First a Spark, then a flame: why the creative development process prevents SMBs from embracing digital advertising

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Many SMBs find the creative process time consuming and hard to manage.

As an engineer, it’s always deeply exciting when something I built is used. Well, to be accurate, it’s exciting when it works, then deeply exciting when lots of people find it useful and it’s used widely and often.

And I am deeply excited by Spark, something the engineering team at ReFUEL4 has been working on these past months. Spark is our fully AI driven, self-serve version of ReFUEL4. Aimed at Small to Medium Businesses (SMBs), it will take the pain out of managing the creative process and ad campaigns in general.

When we were brainstorming Spark, the marketing team shared some research by Deloitte: interestingly, SMBs stand to benefit up to eight times in terms of business generated per dollar spent on digital advertising. Yet, they were far less likely to spend than enterprise brands.


Conventional wisdom suggests that digital marketing can be quite technical and time consuming. It is very powerful, but needs commitment to derive the most benefit from it. There’s also quite a bit of work to do in terms of campaign set-up and monitoring.

The ReFUEL4 product team had a different theory why SMBs aren’t embracing digital advertising. And it is from the experience with our enterprise customers. The fact is the creative development process seems to be the sticking point.

To confirm our suspicions, we ran some surveys. The data seems to point to the fact that many SMBs found the creative process time consuming, hard to manage, ambiguous and tough to put a dollar value on.

This feedback focused our efforts. We knew that any self-serve product would have to address those pain points, and perform greater than previous experiences. Anyone addressing the SMB space will know what a knowledgeable and sceptical audience they are, and how quickly they can decide stuff.

So what did we need our product to do?

1. Be truly ‘self-serve’ and automated;

2. Harness all the power of our AI to provide business intelligence;

3. Tap on the creative power and digital savviness of ReFUEL4’s 10,000+ designers;

4. Be quick;

5. Have a clear ROI.

I am happy to say that Spark delivers to all that and more!

1. Easy onboarding: Getting a brief ready is a quick 5 step process;

2. SHAKA, our AI, does all the hard thinking: when an advertiser connects their ad account, it analyses the top performing ad sets and ads. It then asks the advertiser which ads they want to refuel and the advertiser is prompted to ask provide instructions;

3. Once the brief is ready, our designer base is activated and they start work;

4. Within 48 hours, the required ads are ready. The advertiser can ask for quick edits;

5. SHAKA can automatically swap the new ads in, and monitor performance. Once performance drops below what the advertiser wants, new ads are swapped in.

This cycle can be repeated as long as the advertiser has new ads. Wanna give it a shot? Sign up here.

Winner of Facebook’s Innovator of the Year, ReFUEL4 is the world’s leading data-driven creative platform, delivering assets from 10,000 global creators backed by predictive AI technology. Learn more here.

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