When most people think of the so-called “pinnacle” of advertising, their thoughts inevitably turn to multi-million dollar Super Bowl commercials or glossy magazine ads. While this type of advertising certainly has its value, most startups and e-commerce brands don’t have the budget for this kind of advertising. Fortunately, this is actually an advantage. Most brands can make a much bigger impact by investing in “low-fidelity” creative instead of high-cost, “high-fidelity” advertisements.
Defining ‘Low-Fidelity’ Creative
In a nutshell, low-fidelity advertising creative is designed to look less like a traditional ad and more like something you’d see one of your friends post on Instagram.
To many founders and marketers, this sounds counterintuitive. They want their creative content to stand out, to be unmistakable and distinct.
The problem is, many consumers don’t want to see this kind of content. Instead, they’re actively trying to avoid it. That’s why 25.8% of internet users installed ad-blocking software on their devices in 2019. It’s also why Zdnet reports that roughly four out of every ten social media users will scroll past a social media ad without ever bothering to read it.
How Low-Fidelity Creative Works
Low-fidelity creative embraces a more organic approach to advertising — capturing the attention of potential customers who might normally skip over your brand’s content.
In an article for Ad Age, Michael Lisovetsky explains, “It’s not the quality of the creative, necessarily, that impacts the success of an ad; it’s the ad manager’s ability to influence user psychology. On Facebook, users want to see things from their friends, not branded content. If an ad looks natural and organic — almost like something their friends on Facebook would post — users tend to react positively to it. If the creative looks like a professional photographer and graphics team meticulously worked on it, users will assume it’s just another ad and likely keep scrolling past it.”
With low-fidelity creative, there aren’t any flashy models or overdone graphics. Instead, the creative content more closely matches the look of the content that users want to see — the daily snippets and updates that are being posted by their friends. When someone sees low-fidelity content, they may not even realize they are looking at an ad until they pause to read the copy that goes along with it.
Yes, you still want your content to look good. After all, it needs to catch a viewer’s attention in the first place. But with slightly unpolished visuals, you avoid the risk of being skipped over as just another ad invading someone’s newsfeed. This gives your copy an additional opportunity to create the emotional connection that generates clicks to your brand.
Why Low-Fidelity Is A Smart Choice
For most brands, low-fidelity creative is best-suited for social media campaigns. This is where it can have the biggest impact because it blends in with the user-generated content that social media users are already looking for. It looks like what they want and expect to see, so they are less likely to immediately recognize it for an ad and scroll past it.
However, low-fidelity creative is not a good choice for all of your creative, such as taking photos of the products going onto your site. Those images should be well-lit, in-focus, and edited to showcase your product.
Social Media Advertising Is Getting More Expensive
The thing is, social media marketing is expensive. Many brands spend thousands of dollars each week to secure the best possible placement for their social media ads. Those expenses are coming after the time and money that has gone into producing the creative content itself.
Social media marketing isn’t getting any cheaper, either. In fact, the 2019 CMO Survey revealed that executives expected social media spending to increase by 73 percent by the year 2024, rising from 11.4 percent to 19.7 percent of the average company’s marketing budget.
That is a lot of money going into social media — and if you are funneling your resources into high-fidelity advertising creative, that is a lot of spending on ads that are more likely to be skipped over by your target audience.
Low-Fidelity, Low Cost
Low-fidelity creative isn’t just more likely to catch the attention of social media users. It also costs less to produce, in part because you are going for a less manicured look in the first place. Unlike brands that will be funneling more and more of their marketing dollars into social media, this helps your brand keep expenses lower.
Better yet, your brand can allocate the savings from using low-fidelity creative to other parts of your marketing budget. Excess budget could be used to secure better placements and improve reach for your social media ads. Or you could use those dollars to ensure that the product images on your site are as high-quality as possible.
Save Time, Save Money
Low-fidelity creative also helps you avoid the common pitfall of having too many cooks in the marketing kitchen. With high-fidelity creative, there is a tendency toward perfectionism. More and more people want to look over something to fine-tune it and make it as “perfect” as it can be.
While there’s nothing wrong with reviewing low- and high-fidelity advertising creative, overdoing it can drag out the process of publishing your creative content. This means your customers aren’t seeing anything from your brand. Sometimes, it can even result in the final ad losing some of the uniqueness that would have helped it make a bigger impact with customers.
Are You Ready to ‘Downgrade’ Your Next Campaign?
Investing in low-fidelity creative may seem like a downgrade from typical advertising campaigns that have been polished to a glossy sheen. But in terms of results, taking this route could be a big upgrade. Don’t be afraid to take an unconventional approach by using low-fidelity creative. It could lead to better results than your brand ever achieved from large-budget campaigns. Ready to get started? Contact Darkroom to schedule a free consultation and see how our top-tier creative team can help produce beautiful, perfectly-aligned creative for your brand.