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How Instagram Generates Commercial Value Out Of Creative

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Facebook’s audience data may be gold to digital advertisers, but it’s the Facebook Creative Shop that ensures campaigns are memorable in the news feed and on platforms like Instagram and Messenger.

The 200-plus-person in-house agency designs and tests Facebook and Instagram ad units – like the full-screen mobile unit Canvas – before launching it widely to brands and agencies.

And the Facebook Creative Shop acts works with those same brands and agencies to ensure the creative element of their ads drives business results.

Kay Hsu, global Instagram lead at the Facebook Creative Shop, spoke with AdExchanger about Facebook’s role in the creative process.

AdExchanger: What’s an average day like at Facebook Creative Shop?

KAY HSU: Day-to-day can be anything from working with a client directly to talking with a Facebook or Instagram product manager to find ways we can enhance a story on whichever platform.

I work a lot with creative agencies. Our goal is to make sure we’re representing them and that they have a seat at the table when we’re talking to product people. We really think of ourselves as partners to creative agencies because they’re the stewards of their clients’ businesses and we’re subject-matter experts on our own platforms.

The goal is making sure brand creative is stuff people want to see and that it fits the needs of our community.

When does Facebook hand off creative management to a brand’s agencies?

It really runs the gamut. It could be before the briefing, where we might be able to work with the agency on developing the brief after mining platform insights to support the campaign. Or it could extend all the way to working with the agencies to shoot something or create new content.

We also do light-touch stuff as well, where maybe we’re just a source of consultation if the agency needs a gut check. Maybe their assets are pretty much fully developed and they want a last pass to see if they’re using the platform to its full potential or if [they can] make tweaks to get more effective results.

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Is the creative shop more about planning, execution or creative ideation?

We have a really strong planning discipline. In our group, you’re either a strategic creative or strategist. Certainly there are people like myself, who are planners by trade, where I’ll lean a little bit more on creative when I need excellent copywriting.

But we’ve realized that any good creative idea has to start with an insight. The goal is to hopefully add value through insights and data to be able to put all the checks in place to ensure creative is set up for success. It’s very much a part of our culture to think about data when we’re planning campaigns.

Is that how you developed Canvas, which seems to combine both branding elements (high-impact visuals) with hard calls to action?

We always design any creative campaign around an outcome. It actually has to work for a brand, otherwise we’re not going to do it. So we start with figuring out what is the business objective, what are you trying to accomplish and then what is the right story. Before you can optimize the creative, or think through a brand lift or conversion lift study, you have to understand the brand’s objectives.

Why buy Instagram instead of just the Facebook news feed?

The experience on Instagram is so varied.

I love fashion and following designers, but I also love memes and maybe things that aren’t considered aesthetically beautiful. People are coming to look at little hamsters eating burritos and, at the same time, they’re looking for the sunset. It’s capturing interests around passions and it’s proven we process images 60,000 times quicker than any other form of communication.

Interview condensed.

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