Chris Loy, CTO and Co-founder of Datasine, explains why marketers should be embracing creative intelligence data to optimise their campaigns.
The digital revolution has shifted the fundamentals of the marketing sphere, causing businesses to radically rethink their marketing strategies and replace guesswork with an exact science. American merchant, John Wanamaker was famously quoted as saying “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted: the trouble is I don’t know which half.”
This quote rang true for decades after Wanamaker’s death in 1922 but over recent years, digitisation has given marketers the keys to unlock the science sitting behind their communications, including the creative aspect of their campaigns.
Where before, getting performance-based creative insights were purely based on gut instinct and guesswork – or complicated A/B testing – ever-changing consumer behaviour trends and an oversaturated digital market mean that now more than ever, advertisers need access to data that can help guide them through the creative process to better understand what specifically is creating impact, and what isn’t.
Despite these opportunities, it is clear that marketers are yet to embrace the full extent of their data, with research conducted by Datasine showing that four in every five marketers are wasting approximately one-third of their data and an overall total showing less than half of all valuable marketing data actually being used.
This is despite marketing professionals universally acknowledging that harnessing customer data more effectively would increase ROI on future campaigns by at least 19%. This becomes even more polarising as we see brands fiercely trying to weather the storm brought on by COVID-19, fighting to hold their position in the market by anticipating the needs of their customer.
Increased competition in a digital world
The rise in popularity of platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok demonstrates the importance of visuals in the digital world, emphasising the need for marketers to show innovation through their creative.
This is made even more crucial as brands fight for space in an increasingly oversaturated market, with many consumers experiencing ‘ad fatigue’ as they are exposed to as many as 10,000 ads per day.
As well as growing market competition, the cost of digital marketing is also increasing. Facebook revenue jumped by 22% this year, showing the rise in competition.
Cost per click (CPC’s) and cost per acquisition (CPA’s) are getting progressively higher, at the same time as we are seeing reductions in the click-through rate (CTR’s), brought on by competition from brands, fighting for the top slots.
This comes at a time when consumers are calling for brands to invest in new storytelling approaches. This noisy online space means that creative needs to work even harder to cut through to its target market and the pressure on ROI continues to bear down on advertisers. As more of us move towards a digital way of life, there are no signs of this slowing down.
Importance of creative analysis
While many marketers use data analytics to measure the performance of the campaign, they are only doing so at a surface level. Monitoring the performance of campaigns needs to go beyond just the placement, the copy of the format.
Creative, and the impact of it, can be turned into data to help unlock more learnings about what works and what doesn’t for a brand and in such a visual world.
Creative can make a significant difference to the ROI on a campaign, in fact, according to Nielsen, 56% of the ROI is attributed to creative, as well as 70% of the ad performance, according to Google. This is why it is crucial for brands to understand how and why creative works for their audience in order to succeed.
Data challenges for marketers
There is a lot to be gained from analysing previous marketing campaigns and a goldmine of creative data to unlock, if this data is properly analysed, it can help brands to develop a data-driven campaign strategy. But this is easier said than done.
According to our research, while marketers can see the value data can have on their ROI, 38% don’t know what to measure and 27% are unable to measure what they want to. It is clear that marketers need accessible data to guide them through creative decisions.
Many marketers may also have been slow to embrace AI due to a fear that it will robotise their creative output and their campaigns will lose the important human touch that is needed to resonate with their target market. There seems to be a sense that AI and data analytics will remove the space for experimentation and add too many boundaries to the creative process.
Overwhelmed by an excess of unstructured data and nervousness about losing the human touch on their creative, many marketers are still struggling to see the major benefits that data analytics can bring to their campaigns.
AI and creative intelligence data
Marketers usually have a good idea of what works and what doesn’t when it comes to creative but investing in tools to help them unlock creative intelligence data allows them to make creative decisions, backed by an exact science.
All of this comes before even spending any money pre-testing ads in apps such as Facebook and waiting for their algorithms to kick in, creative intelligence data tools can score ads to show marketers which ones will likely perform the best for the brand.
AI models can extract each element of a campaign in seconds by analysing image or text semantically, to look at content as if through the human eye. This allows marketers to cut back on lengthy and expensive testing methods and eliminate any of their guesswork.
The philosophy of ‘semantic content analysis’ is at the core of how AI and creative intelligence data can be used to analyse content. Marketers are now able to break each previous campaign’s images and text into data using computer vision and natural language processing, before using AI to help them produce and select the best creative making their campaigns more effective.
This process provides marketers with not only analysis and suggestions, backed up by evidence, but also predictions around the type of creative that will be best suited for future ad campaigns.
To do this, marketers can use a custom AI model, based on their own data. This analyses the performance of the brand’s previous campaigns to assess what works and what doesn’t, as well as giving reasons for these successes or failures. It also provides detailed insights on the target market’s preferences, allowing the marketers to understand the creative that will appeal to them most.
While this type of technology is making waves in the marketing arena, we understand that marketers may be put off by the idea of handing their creative over to robots.
This should not be seen as a complete digital takeover, and while AI can be used to dissect, analyse and understand creative, as well as predicting future success of other content, the human aspect of creativity still maintains its position in the marketing sphere.
Marketers need to see AI as a tool of creative empowerment, used to collaborate with their human intuition and innovation and giving them the framework and evidence-based backing to experiment with new ideas.
As brands continue to weather the storm brought on by COVID-19, it may not feel like the best time to take creative risks, so, marketers must gather and learn from all the data at their disposal to make the right decisions regarding their ads in order to succeed.
With human creativity at the helm, the scientific assurance that marketers can gain from investing in creative intelligence data acts as a guiding star through even the choppiest of waters.