Images versus Reels, which will yield the best results for your ads?

If you’ve kept up with recent episodes of the Not For Lazy Marketers Podcast, you’ve heard me preach about the era of the creator and the importance of video and Reels.

So the answer to my question might seem like an ace in the hole…

But I promise it’s not as simple as you might think.

Tune in to today’s episode where I’m bringing you expert advice directly from Team Hirsh and the real-time results we’re seeing in our clients’ accounts when it comes to using images compared to Reels!

Plus, I’m sharing three critical lessons on your content and creative strategy to ensure you’re consistently creating content that converts!

Did this episode inspire you to test something new with your ad creative? DM on Instagram (@emilyhirsh) and let’s talk about it!


Honestly, we’re more than a marketing team — we’re a tactical partner who will care about your business growth just as much as YOU (maybe even more)! We’re here to play the long game and help you create a powerful impact! APPLY NOW!


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Emily Hirsh:

Hello my friends. Welcome back to the podcast. I hope you guys are having an amazing week. We’re going into December, last month of the year. Let’s finish it strong. I know I have lots of reflection happening, but also a ton going on. I am feeling slightly overwhelmed lately, and just between stuff with my kids, I feel like this is the most intense time it’s ever been with my kids. My kids are age, almost two, almost five, and almost seven. So I swear, like my nanny leaves at 4:30 and it’s pure chaos until seven. They’re either fighting with each other, or they’re yelling at me. I mean, that makes it sound like not good kids, but they’re just crazy. They just run around. I also swear if you’re a parent, is this true that when you’re trying to talk to your partner, the kid’s are like no, and they’re extra loud, or they just, all of a sudden, right then they need something. So getting in like a sentence, or literally five to 10 minutes of a conversation with Peter right now is impossible. 

So between that, and then we have some really exciting things happening in January, plus the launch of my software happening in January. I’m so excited. We’ve been building it for five months, you guys. It’s going to be amazing. I’m not going to say much more about it, but I think all of you are going to want it. So I’m very busy and I’m also trying to be present and not have too much mom guilt about working a little bit more than I want to and making sure I take care of all the mom’s side of things on the holidays. You guys feel me on this?

Anyway, all right. Today’s episode might be a little bit on the shorter side, but I think it’s a really important conversation that leads to a bigger piece of marketing that’s always important to remember, and that is a conversation that started from our huddle. So on our team huddle, we have a daily huddle, Monday through Thursday. We turned Friday into free space Fridays, were there is zero meetings, nothing on the calendar for anybody so that they can get deep work done. They can leave early if they get their work done, it’s free space Friday. So we don’t have a huddle on Fridays, but we have a huddle Monday through Thursdays. One of the slides on that huddle asks for hot takes, tips, you know, just basically what is our team seeing specifically inside of client accounts beause we all benefit from that. I get a lot of content to bring here for you guys from that slide. 

One of the things that recently came up is we had an ads manager say that they surprisingly were seeing that Reels in a specific account weren’t working at all, and the interesting part to it was that the creative on Facebook, it had a really good click through rate and it seemed like it was doing well, but it actually wasn’t resulting in the conversions. It wasn’t resulting in the leads and the sales. A couple of other ads managers saw the same thing. Now, the important thing to note here is this wasn’t across the board, but I think that this was a realization for me because I’ve been preaching right Reels, videos, you’ve got to do them and it’s the era of the creator. And I believe all those things, but in that same note, there is no one size fits all. You can never take a piece of advice or a strategy that somebody gives you in marketing and just know 100% that’s going to work for me. 

So we started talking about the factors at play, and I want to dig into that a little bit more because I think it’s really intriguing and something for you to consider. Also, what I’ve seen happen, I’ve seen this with some of our night students, I’ve also seen this with some of our clients, where we try Reels or we try videos and we compare that to images and their images do better and they’re like, “no, but reels are supposed to be doing better like Emily said.” Or I’ve heard people say “that that’s true, and I like doing them, and I think it’s cool, and so I want those to do better.” It’s like, no, but the data you’ve got to follow the data. I think for me, what was the most interesting piece of this was that on the surface, the ad looked like it was doing well, the click through rate and the cost per click to actually get to the landing page was not cheap but was less expensive than the images, but it wasn’t actually resulting in conversions.

So let’s just think for a second about the psychology of that, because it’s very interesting to me. If you think about somebody on the feed and they see an entertaining, really funny video or eye-catching video, it probably is more likely going to have them click, get them to click, but maybe they don’t even know why they’re clicking on it. Then they get there and they’re like, “oh, that’s not what I wanted.” That was kind of my theory is maybe sometimes in some audiences, some of those like really entertaining videos or Reels that they don’t really realize what they’re clicking on because it was an entertaining, short video. So that was one of my theories, which makes sense. 

I’ve actually seen this in the past, like even before Reels, I one time did a launch where I had this really funny video. This was like before Reels even came out, before TikTok, where I was imitating influencers. This was like the initial launch of Ignite, which was over two years ago. I saw that happen with that video. The ad cost per click was really good, but the actual conversion wasn’t as good as it was with our images. I think that’s because the video got the attention, the video did its job, but then it was a little bit disconnected. It was funny enough that it got attention, but then once they got to the page, they were like, “oh, I don’t actually want to sign up for this training,” or “this isn’t what I thought it was.” So that’s one of my theories. 

Now, the other thing is, it was really interesting that this wasn’t in every account. So we had some ads managers who were like, “oh, the reels and the short videos, those are doing the best for us in, in this account,” and then others who were like, “yeah, we’ve tried those, and then compared to images, they’re not doing as well.” So why is that happening? You have to think about the factors at play. So number one is obviously audience, you’ve got the different audiences of who maybe responds better to Reels or don’t. Or they’re like, “this is really dumb,” or “I don’t understand this.” And then others were like, “that’s super creative. That’s super cool.” You’re going to have the difference in audiences, you’ve got what offer you’re sending people to. So maybe if there’s a differentiation in depending on what offer. Is it a webinar, and what’s the topic of that webinar, and is that real connected enough to that webinar? Does it make sense then? 

I think this is a big one and you know, I save this very nicely, but there’s just some people who are really good at shooting that type of content and others who are really uncomfortable by it. I think if you’re overly uncomfortable by it, it’s not a reason not to do it, but it is going to show up in the success of the video. And if I look at my Reels from, I think they came out like a year ago. I feel like the first ones I did, I mean, they were terrible. The thing is, then that was actually okay because there was almost nobody doing reels, but now, because there’s such a high quality of Reels happening, I think people just either unintentionally or intentionally notice that they are different or that there’s something off with them. So I think that that also plays part. 

I know it’s hard with being a creator. You’re hard on yourself, but I think it’s 100% always worth testing is a Reel, or a short video, or does an image work better for your account? But then don’t be stuck on the fact of like, “well, I want Reels and videos to work better for my account,” because you need to go and look at the data and actually dig into what is going to work better. Also, you can’t just look at the surface data because I think a lot of ads, people would just be like, “oh, look, your Reels are bringing your click-through rate up and they’re bringing your cost per click down, and so these are your top converting ads. This is doing better.” But we need to dig deeper and actually determine which ads and creative is resulting in conversions, is resulting in leads and sales because at the end of the day, that is why we’re running the ads. 

So there’s a couple of lessons in here. One of the biggest things I want you guys to take away from this is the importance of always testing variety. You never want to get into a place where you’re like, “all I do for my ads is reels or, or videos, or all I do is images.” You always need to have variety and always need to be trying new creative things. So that’s the first thing is kind of asking yourself, have I gotten into some sort of a rut where I’m just doing the same thing every month or every week, and I’m not really creating that variety, I’m not being willing to test new things? That is also a piece of marketing is like, you need to be willing to test things that are going to not work, and you’re not going to know if they’re not going to work yet until you go try them. So you actually have no idea if Reels are going to do well for you or not, until you try it. And a Reel or a video might do really well for one offer, like a webinar that you have. Then you might have a new webinar in a couple months and you do Reels and they, for some reason, it doesn’t do as well as your images. Some of it you can’t always explain, but at the end of the day, you always need to come back to the data. 

So that’s the first thing is challenging do you have that variety in your ad creative and are you consistently providing that variety? Obviously, once you figure out types of creative that do, do well, for example, on some of our opt-ins that I have in our company, the scrolling through like a PDF and showing what somebody gets that always does well for us. So we replicate that every time we have a new PDF or offer. So you can bring takeaways, but then I’m also always testing new things, and my experience has always been something that I think is like, “oh, this is going to crush it, this is going to do really well,” it doesn’t. Then things that I’m like, “eh, it’s okay. It could be better,” does really well. So you need to go off the data.

The second point is, don’t get hooked on somebody told you, or you’re seeing this on different social platforms or podcasts you’re listening to, that Reels are better and they should work better and videos should work better. They are great, and they are in a lot of places, our top converting ads for clients, but not a hundred percent of the time. So you have to be willing to customize your marketing, try all the different things, and then come back to the data and make takeaways that actually are relevant to your business, not just what you want. As a business owner, that is the key. I’ve seen a lot of people be like, “no, well, I want Reels to work for me because they work for somebody else” or “because I heard somebody say they should.” It’s like, no, if you tried them and the data doesn’t support that and you know your images are doing better, you should put your ad spend into that because that’s going to make you more money. 

Then the third piece is that any time you are looking at data and intel, it’s very important that you look at it from the holistic perspective. This is true anywhere in marketing. You can never look at a single part of your marketing like just the click through rate and the cost per click and then make decisions. You have to look at what’s happening after that and the whole big picture, and if our goal is webinar registrations, which creative is actually leading to that. Then you have to consider the factors that are at play. This comes up a lot when my team was talking about how interesting it was that some accounts, Reels actually weren’t doing well versus ones that were. When I started thinking about the why and the psychology behind it, that you think about the factors at play. You think about the different audiences, the different offers that are happening. The fact that you’ve got a creator who has different personalities, who has different experience doing this. That’s going to contribute to the success of that creative. 

That always comes up in marketing. When you hear somebody say this XYZ thing worked really well, and you hear somebody say that and then you try to go replicate that, you don’t have the same factors and elements at play as them every time, you don’t. So I’ve talked about this a lot before, but you have to consider their offer, their audience. Is it warm traffic? Is it cold traffic? Do they have a following or not? So often, we miss this in marketing, people, business owners, miss this because they want that shiny bullet, simple fix, let me go replicate that strategy, because that’s easy. The reality is it never works. 

So getting on the micro level and thinking about ad creative images versus Reels, you need to test both, and then you need to follow the data and look at the big picture to actually come to a solution and come to a determination of what’s working better in your account. And that is not your decision forever. That’s just a right now, but you’ll probably refresh your creative again in three, four weeks and you can try it again, and you can try different angles. You have to be willing to have something not work to then come back and say, “okay, that didn’t work. What can we do next time?” That is part of marketing. 

So I hope you guys found this helpful. I know I’ve been preaching Reels, and for me, my Reels and my short videos are my top converting ads, almost every single time. For a good handful of our clients, it’s the same thing. But I did find it really interesting that in another handful of them, it wasn’t. And ads managers were seeing that same exact kind of theme of it was a high click-through rate, inexpensive cost per click, but not necessarily leading to conversions like the images were. So really interesting. Don’t ever get stuck on it has to be this certain way. You’ve got to always test and you’ve got to always have that variety. Thanks so much for tuning in today guys, I’ll talk to you on Thursday.