating the ads you want
Manual brand kit edits. In addition to quickly generating new brand applications from your logos, fonts and colors, we now allow users to have total manual control over all elements of their branding in their brand kit without having to constantly generate and curate. Big time-saver for power users!
Guidance on 4 asset types to upload. Pencil works best if you provide any of 4 types of asset, all of which are extremely common for ecommerce brands. We saw a lot of folks were uploading assets that were not one of these 4 types, and getting poor quality ads as a result. We’ve now done a better job of making users aware that they can upload assets of these types only:
- Pack shot images. These are typically studio-shot images of an individual product on a white or light background. Pencil removes the background automatically
- Lifestyle photography. These are typically phone-shot images of a product in a specific scene in the real world, with a full background
- Product video. These are videos showcasing a product, up to 10 minutes long and typically backed by a music track. Avoid highly abstract videos that don’t show a product, videos with supers/graphics or videos with slow-motion or other complex effects.
- UGC video. These are videos up to 10 minutes long where a customer or influencer holds and talks about a product, typically shot on a phone and backed by a vocal track.
“Content patches.” This is an entirely new feature which allows users to build custom arrangements of images and text that can be added to briefs (like images or video) and used in generation. They allow more complex and branded information to be conveyed. We are launching with 6 patch templates together with the ability to create your own from scratch:
- List. A bullet-pointed list, for example of product benefits
- Testimonial. A testimonial quote with star rating and publisher logo
- App screenshot. A mobile phone frame to showcase your app
- Software screenshot. A laptop frame to showcase your software
- Icon blurb. An icon and longer text blurb to explain a feature
- Illustration blurb. A custom illustration and side-by-side text blurb
Google Drive integration. At last! Upload all your assets to Pencil straight from Google Drive. This saves time but also means you’re more likely to drag different assets into your briefs and get more varied generated outputs, which drive performance. As a reminder, assets imported into Pencil are instantly tagged using AI making them searchable (a big advantage over them living in Google Drive) and also, soon, recommendable. Pencil will eventually suggest which assets you should use in your briefs in the first place.
Additional geographic AWS clusters to improve speed & performance. Generating and editing video in the browser in near real time is a technical challenge and can be a bit slow. Users on the East and West coasts of the US as well as in Europe should experience a platform speedup as we’ve provisioned additional infrastructure to lower response times.
Knowing when to run new ad ideas
Creative dashboard. We now offer users a dashboard that automatically analyses your Facebook ad account and groups all your creatives into “winners” and “losers”. Winners are creatives that are currently performing above a threshold (the average, top 10%, top 25% or user-specified) on a particular metric and losers are the reverse. Users can see creatives grouped this way across their entire account, or for a specific campaign/ad set/objective/targeting. This is valuable for quickly replacing your losing ads and scaling your winners, which is a simple and effective strategy to improve performance. The best part? This dashboard will be free forever.
- “More like this”. One quick way to improve performance is to generate more ads similar to the ones that are already working. Users can now generate more ads like their winners in one click, and hold them ready for testing.
- “Replace”. Another quick way to improve performance is to replace ads that aren’t working with new ideas… ideally those predicted to work! Users can now perform this “replacement” in just a few clicks. Pencil offers a prediction of which creatives generated in Pencil might work best as a replacement, and users can choose to swap that creative into the existing ad or duplicate the ad with the new creative inside.
- “Fatiguing” indicator. In the dashboard Pencil will automatically flag which creatives are fatiguing (meaning they have declined in performance over the last week/month by more than, say, 25%) to inform which ads should be replaced.
- “Scaling” indicator. In the dashboard Pencil will automatically flag which creatives are scaling (meaning they have increased in spend over the last week/month by more than, say, 100%) to inform which ads should be used to generate more winners
0 day predictions. Previously, Pencil users needed to run a lot of Pencil ads (and they needed to rack up a lot of impressions) before gathering enough data to see predictions. This meant it could take weeks to months of using Pencil before seeing any predictions. All that changes now, as we analyse the historic data in your ad account to offer you predictions as soon as you start using Pencil. Before you’ve even generated any ads, Pencil already knows what’s working and not working for you, and you benefit from predictions built on all your past experiments right from the start.
✏️ We are super excited by these latest features and hope you find them useful in scaling your Q3 campaigns. If you’d like to try Pencil out, try it for free here or request a demo here to get started. And please keep letting us know what else you need in 2021!