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Creative Matters: Unlock the Full Potential of Data-Driven Creative

Blog | 16 Aug, 2017

In most of today’s campaigns, 90% of spend is dedicated to the media buy while only 10% goes to creative development. Yet creative variables account for more than half of the total sales impact of a campaign, and high quality creative can drive a 200% to 400% increase in campaign response rate.

Cory Hudson, US Creative Director at Jellyfish, spoke to marketers at our A View on Programmatic event in NYC about how to capitalize on the rich potential of dynamic creative.

To paraphrase Juan Bongiovanni, Director of Digital Marketing at Netflix, "Great creative can overcome a poor media plan, but the opposite isn't really true. Any brand that can combine an intelligent media plan with effective creative that is personalized and aware of its context is going to win in the hearts and minds of consumers and in wallets."

We know that poor creative contributes to poor performance and low click-through rates. What you might not realize is that it also contributes to much larger issues like widespread distaste for advertising and prevalent ad blockers. 

So what can we do about this?

The solution to this isn’t a sudden shift in the budget to bolster creative funds. It’s a shift to focus on creative to ensure the full, maximized performance of digital campaigns.

How do we determine the right ad? 
It starts with personalization, and that’s where data-driven creative comes in.

What is data-driven creative?

Any creative hosted on an integrated technology platform that's using data signals to update the messaging and the content of the ad in real-time and then delivering that in one of three ways:

  • Storytelling

Leverages sequential messaging to develop a personalized dialogue with the consumer

  • Creative Decisioning

Targets specific consumers based on what we know about that user

  • Dynamic Creative Assembly

Updates and optimizes content in real-time, powered by a feed or an API of some sort

Data inputs can come from a variety of sources: previous learnings from past campaigns, first-party data, third-party data, and so on. 

Data = Personalization

Our objective is to collect all the information about our target audience and then whittle that down into data signals that make sense and help us meet the objectives of our campaigns. 

There are a few types of data signals to think about:  

  • Audience 

Demographic, behavior on a website, search marketing data, social behavior, CRM, etc. 

  • Media

Keyword, contextual targeting, category targeting, media placement, publisher, data, etc.

  • Environmental

Device or operating system, geo-location, weather, time of day, live events, etc. 

It's important for creative teams to understand these data signals because it's these data signals that develop our personalization strategy. We combine all this data with our creative minds and try to come up with something that's very clever, non-Big Brother feeling.

Subtle is always better when it comes to creative and personalization and that's what we're really after.

How do we get the creative right? 

The quality of the creative itself ultimately determines how your campaign will perform. So what we need in addition to the data is a sound strategic approach to creative.

There are five rules to developing killer creative. 

  • Use HTML5 to its fullest potential 

This is imperative. Without HTML5, all you have is a static JPEG. We should treat our ads as if they were miniature websites. The same technologies that go into webpages are at our fingertips with HTML5. It allows us to combine animation, interactivity and applicable functionality to create an immersive ad experience that promotes prolonged user engagement.

HTML5 functionality produces anywhere ad units. You can deliver across platform, across browser, across device, and that really is a better monetization of your ad impressions. It almost completely removes the need for static backups. In other words, the ad you build and serve on desktop can be the same ad you serve on mobile.

HTML5 is quickly growing towards 100% ubiquity widespread adoption. There's not an environment out there that isn't supporting HTML5 these days, which means you can use it confidently.

  • Follow best practices that are based on data

Dynamic creative means we can tailor our ads to individual consumers based off data inputs related to the product to keep the ad fresh, up to date, and relevant to the viewer. It also allows also for scalable A/B testing. 

Once you get your feed set up, you can quickly and easily test different iterations of your creative and optimize in real-time. It’s not just about the personalized, relevant ad experience. It's also about productivity and efficiency within your organization, and how you’ll update creative in real-time to help it enjoy a longer shelf life. 

  • Personalize whenever possible

Use targeting and dynamic technology to deliver relevant and unique ad experiences to individual consumers. 

Great marketing starts and ends with what the audience wants. 52% of consumers rate “relevance” or “presents information that I want to learn” as the number one reason that they would engage with an ad. Seventy-four percent of consumers get frustrated when content offers an ad up here that had nothing to do with their interests, which is why advertisers need to personalize the ad experience with dynamic creative.

Whenever you have a consumer interacting with an ad, you want it to be set up in a way to provide something of value. Maybe it’s a series of questions that lead to product recommendations, or maybe it’s an interactive game. There are a ton of options with HTML5, and you can have some fun developing those concepts. No matter what, the interactivity should serve a purpose.

And again, you can't do this with a static ad. Moreover, you can't track the interactions and report on them with a static ad.

  • Achieve scale

The key to dynamic creative is building the ad shell that understands what inputs are coming from the feed. This allows us to account for all the different creative variations, which then lets us change the content in real-time. 

It isn't just text; it isn't just images. You can make anything dynamic, like video dynamic, change the color in real-time, change the different types of animations. 

Cooperation between your display team and your creative team is imperative in order to ensure creative is always presented in the way that it looks nice and represents your brand in a positive light. Careful considerations need to be put into your template and understanding of the available assets.

Avoid Burnout

 Keeping your creative fresh is critical to achieving scale because it helps prevent banner burnout. Digital wear-out will generally occur after someone had seen an ad between 20 and 40 times, or over the course of 3 months. 

You want to always be thinking about how you can refresh and optimize your existing creative, especially the creative that's performing well. From there, optimize based on performance. Let your technology platform choose which ads to show based on performance.

  • Measure and Iterate

If we don't know how our creative is performing, how can we improve upon that?

 A fragment approach is a bad thing. 

Forty-four percent of advertisers and agencies say that managing campaigns across multiple platforms is the most significant digital marketing challenge they face.

Platforms like DoubleClick ease those woes because they offer integrated technology platforms where everything is in one place. Housing all of your work and all of your teammates in the same platform makes it much easier to achieve measurable goals. They also allow for the streamlining of dynamic and rich-media solutions.

Good Creative

There is a real opportunity with advertising to establish a positive emotional connection with your consumer. If you get them involved in a pleasant interaction that's giving them something of value, they're going to feel good about your brand. That’s good creative, and that’s what every brand should be investing in. 

If you aren’t taking full advantage of dynamic creative capabilities, contact us today. 

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