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Putting the Plan into Action

A woman stands in front of a presentation. A couple of students sit at desks in front of her listening.

Once the campaign plan has been drafted, reviewed, and finalized, it’s time to bring the campaign to life.

The first thing to do is to develop your creative assets. The term “creative assets” refers to all ads—static graphics, animations, videos, or gifs—along with all captions, headlines, and any other accompanying text needed for the campaign.

The creative assets should bring together all the research, planning, and fine-tuned messaging developed for the campaign. Designing engaging, eye-catching, and informative creative assets is necessary to make an impact on the audience and deliver results. As you brainstorm and design creative assets, ask the team the following questions:

  • How does this creative asset address the problem statement?
  • Are these creative assets something that the target audience would share with their friends or followers?
  • How could the creative asset be customized to better resonate with the target audience?
  • Do the creative asset and copy grab attention in under 3 seconds?

Creative Best Practices for Social Media

In the video below, we highlight a series of best practices that have held true across many of our SBCC campaigns. While social media trends are ever-changing, hopefully these tips will help your team create impactful creatives.

CARE Creative Examples

Check out some of CARE’s creatives that employed the best practices shown in the video above:


Trusted Messengers

Throughout SBCC campaigns targeting COVID, CARE tested the use of various kinds of trusted messengers such as veterans, faith-based leaders, medical professionals, celebrities, staff, and ordinary people.

We’ve found that ads featuring regular people were often the best performers. CARE’s trusted messengers campaign found that those who were the least scripted out-performed other trusted messengers, with a click-through rate (CTR) of 1.14% (over 500% of CARE USA’s average). This campaign also amounted to a conversion rate (CVR) of 3%, our highest overall CVR across all our campaigns to reduce vaccine hesitancy.

Through vaccine and booster promotion campaigns that ran in 2022, CARE found that ads drawing on CARE staff testimonials continued to be the top creative performers, with the long video format being the most engaging.

Cultural Relevance

During a COVID SBCC campaign in Bangladesh, the team timed messages to align with Eid celebrations to remind people to be careful about traveling and social distancing during big celebrations. This practical value message was one of CARE Bangladesh’s top performers.

CARE Bangladesh social graphic for Eid Mubarak encouraging people to stay safe from the pandemic.

Another strategy employed by CARE Bangladesh in the same campaign was using humor. This strategy was useful since it not only grabbed people’s attention, but also fused some entertainment into the health PSA. The team’s fun, quick animations showed that a little humor can go a long way, as their share rate was 114% above their goal.

CARE Bangladesh social media graphic showing the correct and incorrect ways to wear a facemask.

Match to Objectives

In 2021, CARE USA ran a COVID vaccine safety campaign that sought to learn what messages are most successful to promote COVID vaccine awareness/acceptance in states with low, medium, and high vaccine hesitancy. Below are examples of a top-performing ad that promoted the effectiveness of the vaccine and one of the BLS questions used to gauge the campaign’s effectiveness. This example shows the positive impact of having creative that is in line with the objectives you plan on measuring.

Clear & Concise Copy

Keeping post copy concise, punchy, and related to the visuals drives the key message home to your audience. In June 2021, the CARE Zimbabwe office participated in a global SBCC campaign to boost COVID vaccination. They created highly engaging content that resulted in the second-highest engagement rate of 5.1% (excluding video views). The ads Zimbabwe used featured real people getting vaccines and were accompanied by engaging copy that mentioned the vaccine was free and accessible. The copy also made strategic use of hashtags and emojis.

CARE’s Top-Performing Creative Assets

Ideally, the campaign being created can connect back to a conversion. For example, the call to action in a vaccination campaign might be to ask the viewer to click a link to a site where they can book a vaccination appointment. In this example, the top-performing ad would be the ad that drove the most vaccination appointments at the lowest cost per appointment (conversions/advertising spend).

With SBCC campaigns, it can be challenging to garner clear, online conversion. Oftentimes, conversion occurs on a website or an app that you don’t own and therefore you don’t have access to the backend analytics, leaving you unable to fully track conversion and ultimately identify the top-performing ad. If this is the case, you may have to approximate the top-performing ad by looking at which ads drove the most “click-throughs” to the website or app.

Alternatively, an SBCC campaign might be designed to shift knowledge or awareness about a topic and might not include a call to action. For example, when the COVID pandemic first occurred, one awareness message that had no online action was educating people on the importance of handwashing or how to wear a mask properly. In these types of campaigns, the top-performing ad was determined by communication metrics and its performance compared with benchmark or average performance.

Some key communication metrics that CARE considers are:

  • Share rate: While this percentage is often small, it is a good indicator of how helpful, interesting, or practical the information is to the audience.
  • Engagement rate: This helps to indicate whether that ad is driving conversations.
  • Video completion rate (VCR): This is a good indicator of how “thumb stopping” and how interesting the content is to the audience. It also provides insight into what part of the message the audience received and when they are dropping off. For example, if a significant portion of the audience stops watching the video at the 7-second mark, what occurs in that frame that is preventing people from continuing to watch? In addition, if they stop watching the content at 7 seconds, what part of the message did they receive? What part of the message did they not receive?
  • Click-through rate (CTR): If there is a place for more information, this is an indicator of how many people are “converting” to learn more or take action.
  • Cost per action: A cost per action metric like cost per click (CPC) or cost per engagement (CPE) can also help you determine how efficient and effective an individual ad is. The lower the cost per action, the more efficient an ad is at driving outcomes.


CARE compares these communication metric results for each campaign against previous campaign results as well as industry and internal benchmarks to better understand if a campaign is resonating with the target audience. In addition, CARE will monitor comments on the ads for social listening purposes.

Creative Beyond the Visuals

Remember that creative assets include more than the visuals. Creative components such as post copy, outbound links, and calls to action (CTAs) can also make or break an ad.

Ad Review

Ad review is an important part of the creative design process and is often where you’ll catch errors that have slipped past. This step is essential.

Once you’ve created your ads, preview them on Facebook’s Ad Manager or Creative Hub to see the whole ad (visuals alongside their captions, headlines, and links). Share these previews with your colleagues to ensure that everything is aligned and accurate. Some things to look out for include:

  • Is the copy aligned with the appropriate ad?
  • Are subtitles turned on for video ads?
  • Are outbound links set to the proper destination?
  • Are visuals optimized for different social media post dimensions?
  • If copy and creative are in a language you do not know, make sure to have someone fluent in the language check them. Do the translations make sense?

Explore the Playbook

Previous chapter: Campaign Planning

Learn the foundations of campaign planning, including audience research, budget calculation, and setting achievable goals and objectives.

Read chapter 1
Next chapter: Campaign Set Up

Dive into the steps you’ll need to take to build your campaign on Facebook or Instagram using Facebook’s Creative Hub and Ads Manager platforms.

Read chapter 3