An article titled Data-Driven Creative Equals Mediocre Creative was written in 2013, but I first came across it in the book ‘The Rise of the Platform Marketer’ by Craig Dempster and John Lee. Now that we are four years out from it, I think it would be interesting to review from a fresh perspective to see how the technology has done as our world has become more and more digitally reliant.
First, data does not equal mediocre creative. Certainly, there are different types of creative and/or ad units that have more creative constraints but data is always useful when they are attached to metrics that are valuable for business decisions. This title and article is from a limitation mindset. Unfortunately, this is a very common thought of creatives that have never seen usable data. It is not because they are not interested in supporting better business decisions, but that they are in one way or another not educated, experienced, or interested in analytics and how data-driven creative can support better responses from the viewer.
Tailored Messaging and Content
Through dynamically generated creative, we now have the ability to tailor messaging and content based on audience platforms and personalization. Through feeds we have the capability to consider ad standards across an exhaustive list of products, services, promotional messages, and ad formats. Not to mention, with creative management tools we can often integrate these feed based ads across campaign management programs, demand side platforms, and bid management tools to run programmatic ads to users based on real-time visits across the web. The opportunities are endless with creative ads now built with HTML coding tags instead of as flat, bitmap images. When you can communicate limitations of the coding language and creative assets to clients at the outset of the creative build, you can work with the client to update ads dynamically, aka, quickly and efficiently.
Bitmap and Static Images
Even bitmap images like jpgs or pngs that are static, aka not animated, setting up a measurement strategy to consider effectiveness in driving interest is always a possibility. The need for dynamic feeds opens up faster edits of these ads when messaging or price points need to be altered on a regular basis. With HTML coding as a form of creative, the future of creative is interactivity, where you can actually track user engagement and be less ‘salesy’ and more interesting and even fun, potentially.
What is the Job of a Creative?
It is always the job of the creative to solve visual and spatial challenges that allow for good eye flow and clear calls to action that are in line with branding requirements. The author of the article said, ‘But to posit that data should drive everything we do is to believe our own hype’. It is this kind of belief system that does not seek to understand the purpose of creativity, which is to help enlighten or inspire to a specific intent. Any time you can know more about the users needs through data rather than speculation, this should be coveted, not disregarded. As marketers, everything we do as creatives must be boiled down to ‘what does the consumer want?’ Even as a true-creative if we try to shun the idea that we are ‘soliticing’ and are only trying to expand someones thinking or ‘wow’ someone with delight, we must understand what is best for the user. This requires understanding how something has been perceived. When we can get data that might support this, we should strive for it.