The implementation of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) has gifted the advertising industry with an opportunity - an ultimatum - to either produce relevant and thought-provoking creative, or risk being blocked by users. This is due to the lockdown of personal data assets (which have previously propelled mediocre creative forward) and a shift to a new era that requires creative to work a lot harder. In essence, effective ads need to now focus less on who is engaging, but how people are engaging.
A push for original creative is a huge leap in the right direction because it brings advertising back to its roots and prevents lazy creative made for creative's sake. In the past, limited consumer data has prompted marketers to make creative that was reliant on preconceptions and guesswork. In a data-centric era, this technique has not aged well. The continued application of this traditional methodology has led to poor and ineffective creative which has contributed to a backdrop of advertising ‘noise’. This ‘noise’ refers to disposable creative that is deployed with a lack of consumer insight and nebulous engagement goals. Whilst it may be possible to have attractive noise (creative that looks good) or relevant noise (focused targeting), this noise is inevitably forgettable and does the brand a huge disservice in conveying its message.
It’s important to recognise that access to sophisticated design tools is not necessarily synonymous with successful creative. You might be capable of creating something subjectively attractive, but the blind assembly of components doesn’t guarantee universal appeal or successful consumer engagement. Creative needs to connect and continue to resonate with consumers in a way that speaks to their wants and needs. As this is unachievable with guesswork alone, data must play a role.
Data-driven creative in practice
Take a look at these two images below. They’re both original and unique, but one of these is computer-generated. Can you guess which one?
The piece on the right is by Turkish artist, Cenk Alkultun (2015)¹ and the piece on the left was created by the ‘Creative Adversarial Networks’ (CAN) system². Quite incredible isn’t it? Artificial Intelligence (AI) is capable of producing highly sophisticated and novel art-work from analysing the most liked and stylistic aspects of human-made art. From this data, it creates art-work which is so convincing that 53% of people cannot distinguish it from human-generated work². CAN work is also rated higher for novelty, inspiration and ‘likedness’ (how much it is liked) than human-generated work², suggesting that a data-driven approach is important to successful creative.
Whilst AI might sound a bit too futuristic for brands to implement into their creative right now, there are numerous steps that can be taken to ease the transition towards data-driven creative.
Using data as a springboard to success
In a privacy-first world, brands need to take the opportunity to leverage richer qualitative insights. This data informs both the creative and contextual factors of human engagement and therefore could indicate which audiences respond best to different types of creative. A discernable approach must be employed to distinguish exactly what kind of data effectively measures this - some data will only indicate effective ad delivery (e.g. showing how many people the ad has reached). The real gold-mine is data that relates to long-term impact factors such as: does the consumer remember the ad, does the consumer like the ad, does the consumer talk about the ad, and does the consumer buy the product.
Discovery of the optimum creative for achieving these impact factors with different audiences is best informed by user-experience research. User-experience research is an incredibly valuable tool as it is not only constructive for refining creative that complements the nuances of consumer behaviour, it also conveys the message that you’re a brand who cares about its consumers. Focus groups and A/B testing are effective techniques for extracting these insights and are taken very seriously by highly performing businesses. For example, accommodation aggregator, Booking.com, emphasises the importance of user experience research by running up to 1000 experiments on its platform at any moment³. These insights are then used to shape a consumer-friendly platform and a service that generates high consumer engagement.
The method in the madness
At Adludio, we believe that we have perfected the formula for effective creative. We attribute this to a seamless marriage of consumer-engagement data and creative tech, which in turn delivers our brand partners unheard-of levels of engagement.
These user-experience insights are generated from the triangulation of a variety of sources (which are currently being automated with our pioneering machine learning algorithms). We obtain enormous volumes of data on attitude and behaviour change through our BIO (brand impact optimisation) tools which can be served before and after every campaign. We also glean data at a granular level to inform the specific aspects of creative that are the most engaging with different consumers. With every campaign, these insights pour into our rich data lake, where these data points are then cross-referenced by vertical and targeting criteria to design, build and optimise premium creatives.
For example, the data lake informs the optimum creative (optimised by audience) for the following:
1) We know which Size of Adunits consumers best respond to
2) We know the ideal Video Length to maintain consumer attention
3) We know which Type of Interactions are the most engaging, exciting and memorable for users
4) We know the optimal Number of Interactions that should be used
5) We know how and when to use Audio Effects to enhance experience and storytelling
6) We know the Main Colours that consumers prefer
7) We know the Amount of Text that should be used to communicate the message
8) We know which techniques should be used to maximise Dwell Time
9) We utilise insights to improve Ad Completion % to ensure consumers experience your ad in its entirety
The entire combination of these consumer-engagement data-points allows us to provide brands with the perfect recipe for successful creative. This is creative that will stand out amongst the noise, effectively deliver the brands message and will contribute to a positive consumer-brand relationship. Brands who overlook or employ guesswork for any of these ingredients will only achieve poor creative that ultimately loses them consumers. To make sure you stay on the right side of your consumers and deliver creative that they want to see, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and experience the same sky-high engagement rates as our partners do!