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Why creative data will dominate this decade

March 19, 2020
Jergan Callebaut

This article was first published in The Drum.

Despite the ‘data boom’ that spread like wildfire during the last decade, the creative side of marketing has remained relatively untouched by the industry’s fascination with data-driven practices. 

This is maybe because, with the intense focus on targeting, data has become all about maximising deliverability for the right audience.

And this myopic obsession with the right channel and the perfect targeting has led to complacency.

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Complacency that has led to the ever decreasing click-through rates and sales. As a result, fear has gripped this industry. Fear that taking creative risks is going to lead to that all-important ROI slipping

And ultimately, fear is the biggest killer of creativity

But it doesn’t have to be like this. I’d like to suggest that, for marketing teams and brands, creative data will lead the next decade’s creative revolution, allowing them to retain contracts better and get new business faster.

A decade of *misfocused* data

Recent studies have concluded that creativity is the most vital aspect of an ad. The Case for Creativity found that creatively-awarded campaigns are 27% more effective, while Ispos confirmed that “creative quality” determines 75% of ad impact.

Then why do we, on average, spend 90% of our budget on media and only 10% on creative?  Why, in 2019, did 55% of marketers said their main focus was to use data for better targeting, rather than using data to improve creatives? 

Let me clarify: Data-driven practices that augment targeting are incredibly important. After all, what’s the point of crafting an amazing creative that no one sees? 

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But they’ve been given far too much emphasis. And taken up too much of everyone’s time. 

With the market becoming ever-more competitive and crowded, the most compelling creative is the only one that’s going to resonate with your audience. 

And data is going to be the only way we can retain a competitive edge. Because all this time we’ve inadvertently been ignoring the fact that the creative content we produce is also data.

Data-driven creative direction

Of course, you’d be forgiven for thinking of data and creativity as polar opposites. Creativity is something we perceive as requiring a human touch, intuition and heart – hardly things we relate to the cold, hard numbers that tend to make up data. 

But creative content contains data too. Creative data. 

Each creative contains many, many data points: Imagery, layout, copy, colours – to name just a few elements. These can be identified with simple analysis of each creative. 

When combined with brands’ engagement data, we can use these features to understand which elements correlate with performance for every audience and segment (a process called Content Atomisation).

Content-Atomisation

Of course, analysing the individual features in hundreds or even thousands of ads is a lot of work. So to speed up this process, an AI platform like our tool Datasine Connect can augment the analysis of creatives in moments. Working collaboratively with an AI, teams can access the untapped resource of their creative data and garner actionable insights to superpower their creative direction.


Using creative data you can objectively know whether the creative you intend to use is going to have a negative impact on the conversion performance

For example, at Datasine we worked with a leading telecommunications brand to gather the creative data of 3,500 of their ads and understand the correlation between creative elements and sales performance. Our AI created clusters of different content features such as ‘cable’ and used engagement data to see whether a ‘snaking’ or ‘straight’ cable was more effective (it was snaking, by the way). 

Using our AI platform, we were able to accurately predict what creative elements would result in clicks – and which wouldn’t – and used it to help the client’s creative team select and combine the most high-performing creative elements. 

Creative data: The ultimate untapped resource 

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In the 2020s, we’ll see creative data dominate the industry, with agencies and brands alike using it realise their audiences’ visual and copy preferences. And with AI on hand to augment creative choices, we’ll witness a wave of highly-engaging, highly-innovative creatives, sending ripples through an industry in much need of disruption.

More to the point, this next decade will see data and creativity building an intimate, symbiotic relationship which will elevate advertising and marketing. If the last decade was about using data to reach people, this next decade will be about using it to move people.

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