SHEIN used 50,000 creatives last year. Here’s how to win with creative in 2024

By John Koetsier March 12, 2024

Fast growth requires a lot of ad creatives and images. Or does it? What’s the best strategy to win with creative in 2024?

One strategy: flood the zone. 

In our recent Creatives that Convert webinar, MobileAction’s Tato Mikadze said that SHEIN used over 50,000 creatives last year. That’s a huge number, but perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. Together, Shein and its fast-fashion rival Temu send about 600,000 packages to the US every single day. And Shein was the 16th-largest U.S. advertiser in Q4 last year in terms of digital spending.

win with creative 2024

But 50,000 creatives is a lot. And it could be even more right now: a quick search for SHEIN on Meta’s ad library tool results in more than 50,000 results. That level of scale is going to yield results on both a performance and a brand level just based on ubiquity alone, but it’s also a very expensive way to attack the market.

If you don’t have the budget to deploy (never mind test) 50,000 creatives like SHEIN, or spend $2 billion a year like its rival Temu, you’re going to have to adopt a different strategy. 

And so the big question for user acquisition pros right now is: how do you win with creative in 2024? That’s one of the questions we asked our panelists:

  • Paolo Vergani, Director, Creative Production @ Liftoff
  • Taato Mikadze, Head of Gaming @ MobileAction
  • Doug Manson, Chief Creative Officer @ Craftsman+
  • Lisi Gardiner, Director of Product @ Singular

Win with creative in 2024: 3 key changes

Our panelists identified 3 key changes in creative recently:

  1. Videos are getting longer
  2. New triple-page ad experiences
  3. UGC everywhere

Video ads used to be 15 to 30 seconds. Now they’re often between 45 to 60 seconds.

“We’re seeing how the video length distribution for video is actually moving away from short form videos or anything between like 15 to 30-second videos,” says Liftoff’s Paolo Vergani. “And it’s growing on videos longer than 45 and between 45 and 60.”

That doesn’t mean a fully captive audience. If you’ve personally experienced some of these longer ads, you’ll often see a “Reward Granted” message pop up, letting people know that they’ve won their prize for watching and can soon — if not immediately — exit out. But if they’re interested and captivated by the video … they can stick around.

We’re now also seeing “triple-page ad experiences.”

If you play games, you’ve noticed them. Often it’s a video, followed by a playable, followed by a static call to action. 

“These are creatives that give advertisers a way of combining the best aspects of video, interactive, or playables and static ads into a single ad experience,” Vergani says. “These are great because they offer the opportunity to tell a compelling and cohesive story across the entire ad.”

Finally, while UGC is not new, we’re seeing more and more of it. Done right, UGC brings a rawness to ads that can seem more real. It can also help appeal to a specific audience or demographic: people who feel like me in age or sex or ethnicity might tend to use apps or products that I would also like. And of course UGC brings social proof: another tactic to help you win with creative.

Creative in 2024: 1 new metric

We all know the standard metrics to evaluate ads and creative: CTR, CVR, CPC, CPI, CPA, ROI, ROAS, viewability, and so on.

Here’s a new one: TTI.

TTI is time to install.

Time to install isn’t a new metric: it’s something MMPs like Singular have used for years primarily to find outliers that might be indicative of fraud. But TTI has interesting things to tell marketers about how to win with creative as well.

“DraftKings did a deep dive into the impact that their playables were driving,” says Craftsman+’s Doug Manson. “And they uncovered this really interesting metric, which is time to install. And what they found when compared to video and static ads is that they were able to acquire a user 72% faster than typical video or static ads.”

That’s interesting. 

It suggests that playable ads drive engagement that spurs immediate action. That’s important, because we’ve all had the experience of installing an app from an ad, going back and continuing whatever we were doing in our game or app, and not going back to actually open the app we just installed for days or weeks. Then you see the app icon there, and you wonder: what is that app again?

That’s not likely to be a great experience for generating not just installs but actual first open, usage, and long-term engagement.

Manson continues:

“You could pretty much run a playable ad in a short amount of time, then spend the money to run a video campaign over three months and get the same amount of users.”

And that suggests efficiency of ad spend, and the ability to turn on the user acquisition spigot quickly when you need to. That’s helpful especially for apps or games that are connecting their growth efforts to specific real-world or in-app events. Events come and go: it won’t be the Super Bowl for months on end. 

So speed of acquisition is a competitive advantage, and faster TTI is another way to win with creative in 2024.

Win with creative: generative AI, top-performing formats, and cross-channel creative

As usual in a Singular webinar, we also asked the audience of hundreds of marketers to weigh in with their experience on key factors. 

3 things we asked in the Creatives that Convert webinar were:

  1. Are you using generative AI?
  2. What is your top-performing ad format?
  3. Do you use the same creative across channels?

Here are the answers:


Generative AI: 76% using or testing

45% of marketers are using generative AI regularly, according to our webinar participants. Another 31% are just starting to test, and 24% say: not yet.

Top-performing ad format: UGC and short-form video

For 42% of marketers, UGC is their top-performing ad form. And, despite the fact that long-form video is making inroads now, short-form video is still the top-performing creative format for 36%,

Playables, interstitials, and long-form video make up the long tail for this sample of marketers.

Cross-channel creative: mostly yes

To win with creative, do you need to customize all your ads to each individual channel?

For the marketers we surveyed, most use a mix of same creative and custom creative across all channels: 53%.

18% customize their creative per channel, and 29% use the same creative everywhere.

Much more in the full webinar!

There is so much more in the full Creatives that Convert webinar that will help you win with creative in 2024. Grab some coffee or a snack, put up your feet for a moment, and check it out.

What you’ll find:

  • Top ad formats
  • What’s working now
  • Key trends
  • How to test creative
  • What generative AI helps with 
  • Generative AI tools to check out
  • Managing creative at scale
  • Unobvious metrics to get from each platform
  • Creative optimization in the privacy era
  • Top takeaways from each panelist

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