Data and creativity key for future digital success, say industry leaders

While many organisations continue to struggle with finalising data strategies and digital advertising management ahead of the upcoming changes to third-party cookies, industry leaders say that addressing the creativity of digital marketing is equally important.

According to Facebook ANZ head of marketing science, Andy Ford, there are major benefits from pairing insightful data analysis with equally great creative output. While any brand can launch a digital ad, “there’s a wide chasm separating the many average ones from the very best”, according to Ford.

Recent research conducted by Facebook via Analytic Partners and The Lab Insights & Strategy, found that on average, 70% of the potential return on investment for video advertising comes from the creative itself, with the remainder being driven by executional elements.

Source: Facebook

“With tracking changes and the potential impact on optimisation, impactful creative based on data-driven insights is your most important weapon for growth in performance,” Ford said.

Ford is particularly interested in the prospect of using data to model the incremental impact of pieces of creative: “We put a lot of time into identifying the difference between ineffective creative assets and great creative assets. This allows us to diagnose ways to improve things in future.”

According to BMF’s head of effectiveness and data strategy, Jen Rhodes, while the smartest brands have been doing it for years, “now’s certainly the time to act if you don’t want to get left behind”.  Rhodes believes that interest in data is finally growing across marketing teams and the general public alike.

Rhodes has also found that using data insights throughout the campaign lifecycle is essential to ensure the creative is working as hard as possible.

“We use performance and research data to optimise creative during campaigns, and then dig into the data at the back end to see which elements are working,” said Rhodes.

Rhodes added that BMF is working closely on new strategies with clients which have previously been less data-driven, particularly when it comes to gathering and utilising first party data.

“These are exciting times for clients who’ve previously not had access to this kind of information,” explained Rhodes. “Building a fuller profile of their customers will unlock greater insights and fuel better creative.

According to CHE Proximity chief data officer, James Greaney, the opportunities for combining data and creative are widespread: “There are now significant opportunities with Artificial Intelligence (AI), increased levels of automation, and reduced latency, which is the speed we receive actionable data back.”

He also said that the current state of transformation will generate creative output that is more reflective of what consumers want in life.

“By using the tools and technologies we have at our disposal, the advertising industry can create great entertainment and experiences that are genuinely valuable. Since we have the ability to measure its effectiveness, we need to lean in and make sure that we’re understanding it properly.

The increasing democratisation of data is one development that Rhodes welcomes. In particular, she is keen to see more people “getting their hands dirty” when it comes to data: marketing teams in particular.
“The same goes for consumers, as we can now give them access to their own data in more innovative and engaging ways,” she said.

Ford is keeping creative at the forefront of his mind, and wants to capitalise on the opportunities brands have to use data and AI to improve creative effectiveness.

Andy Ford

With the media environment changing fast and measurement tools improving apace, there are huge opportunities for brands to use data and AI to improve creative effectiveness.

“A key focus, if not the main focus of my team, is to make the creative work harder,” Ford added.

Brands that have been struggling to get to grips with their data strategy ahead of the end of third-party cookies can take solace in the old Chinese proverb: ‘The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.’

According to Greaney the message is simple: “It’s never too late to up your game when it comes to data capabilities.”


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