As of 2020, there were over 10 million active advertisers on Facebook alone.
That number has undoubtedly increased by now - and that doesn’t consider advertisers outside of Meta on other platforms such as TikTok. That’s a lot of ads, which means a lot of competition for you and your brand.
This is why it’s crucial to have a robust creative strategy and research process to break through the noise and stand out in the incredibly competitive social media advertising arena.
We’re Soar With Us, an e-commerce growth agency based in the north of England. We currently advertise across Meta, TikTok, Google and Pinterest for over 50 titans of e-commerce, and Foreplay is now a fundamental part of how we operate.
I sat down with our media buyers to talk all things Foreplay including; how Foreplay fits into our agency's creative process, the key benefits of using foreplay, favorite Foreplay features, as well as features that they’d like to see in the future.
What is Foreplay?
Informing a client’s creative strategy is a huge part of the job for our media buyers, Foreplay aids with creative discovery and ideation. It allows us to see what our client's competitors are doing, spot trends that might resonate with audiences, and give us examples of good ads to take inspiration from (along with bad ads and the tactics we should avoid).
How does Foreplay fit into our agency process?
I know everyone uses Foreplay differently, but here is the play-by-play of how we use Foreplay to inform our client's creative strategy and ideation across Meta ads and TikTok ads.
1. Onboarding New Clients
When we onboard a client, we audit their ad accounts, from internal account management to creative output, and assess what they’re doing well and what might need some work.
From there (depending on their needs), we help plan a creative ad strategy, which is where Foreplay comes into its own. It allows us to take deep dives into specific niches or brands and research what others are doing to help us identify trends or styles they aren’t currently utilizing, which could turn their ads into scroll-stopping, attention-grabbing, money-printing machines.
2. Organizing Ad Creative Pipeline
We create boards for each client along with ongoing boards for specific niches and then share them with the client to give them a feel for what other brands are doing as well as inspire them for their next round of creative - instead of having to screenshot and link from ad libraries to a presentation (which is very time-consuming and let’s face it - it can be boring).
It becomes an ongoing process of updating the boards little and often to ensure that content is always fresh and relevant to help combat creative fatigue and inspire incredible ideas.
3. Iterative Feedback Loop
Since adopting Foreplay, it's enabled us to develop an effortless feedback loop with our clients now, we share creatives, bookmark their folders to the Slack channel, and have open discussions about our creative strategy on calls by going through Foreplay together. A collaborative, interactive experience for everyone involved.
4. Client Retention & Reporting
We've integrated this not only into our day-to-day workflows but also into client calls and end-of-month reporting. Giving clients creative requests with reference points in a time-efficient way has been a game changer for our whole creative strategy.
Presenting our work to clients in an organized, thoughtful, and iterative way has always impressed the clients we work with, seemingly contributing to our high retention rate.
Diving into TikTok Content
Foreplay has been a great asset when introducing a client to a new platform, such as TikTok. Advertising on TikTok is generally quite different to advertising on other platforms so it’s important that clients understand the nuances of the app and the content we need to be producing alongside them.
Foreplay lets us put together boards that show exactly how others are using TikTok to advertise, giving the client a general feel for the content and a better idea of what they need to be creating.
Our team's favorite Foreplay features
Almost everyone on our team has access to Foreplay, I think we are up to 30 seats now and they use it every day. We asked our teams power users what their favorite Foreplay features were.
Here’s what they had to say:
Head of Operations @ SoarWithUs
“Creative discovery is a great feature because you can see what EVERYONE using Foreplay saves to their boards in real-time. This saves you hours; every media buyer or creative strategist knows how painful it can be to search and collect inspiration in the ads library. You can easily filter by niche, format, and more to dial in and get exactly what you want in minutes. The new 'experts' tab within the discovery section of Foreplay has also given us great insight. Seeing what top-tier creative strategists in the game are saving to Foreplay is super insightful.”
Media Buyer@ SoarWithUs
“Being able to collate ads into client-specific boards. I also like that you can filter by the brand as well, so you can have a view of what direct competitors and bigger brands are doing.”
Media Buyer@ SoarWithUs
“I can search very specific ads and find them. The AI is great at finding what I’m looking for, which is helpful. I can build out creative boards so quickly when compared to Meta and TikTok’s own personal ad libraries - it saves so much time.”
Features we’d love to see in the future
We love Foreplay’s current features, and it feels like they are shipping something new every day ... but here are some features we would love to see in the future.
- Further client collaboration including commenting
- Client Accounts where they can access specific boards managed by us
- More Data, metrics like CTR, CPC and CPM of competitor video content
- A trending section for discovery to see specifically what creatives are on the rise among the community
6 benefits of Foreplay for advertising agencies
- It’s given us hours back in the week to focus on other areas which require more time and focus.
- Streamlines presenting ad creative ideas to clients.
- Easy creative insight from other brands as well as competitors.
- Helps keep creative output from going stale.
- Effortless collaboration with clients and others within the agency.
- It’s helpful when looking for creative examples in specific niches.
Thanks for taking the time to read. If you’re an e-commerce brand that needs help with your creative strategy or ad management, we’re here to help! Get in touch with us today to learn more.