Playful and personalized performance marketing.
Crafted in 2019-2021 as Senior Creative Manager at Hopper.
Hopper is a travel app for iOS and Android that helps travelers save money by booking flights, hotels, and rental cars at the right time. Hopper has helped over 60M travelers plan and book trips around the world.
II. The Challenge
How can Hopper stand out in a busy sea of social media ads? Can we deliver ads for hundreds of thousands of flight origin and destination combinations that still feel personalized and relevant? And how can we test ads in a structured way that allows us to continually build upon our learnings?
III. My Role
I worked in house as the Senior Creative Manager during these projects and led the creative strategy, design, editing, and animation. I collaborated with our Head of User Acquisition and Senior User Acquisition Managers on our media buying approach and overall growth and acquisition strategy.
IV. OUR AD CREATIVE SOLUTION
When analyzing our top-performing social ads, we found a commonality — ads that either really stood out in one's social feed or blended in as native content performed best. Anything that looked too much like a typical ad was usually met with mediocre performance.
As a result, we began to focus our performance creative around those two categories. Ads that stood out typically took the form of super minimalist designs, delaying a message's resolution, or breaking the plane of a social feed. Ads that blended in as native content often took the form of POV photos/videos, platform-specific overlay styles, memes, and UGC-style content. All the while, we made sure to keep a strong focus around each product's core messaging.
These creatives performed extremely well and allowed us to grow our user base quickly and cheaply.
As budgets increased, we began to focus on brand campaigns as well. Our performance creative findings have allowed us to incorporate relevant learnings into brand campaigns and spend efficiently at high budgets.
V. OUR PROCESS SOLUTION
In addition to figuring out core themes of successful ads, we wanted to define a testing process that allowed us to quickly create and launch brand new ad concepts while also iterating on top performers.
The initial plan was simple—each week we test a new ad creative and work on a 4-week cycle. Week 1 we test the top-performing ad against static iterations of that ad, making small, incremental changes that are easy to isolate. Week 2 we test the top-performing ad against video iterations of that ad, once again making small, incremental changes. In week 3 we test the top-performing ad against a completely new static ad creative. Then, in week 4, we test the top-performing ada against a completely new video ad creative.
This process allowed us to not only plan for a reliable cycle of new ad creatives, but allowed to both continually improve our best ads and test any sparkly new idea we had.
This worked well for us for a while — it allowed us to learn a lot about the impaction of motion, timing, messaging, music, color, and sound design, and also helped up lowered CPIs by 51% after just a couple months of testing — however, as budgets began scaling and team structure shifted, we decided we needed to implement a faster cadence and constantly roll out new creatives across Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Twitter, and Google.
As a result, in late 2020, I shifted my focus to work almost entirely on our marketing and user acquisition efforts. During this time, I've taken our 4-week cycle and essentially compressed it into a single week — launching multiple new concepts and multiple iterations each and every week. This rapid approach of testing multiple ads weekly has allowed us to scale spend from low six-figure monthly budgets to mid seven-figure monthly budgets in a matter of months.