What is the Creative Quality Score (CQS)?
The Creative Quality Score, or CQS, is a measure of an ad’s digital suitability. CQS is calculated by tracking the presence of statistically-validated and platform-specific creative best practices, which serve as the floor for effective digital ads.
How do brands use the Creative Quality Score?
Brands use the Creative Quality Score to effectively manage the process of scaling their digital content production. As the volume of content that brands produce for digital has ballooned, and repurposed TV ads were proving ineffective at generating necessary levels of digital effectiveness, marketers struggled with rising digital media wastage and inefficiency. They wanted a single metric to understand if their ads were fit for the various digital platforms they were intended for.
The Creative Quality Score can be used as a barometer at various parts of the campaign cycle:
What creative attributes make up the Creative Quality Score?
Each digital media platform, whether YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, or more, is heavily involved in determining and recommending the core creative principles for their platform. Some of these are known as the Facebook Brilliant Basics, or the YouTube ABCDs, but together, they map to the Creative Quality Score.
Platforms are constantly evolving to reflect changing consumer behavior and business needs. This balance means what people see is determined by what they like. Platforms have codified this user behavior through years of research (using different methodologies like MMMs, Brand Lift studies, etc.) into how people engage with content and ads on each platform.
Here are the 5 core principles that make up CQS:
If some of these creative best practices seem obvious, it’s because they are. But as brands scaled up our content production efforts to keep up with the content demands of various digital platforms, these “creative basics” fell through the cracks. Today, only 20% of an average Fortune 500 brand’s ad incorporate all 5 basic digital best practices, and nearly 80% of their digital budget is invested into content that has a low CQS, leading to millions in wasted spend.
How do I know what my Creative Quality Score is?
It’s tough to predict what a specific brand’s Creative Quality Score will be before reviewing their data, but an analysis of 1M ads and $1B in ad spend showed that the average Fortune 500 brand has a 20%-30 CQS. That means that only 20-30% of their content has incorporated basic digital creative best practices.
CreativeX has helped some of the most sophisticated brands in the world track and improve their Creative Quality Score, including the likes of Nestlé, Diageo, Bayer, Unilever, and more. These brands have improved their CQS from 20% to 80%+, which has in turn contributed to measurable improvements in marketing effectiveness and efficiency. If you’re curious about your CQS, reach out to us here and we’ll be able to help.
What are the performance implications of optimizing for the Creative Quality Score?
Brands who’ve stabilized their Creative Quality Score have improved their media efficiency, shifting as much as 60% of their budget from digitally unsuitable ads (low CQS) to digitally suitable ones (high CQS). By shifting budget to ads that are fit-for-platform, many have seen significant cost and ROI improvements:
Other brands, like Heineken, have demonstrated that improvements in CQS also tie to effectiveness metrics. For example, by increasing the percentage of digital content that was branded upfront, Heineken saw a 50% brand lift on Meta.
Does having a high Creative Quality Score guarantee my ad will be successful?
Unfortunately not. Creative quality is a critical component of creative excellence, but it’s not the full picture - It’s necessary but insufficient. There is no replacement for good strategy, brilliant insights, and strong marketing fundamentals that make creative work excellent. The Creative Quality Score is a frame, or canvas, that helps the message be delivered in a way that’s suitable to the environment it’s being received on.
Creative quality is the first step to achieving creative excellence. By stabilizing creative quality, marketers can set up a strong foundation for maximizing the power of their creative ideas across all digital platforms.
How does CreativeX measure the Creative Quality Score?
CreativeX measured the Creative Quality Score in 3 steps:
By stabilizing their Creative Quality Score, brands can quickly build up a large repository of all their digital image and video content, as well as their corresponding performance data. By having all this info in one place, brands can graduate beyond the basics and measure how many other creative decisions they’re making are impacting their overall marketing efficiency and effectiveness.