Data-Informed Creative is the Tree-Topper This Christmas Season

Christianne Wahl, Head of Global Accounts EMEA, VidMob

Using data to enhance the performance of campaign variables like targeting and budget allocation is established best practice in digital advertising. Media teams adjust ad buys based on which digital channels deliver the best results; likewise, sophisticated, granular audience building is used to transform ad targeting. However, while analytical tools to understand and fine-tune creative performance are becoming more readily available, many brands are slow to adopt them, often casting them aside as simply more tools, more tech and yet another platform to learn.

The slow adoption of creative performance tools is at odds however with a multitude of research over the last decade – whether from the Harvard Business Review or Google Media Lab, which finds that 70% of digital success is founded on ad creative – proving that creative deserves equal, if not dominant, attention when it comes to analysing and optimising campaigns. In light of 2020’s ever-shifting consumer behaviour, it is crucial that brands don’t overlook these findings and the true impact of digital ad creative on target audiences. Brands must bring creative development up to speed with other digital processes, to deliver more authentic, successful and imaginative ad campaigns than before. This is especially important as we approach one of the biggest retail events of the year and with brands under more pressure than ever to hit their Q4 targets.

So how can marketers use data to ensure they get their holiday ad creative right?

Creative intelligence: A gift to advertisers this festive season

In 2020, 31% of global consumers are demanding real and authentic content from digital ads, but brands need better metrics to measure the impact of this kind of creative. Traditional advertising campaigns tend to evaluate how audiences respond emotionally or intellectually to ads; they lack the complementary metrics to provide a deeper understanding of how the emotional response can boost actions, such as qualified traffic and leads. Breakthroughs in machine learning and computer vision are empowering advertisers with more sophisticated measurement tools. These technologies utilise first-party data to build creative intelligence, which accurately establishes the relationship between effective creative and ROI – granting access to actionable insights in near real-time, whether it’s a case of making branding more subtle or opting for dramatic motion creative as opposed to static.

Scalable efficiency and effectiveness: More than just stocking fillers

One key benefit of creative intelligence is making impactful ad creative truly scalable, as optimisation is a must across every ad format. With UK ad spend for digital video expected to rise 15% in 2020, and overall display outlays forecast to grow 7.2%, brands need transparent, real-time data on the creative performance of individual ad formats. When production teams are equipped with these insights, they can take an informed approach to create effective ads no matter how they are deployed. This scale doesn’t only apply to digital formats, but also to scaling campaigns for global reach. Being able to deliver creative optimisation support for every major language, for example, is essential to building a successful, multinational brand campaign.

Additionally, creative intelligence enables greater collaboration among advertising teams, particularly when streamlining the review and approval processes for key stakeholders. Efficiency is vital for ensuring digital campaigns can be continually enhanced to align with updated objectives and target metrics. While advanced technologies are hugely beneficial to improving the creative process, brands shouldn’t lose sight of the human touch. It is more possible than ever to unite human ingenuity with machine-learning powered tools, but to do this optimally will require an innovative new approach.

Reimagine the creative process: Advertising’s New Year’s resolution

Deploying creative intelligence so that it achieves its greatest potential will alter the relationship between creative talent and media agencies. To date, creative teams have usually been blind to the performance of their work, with optimisation efforts happening elsewhere. As the adoption of creative intelligence grows, so will a new dynamic between media planning and production teams. Cutting-edge technology and insight will produce a new level of accountability for advertisers, pushing creatives to explore the concept of continuous campaign optimisation. Data and media agencies, however, will need to not only gain a clearer view of creative success but also communicate it with production teams to truly bring home this accountability. On the flip side of this, creative agencies and producers must become more comfortable with analytics and data-driven processes. Ultimately, transforming the internal structure of digital advertising will open new strategic possibilities, minimise creative guesswork, and reinforce production teams’ place at the heart of online ad campaigns.

To inspire the emotional impact that actually drives conversions – and offers transparent results alongside actionable insights – advertisers must advance their digital processes with creative intelligence. Augmenting creative teams with machine learning tools to drive greater revenues will not only ensure success during the prime festive season but also in the year ahead.