Join Tim Tetra for a deconstruction of the creative process behind how his company designs their creatives from scratch. Tetra Communications has a very different design process than most affiliates, that fuses direct response marketing principles with photography and Photoshop. It’s a lot of work – probably too much work for most lazy affiliates – but if you put in the work and effort, you get numbers that are unseen in this industry.

Speech by Tim Tetra | Co-Founder & CMO, Tetra Communications

Tim Tetra Speech Transcript

So, I know I may not be as, let’s say, eloquent as Caurmen because, let’s face it, he’s from the UK and I’m just from the US.

So, he sounds a lot more sophisticated and everything.

Being that this is my first time emceeing, I’m going to take some notes from him because the next speaker is someone you know very well because it’s me.

He used that line two years ago. I, being that this is affiliate world, figured I’d borrow it from him.

So, as you can see, today I’m gonna go over like, pretty much, very much just case study stuff. My last two talks were a lot more theoretical and stuff.

I initially made this presentation based on, this is like, stuff that our creative team uses. So, very practical stuff. And my initial presentation was around 50 minutes.

So, I had to cut a lot of stuff out. But I’m gonna try to go through this as quickly as possible. So, as you can see, the title of my presentation is called, I did not misspell that.

But, “ThIs is how you design ads for a campaign, seen 1.73 billion times in three months.”

So, to get started, I need you guys to agree to some rules for me. I figured this style of presentation you guys would be more familiar with anyway.

But, speaking, there are 3 things that are very necessary if you wanna use this methodology that our team uses to run at Voluum.

But First, You Must Agree To This Rules

Tim Tetra – Rules

Tim Tetra – Rules

First one, if you are the type that likes to borrow from people, like me with Caurmen, you’re not gonna do well with this method.

The people who are at the very top of the industry, always and I mean always, do not just run and rips other people’s stuff and then, get to the top.

Rule number 2, one of your biggest advantages is you need to go above and beyond what everyone else is willing to do.

Being that you guys flew all the way to Bangkok, you’re already kind of ahead of the crowd. But this is one of the biggest things I would say.

Like, even amongst here, are you willing to do more for your campaigns than what other people are willing to do?

And the last one is basically, a lot of people tell me, they’re not creative and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

I don’t believe in that at all.

I mean, creativity is a skill set, just like anything else. And really, if you’re just, if you’re gonna say that you’re not creative, it’s really just a carve-out for being lazy.

The Tetra Trifecta

Tim Tetra – The Tetra Trifecta

Tim Tetra – The Tetra Trifecta

Let’s agree to this. And then, what I wanna introduce you guys to is just something called the Tetra Trifecta.

Why the Tetra Trifecta? Because it’s extremely hard to pronounce.

But really, it’s just 3 concepts at the core of every single creative that my team and I create. And, I believe that these are the three most important things that you can ever have for your ads.

1) Relevance

The first one, relevance.

Relevance means your user knows exactly what you’re selling without any copy.

What’s an example? Something like that. Not the sexiest ad ever.

But you can now go and ask your local grocer, I guarantee you that this ad works.

Why? You look at those bananas, 55 cents. And, you have the bananas in front of you, you see what you’re selling. You can inspect the product.

User has everything he needs to make the purchase.

A lot of affiliate ads I see, I just don’t even know what it is that they’re selling. And if you confuse people, you know they’re not gonna convert.

2) Emotional Impact

Emotional impact Now affiliates, I find are generally in one side or the other of this.

You get really, really intense images. Or you will get images that just are not very good at all.

This actually isn’t my most emotional picture but I figured it’s the affiliate marketing conference. S something like this with our favorite doctor which every affiliate loves to quote in their landing pages.

Why is it emotional? Because your eyes looks at it. You’re drawn to the pink and you’ve immediately noticed, “Oh, that’s a person…”

And then, what I’m saying with emotional impact is that your images had to be so powerful that your brain forces you to pay attention to it.

3) Clarity

Last one, clarity.

Can you take a quick glance at it and know instantly what the image is about?

This is actually kind of similar to relevance if you take a quick look at it.

But something like this. This is an image I created in 2013. If you have an Android phone, you probably know what this image is about right away, even if there’s no ad copy or anything like that.

In general, these 3 factors are synergistic with each other.

Like for example, it’s not gonna be very easy to have a relevant ad that’s also extremely unclear.

Because if you don’t know what it is that you’re selling, what it is that you’re looking at, you don’t know what the person is selling either.

I’m gonna go over some images that you see out in the wild and just kind of give you a breakdown of how it looks.

The Tetra Trifecta Applied To Images

Tim Tetra – Example

Tim Tetra – Example

For something like this, instantly, you know, clarity. You know exactly what this image is about. You have a foot and you have a cob of carrot that looks like a foot.

Emotion is strong because this is extremely unusual. Your brain doesn’t see stuff like this all the time.

But as any neutral people here will probably know from like 2008, 2009, these get really high CTRs. Because of the high emotion and the high clarity but they convert really terribly.

Why? Because I don’t know what it is that you’re selling?

And frankly, it’s like I look at this, I mean, “What are you selling, like carrots?”

I wouldn’t wanna buy this type of carrot. I mean, are you selling like, I don’t know, athlete’s foot products or something.

It’s unclear. And that is why it’s not as powerful as it could be.

Something like this is all over the internet but I know that most of you are not gonna create ads like this.

Everyone knows that here, those branding ads are absolutely terrible. But why?

I mean, you look at this, you look at the clarity, it’s like what is this ad about? I don’t know. I know it’s Omni Swipe because we’ve promoted this before.

But what is it? Is it an android app? You don’t really exactly know what it is. There’s no emotion cause you’re confused about it.

And what is the relevance to the person? it looks aesthetically nice and they absolutely do nothing.

So, that’s why branding ads don’t do well.

Example 2

Tim Tetra – Example

Tim Tetra – Example

Let’s look at some strong ads. Everyone knows this type of images.

Why is it effective for promoting skin?

Clarity is strong. Emotion is strong. Relevance is strong.

It’s pretty straightforward. You instantly see. Your brain is like this is not something I see on a normal day to day basis.

Perhaps this person’s face is wrinkle free and the other has wrinkles.

So, you got the emotion, you got the clarity and relevance. If you’re promoting something that can give you these results, it’s spot on.

Something like this ‘before and after’.

Why is ‘before and after’ work so well? Clarity is simple.

You look at this fat person, in shape person, “Oh, it’s the same person.” Clarity, emotion, relevance, all very strong.

The Tetra Trifecta Implemented

Tim Tetra — The Tetra Trifecta Implemented

Tim Tetra — The Tetra Trifecta Implemented

So, with that said, I’m gonna go into my case study.

We did about 1.73 billion impressions in this 3-month campaign. It was for Privacy & Security focused app, unlimited budget, global distribution.

We ran it. In the end, 173 countries, 10.24% conversion rate and 5.87% global CTR for the 1.73 billion impressions.

Group Brainstorming

So, the first step is you need to have a defined Group Brainstorm.

Why defined? Because if you don’t set what exactly it is that you are not going to do or what it is this that you are gonna do then, your brainstorms can be very abstract and not really be that effective.

Now, I think we came up with 15 or so angles but I only have 20 minutes so, I had to cut out a lot of the stuff but I’ll give you a quick look into some of the stuff.

Tim Tetra - Group Brainstorming

Tim Tetra – Group Brainstorming

Like these aren’t the images we used. I just found images to represent it. But like, prestige for this app. Criminal, utility-based, tragedy. All of these did okay.

We have, I’ll show you guys 4 more.

Tim Tetra - Group Brainstorming

Tim Tetra – Group Brainstorming

Stalker. Ranking. Math. And, hacked.

Now, at this time, there’s a lot of, the hacked, we kind of went after because there’s a lot of huge trend of people in the US getting hacked and everything from home depot and everything else.

So, we’re trying to ride that news wave.

Since I’m short on time, I’m only gonna be able to go into one of our angles.

I think the one that’s gonna be most beneficial is going to be the stalker angle. Because the images that we created from it were a little bit more unique I would say that most affiliate images I usually see.

Stalker Angle

So, I kinda wanna break down some stuff.

Like, this is just a picture of my hand. I’m in my apartment, I’m holding my phone out the window.

You can see the people on the street level. Nothing really interesting going on. So, in terms of the Tetra Trifecta, it’s missing quite a few things.

But I’m gonna show you how with a little bit of Photoshop and creative skills, you can turn it into an interesting concept.

Tim Tetra - Stalker Angle

Tim Tetra – Stalker Angle

Now, you kind of like zoomed, I just cropped zoomed on the opposite side of the street for me.

If you have seen New York before, I mean, it’s pretty normal, just people hanging out, some people walking, some green van. Kinda interesting but not quite there yet.

Now, you zoom in a little bit. And then, this kinda starts to feel like, I don’t know, like, you almost feel like you’re omniscient or some sort.

Like, you’re listening to somebody’s conversation when they shouldn’t be, when you shouldn’t be, rather.

But I’m gonna do one more last tweak in Photoshop. Extremely simple.

You just drop a new layer, paint it black and cut out two circles. And then instantly, it becomes a lot more powerful, right?

Because this is something that, hopefully, none of you see too often. Unless you have binoculars and you like doing this type of thing.

But, why is it good? I actually didn’t use this. This image is, I just created for this presentation.

But it’s visceral, it’s emotional. It’s incredibly clear what this picture is about. And it has what I call transitional relevancy.

Transitional Relevancy

And what transitional relevancy is you wanna get people into the emotional state that is ideal for them to take an action on your offer.

In this case, I’m trying to harness aversion to creepiness to drive downloads for a privacy app. A

nd, I’m going to go over some of the shots and stuff. This is like a little bit technical but I just wanted to show like, it’s not easy to come up with this stuff.

But it actually, the results are quite worth it.

Stalker Concept: Composition 1 Variation A

Tim Tetra - Stalker Concept: Composition 1 Variation A

Tim Tetra – Stalker Concept: Composition 1 Variation A

So, something like this, we have our actor in the back being kind of creepy. But I’d like to highlight, yeah, we blew up the face with Photoshop.

We have arrows going on. I just wanna give you a quick rundown of how we shot this.

So, we’re outside. The red triangle is our actor. Yellow is the cameraman. Flow of traffic is towards the actor’s back. And they have to go around it and when the target walks between the two, you take the picture.

Stalker Concept: Composition 2 Variation A

Tim Tetra - Stalker Concept: Composition 2 Variation A

Tim Tetra – Stalker Concept: Composition 2 Variation A

Concept one, Composition 2 – Variation A.

We were pretty detailed about how we do these type of things.

This one has a pretty unique, voyeuristic angle where the cameraman is shooting from street level, up 20 feet.

And then, you have somebody being a stalker or at least on paper, looking like they’re being a stalker.

So here, you have your cameraman below. You have the bridge above.

And, you have your actor here. You have somebody coming in to take a picture at the bridge. And then, the actor sees that, moves behind them, pretends to do something. Then, you could get a picture like this.

Stalker Concept: Composition 3 Variation A

Tim Tetra - Stalker Concept: Composition 3 Variation A

Tim Tetra – Stalker Concept: Composition 3 Variation A

Composition 3 – Variation A. Something similar like this.

You’re just taking a picture at a slight angle. You still have that voyeuristic feeling where you’re kind of looking at people from afar.

And, you have somebody hiding behind a pillar. You have this really weird stalker type of behavior, the arrows going on.

This actually didn’t do as well as I thought it was gonna do because the image is a little bit too busy.

There’s, you got the blow up going on. You got the multiple arrows. The way this is shot, you have a recessed atrium here. You have the cameraman in the bottom left corner.

And you have the normal flow of people walking, sitting down on the benches. Then, you have your actor who is here, sees that. And then, he will position himself behind a pillar.

Without actually being a stalker, you can achieve this type of look to accentuate your point.

Stalker Concept: Composition 3 Variation B

Tim Tetra - Stalker Concept: Composition 3 Variation B

Tim Tetra – Stalker Concept: Composition 3 Variation B

Now, this is the same shot, just Variation B.

So, here’s your different look at it. We’re shooting from the same heights. And now, there’s no more voyeurism. But this image did a lot better because it makes good use of negative space.

So, you have the stalker on the right. You have the subjects on the left and then, you have a lot of negative space right between.

It required a little bit of a different setup. The cameramen have to go into the recessed atrium first.

You’d have the normal people going in, sitting down. And then, you’d have your actor do the same thing. You get your shot.

Now, unfortunately, I don’t have time to go into all the different images that we do, like in detail and how he shot it.

Tim Tetra – More Images

Tim Tetra – More Images

But suffice to say we did a lot of different concepts and things all around this type of concept. And they had different types of results and such.

But the important thing is to see what works well. Make a decision, do some analysis.

See why the image did well. And then, try to go out and shoot more images of the same style.

Final Results

Tim Tetra – Final Results

Tim Tetra – Final Results

So, the final results, we ran it for 3 months. It’s 1.73 billion impressions, 101.57 million clicks, 10.4 million active users added for the advertiser.

In conclusion, I’d like to remind you once again.

Three elements, clarity, relevance and emotion to the Tetra Trifecta.

Tim Tetra – Conclusion

Tim Tetra – Conclusion

Relevance, remember, the user knows exactly what your image is without any copy.

Emotional impact, you can hijack somebody’s attention because of how unusual, how powerful the image is.

And then, clarity, the user sees the essence of the image instantly.

And my belief is that if you use these 3 images, you’re gonna create a lot more effective images. No matter what platform or anything you’re using.

My hope is that, as a result of this, somebody’s gonna be able to go out there and really enhance their team’s creatives and such.

Maybe, at some point, I will see an article like this pop up in my newsfeed.

Tim Tetra – News

Tim Tetra – News

So, that’s it for me. After a short break, we’re gonna have a panel.

So, don’t move, we’ll be right back.