How creative production automation can save up to 85% of your time

If you’re a creative professional who produces creative ads for social media and other marketing channels, you know the amount of repetitive design work you’re forced to put up with.

Just think about image cropping for different aspect ratios so that your video looks good across all platforms, or adjusting the text size and colors, and creating copy variants for different audiences. The works.

All of the above are huge time-suckers. At one point, you might decide to personalize at scale. After all, the video format is great for building rapport with customers, increasing retention rates, low-touch onboarding, or providing immediate customer support. That’s when three things will become crystal clear:

  • Doing things manually is just not sustainable
  • Creative production automation is an obvious solution
  • Content automation tools can help you achieve creative scale

You’re chasing engagement and conversions in today’s attention economy which means you need to be highly adaptable and thoughtful about your resources. So yeah, creative production automation is a no-brainer. Here’s why.

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TL;DR: Based on our experience so far, creative production automation can save up to 85% of your time. It allows you to automatically produce dozens of videos in different aspect ratios, sizes, languages, and with different texts and visual elements. With the right creative automation tool, you can easily swap dynamic elements like text, images, videos, audio, and colors, and deliver more relevant campaigns faster.
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Understanding creative production automation

Creative production automation solves the issue of needing to expand your in-house marketing team (or involve external agencies) for creating variations of videos for your campaigns. More precisely, it relieves the pressure of variation creation.

Probably the biggest benefit of creative automation tools is that they enable your team to focus on other creative tasks, and engage in meaningful brainstorming, or invest time into perfecting the strategy - something software can’t do for you. 

So how do creative production automation tools work exactly? Let’s take the example of social media ads.

A video ad template you create can have different dynamic elements. A creative automation tool lets you use this pre-created video template and dynamically swap out selected, key elements in a few clicks (instead of re-rendering the whole video).

creative automation for social media ads

By relying on a data source where you store all of your variation data (e.g. spreadsheet), the software automatically pulls the data and swaps dynamic elements to create numerous variations of your video. This might sound complex, but it really isn’t given the fact the tool does all the heavy lifting for you.

At Plainly, we wanted to ensure our tool is a creative production automation software that makes creative scale possible in simple 3-step process:

  • Create a template in After Effects or let us know if you need help with getting started
  • Upload your After Effects video template to Plainly and choose which elements you want to change
  • Link Plainly to your data source and let it render videos for you
Did you know? Plainly renders videos in the cloud which means rendering is done fast and in a secure environment. Plus, video quality is preserved and you don’t have to worry about storage. It’s all covered in your chosen Plainly pricing plan.

When creative automation makes sense

When it comes to creative production automation, dynamic video ads are probably the most obvious use case. Here are some of the most common scenarios:

  • If you’re a company that has an international presence, you’ll need an easy way to publish and distribute video ads in multiple languages
  • If you’re a performance marketer who wants to do some A/B testing to discover the best-converting copy, CTAs, or visual elements, you’ll need a creative automation tool to produce video variations at scale
  • If a campaign manager wants to launch a new campaign for a different persona, they can do so without bothering the designer - simply by swapping dynamic elements 

However, I’d like to point out some other awesome ways you can use creative production automation to deliver more relevant experiences to your audience, increase brand awareness, and build stronger relationships with your customers. It’s not an extensive list, of course, but more of an overview, just to get your creative juices flowing.

social media ad automation

Creative production automation for localizing video content

Localizing video content is not just about translating your copy into a different language. It’s also about taking into account the cultural nuances of different locales, figuring out which colors and visuals you should use in your video, and what type of message you need to send so that it resonates the best with your target audience. Creative production automation tools allow you to launch simultaneously in different markets, gain momentum, and stay ahead of your competition by strengthening your international presence.

Creative production automation can redefine cross-team collaboration

I already briefly touched upon this, but I think it deserves additional attention. Creative automation lets you “set it and forget it”, meaning you create a video template once and then enjoy the ability to create endless variations of it - thus achieving creative scale.

So let’s say you have designers and non-designers (e.g. copywriters, content marketers, performance marketers, growth professionals) working side by side in a marketing team. Instead of bothering designers with requests to create new video variations, non-designers can make the changes they want and test their ideas faster. That’s exactly why I believe no-code is the future.

automated creative creation

Creative automation saves up to 85% of your time

Full disclosure: the “up to 85% of time savings” is a ballpark figure we noted so far by talking with our customers and experimenting with creating different workflows ourselves. But to be honest, I’d say this might even be a conservative estimate because you can truly create an infinite number of videos.

Here’s a real-life example that proves this to be true. I created a fully customizable workflow using Plainly, Integromat, and Airtable. With just one click, I was able to create 72 video variations - all thanks to the data input I’ve created.

I created the template, data source, and workflow in less than 6 hours, which allowed me to automatically create  4 aspect ratios, 3 video lengths, 2 legal texts, and 3 languages. 

I am truly fascinated by the possibilities brought to us by creative automation and the no-code movement in general. The return on investment in these types of tools is undeniable. 

For example, one well-known online competition company (Plainly’s undisclosed client) managed to ramp up 1600 personalized videos in less than 24 hours for the winners. Imagine having to create each of these videos manually? It would take forever.

But the best part is there is really no limit to the number of videos you can create once you have two key ingredients in place: 1) a video template and 2) data source with content for the dynamic elements you want to swap. There you have it: the power of tech.

Try Plainly as your creative production automation software

As you’ve probably realized by now, I’m really passionate about utilizing technology to work smarter, especially for creative professionals like yourself. I think that we’re yet to see the beauty of creative production automation, especially with AI progressing at such a fascinating speed. I’m also proud of where Plainly is at the moment and the product roadmap looks exciting. 

The key things that make Plainly different from other creative production automation tools are: the usage of After Effects and a powerful API. You can use After Effects to create creative templates, and you can use our API to achieve the creative scale you need.

If you’re planning to automate your creative production, I’d be happy to show you how Plainly can help you out. Simply book a 15-minute demo and let me walk you through it. 

FAQs about creative automation

1. What are creative ads?

In simple terms, creative ads in the digital world are advertisements that use imaginative and innovative techniques to capture the attention of the target audience in online platforms, such as social media, websites, mobile apps, and video streaming services.

2. What are some examples of creative ads?

Creative ads in the digital world can take many forms, such as interactive ads that engage the audience by allowing them to interact with the ad, video ads that tell a story or showcase a product, or social media ads that leverage the unique features of each platform to create visually appealing and engaging ads.

3. What are the benefits of creative ads?

Creative ads aim to stand out from the clutter of advertising messages and capture the attention of the audience through unique visuals, catchy slogans, and memorable messaging that drives action from the viewer.

4. What is creative automation?

Creative automation is a process that uses technology to automate the creation and optimization of ads. Essentially, it takes the creative work of designing ads and makes it more efficient by automating repetitive tasks.

5. What are the benefits of creative automation?

With creative automation, advertisers, marketers, and other creative professionals can create a single ad template that can be customized for different audiences, formats, and platforms, such as social media, websites, and mobile apps. This allows you to create multiple versions of the same ad quickly and easily, without the need for manual design work.

6. What is one example of creative production automation?

Let’s say you’re a marketer who wants to create an ad campaign for a new product. Instead of designing separate ads for each platform and audience, you can use a single ad template and input different variations of images, text, and calls-to-action. The technology behind creative automation then takes these inputs and generates multiple ad versions that are optimized for each platform and audience, ensuring that each ad is tailored to the preferences and behaviors of the target audience.

7. What is design automation?

Design automation is the process of using technology to automate repetitive design tasks, such as creating layouts, formatting images, and generating design variations. Essentially, it takes the manual work of designing and makes it more efficient by automating time-consuming and repetitive tasks.

8. How does design automation work?

With design automation, designers can create templates and rules that define how a design should look and behave. For example, they can create a template for a business card that includes the layout, fonts, and colors, and then define rules for how the template should adapt to different names and titles. Thanks to templates and pre-set rules, you are able to generate multiple design variations that are optimized for each use case, ensuring that each design is consistent, high-quality, and on-brand.

9. What are the key things I should know about automating content creation?

Even though many people think content refers only to text format, it also covers visual content and videos. If you want to learn more about content automation, read our resource on 10 key things to know about automating content creation.

10. What are some of the best tools I can use for creative production automation?

There are many tools on the market that can help you automate the creation of your content, be it ads or other types of marketing formats. It highly depends on what you want to automate and what budget you’re operating with. To learn more, check out our analysis of 3 content automation tools, personalized video marketing solutions, and AI copywriting software

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