The New Era of Data-Driven Creative

graphic of runner made of pixels

By Aaron Noffsinger, Chief Creative Officer at Aisle Rocket

Performance marketers have long held that the right algorithms and data can connect the right ad campaigns to the right audiences and drive measurable results. However, most performance marketers tend to focus on targeting specific audiences and often overlook the creative and storytelling elements of ad campaigns that actually connect people to brands on an emotional level and drive meaningful behavior. Google attributes nearly 40% of sales lift to the creative elements in a campaign and platforms like Tiktok, Snapchat and Youtube have all reported increased engagement with creative that has been optimized based on performance data.

It seems obvious that performance marketing and creative teams should work together but most agencies and brands have created silos within marketing to decentralize their operations between creative, media buying and performance marketing. And while specialty practices have some benefits, they also cause obstacles in a world where speed, agility and being able to adapt to get measurable results fast, matters. One of the great projects of modern advertising is to break down the silos between these practices and agencies should be asking; how can we use data to optimize creativity and emotional resonance in the same way we optimize behavioral targeting and direct response?

Harness Data for Creative Ideation

From the moment an advertiser puts a message in front of an audience, they begin collecting data. Every step of the advertising process can grow and enhance this data-collection, which grows both more unwieldy and more valuable with time and scale. With the right data collection and analytics at the onset of ideation, advertisers can inform and improve their narrative just as performance marketers use sophisticated analytics to refine their targeting.


What’s increasingly missing and perhaps more important is how we use that same data to inform the next iteration of creative production. When it’s time to develop a new campaign, instead of saying, “here are three ideas, let’s see which one works,” data can indicate insights that inform the starting point before the creative ideation begins.

Successful advertising campaigns increasingly begin with existing campaign data sets, new data collection, analysis and insights. Here’s a real-life example: An agency was enlisted to develop a campaign for a popular brand of crackers. Instead of starting with a brainstorming session around messaging, the agency embarked on a data-collection project to better understand the conversation volume and consumer passions that revolve around one of the crackers key attributes, real cheese.

The agency quickly learned that the majority of social chatter around and cheese was actually not in the cracker category at all, but more centered around another growing category, wine. Wine & Cheez-It, the ultimate snack pack for adults was created. With that insight born of data collection, the agency was able to develop a campaign that resonated not just with those existing customers, but with large new audiences of oenophiles.

Coupled with new technology and brand storytelling, the future of data-driven advertising is bright. Creativity will always be an essential part of the process, but marrying creative ideation with data collection and analysis represents an exciting new frontier for marketers.