The Digital Trinity: Data, Creativity and Trading
Tech companies (including us) are banging the drum about data siloes - a brand’s first party, second party and third party data need to be in one place so as to minimise ad spend on irrelevant audiences at inconvenient times. Of course, this is an important point to labour but we should not neglect the siloes and fragmentation explicit at an industry level. A bird’s eye view of the industry would illustrate how segmented we all are – ad tech companies, creative agencies, media agencies, data providers and publishers. We should be more aligned than ever and having open and frank conversations about how our business strategies meet and our operational tactics mesh, in order to offer the best possible creative and data-driven advertising solutions.
With the rise of programmatic and the glorious onset of programmatic branding, marketers have had to become more tech-orientated to survive in an increasingly digital savvy consumer sphere. As the ad tech scene has evolved, technologies offering creative opportunities have blossomed and marketers now have opportunities to create enhanced brand experiences whilst benefitting from robust branding metrics. But, it seems many creative agencies are still hesitant. There is no doubt that some creative agencies are embracing the opportunities for enhanced brand experiences that ad tech has to offer; but others seem hesitant to admit that ad tech can contribute to their vision and strategy at all.
Good creative agencies create ads that elicit an emotional response and most ad tech companies jump in to deliver the ad to a precise segment of the brand’s target audience; as well as offering services like dynamic creative optimization (DCO) to enable the personalization of these ads. So if we are propelling and amplifying a creative ad into the eyeballs of a brand’s precise target audience at scale then surely we are enhancing creativity, and its visibility, not restricting it. Data generates better consumer insight which increases bespoke impactful brand messaging which enables and promotes discrimination, disruption and boldness because, if you’ve got your targeting right, your audience will connect and engage with them at a deeper level, and more frequently.
As Bernbach said, "Properly practiced, creativity can make one ad do the work of 10". The graphic designers, concept creators, artworkers, copywriters in creative agencies are invaluable – their ability to create highly impactful campaigns (and we’re talking concept ideation) is admirable and quite unique. But at some stage during concept creation, tech needs to be considered - the capabilities of programmatic advertising, data usage and optimization techniques can boost a campaign further by amplifying its visibility. If creative agencies are aware of what ad tech companies can provide – a huge portfolio of ad formats, along with dynamic creative optimization (DCO), dynamic creative information (DCI), personalization and precise data targeting – then perhaps that 10, can become 100.
Dynamic creative optimization refers to the creative variation within an ad. For example, if a luxury fashion brand wishes to re-target web visitors based in London, Birmingham and Edinburgh, they may decide to increase relevancy and engagement by utilizing background creatives that correspond to the user location - an image of their store in Edinburgh, or the London Eye etc. Ads can also be fully optimized in real time, based on data and visitor behaviour on any type of e-commerce site or webpage, which makes every single ad personal, relevant and unique. Dynamic Creative Information is a similar concept - optimizing content to encourage increased relevancy for the user but this time, utilizing real-time information such as weather, product discounts, sports results, traffic etc.
Many brands are now utilizing capabilities such as DCO and DCI, many are also embracing enhanced data targeting, look-a-like modelling and audience extension as illustrated by this super successful, high-impact video campaign utilizing YouGov data segments.
Case study: Music to our ears
An agency that manages the digital advertising strategy of a well known, global entertainment company approached us for the media planning and buying and data management for a promotional campaign for a famous, household name rock band. The objectives of the campaign were to promote awareness of the band’s new album to target audience, create engagement with the band’s new album content and drive traffic to the band’s website. We decided, with the agency, on a tactical cross-device, high-impact, pre-roll Video campaign - the Video included the band’s latest music video, alongside links to download the new album.
The agency utilised a YouGov segment made up of an audience who had indicated via polls that they had previously bought an album of this band; 27k cookies directly matched people who had completed the poll. To achieve greater scale, the Adform DMP was used to extend this audience to reach those who closely matched specific web behaviours of the original YouGov segment; the final audience was over 200k. The inventory was purchased via open RTB, the campaign ran on numerous premium sites including The Independent, The New York Times, plus many others.
The results prove the effectiveness of creativity, data and ad tech - the Engagement Rate was 25.8% (nearly 2x higher than the Average Engagement Rate for Rich Media campaigns in the UK*), 32% of impressions watched at least 25% of the video and 7.5% watched the full video. And this was an awareness campaign with no clear CTR – the campaign saw a CTR of 0.21% (over 2x higher than the Global Average CTR for standard banner campaigns in the Arts & Entertainment sector*). You can view the full case study here.
Tech platforms love creativity too
We love creativity, we use it daily – the industry cannot innovate without a creative mindset, albeit we see a very different outcome. It is a crucial component to advertising and as robotic as creative agencies think ad techsters are, we cannot function, like them, without imagination, fantasy and fun.
The view that ad tech is stifling creativity is surely a dated, archaic attitude. Data and automation are not the enemy of creativity – it’s simply enabling a more precise, bespoke and personalised narrative and consumer experience. And may even minimise the likelihood of consumers clicking that all too brutal ad blocker.