How the Advertising Industry Should View the Intersection of Creativity and Data

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On the surface, it may seem like the two concepts that drive advertising—creativity and data—are at odds with one another.

After all, creativity is, at its core, a human activity, requiring a person to think, innovate, and design using their very subjective talent and taste. On the other hand, data is, by nature, concrete—collected and analyzed by computers, used to measure completely factual information, and immutable no matter how humans interact with it.

Despite creativity and data being so different, advertisers cannot focus entirely on one and ignore the other. Instead they must master both—producing ad creatives that resonate with audiences and ensuring their ads get placed where they’re seen by those likely to buy.

In fact, the most effective advertisers don’t silo creativity and data. Rather, they understand how to use the two in tandem, relying on powerful data mining and AI technology to make informed decisions about what creative content will work best, and learning simultaneously where they should place it.

Deep Learning Can Help You Produce Creative Content that Engages Your Core Audience

Data and creativity merge when advertisers employ tools that harness the power of deep learning. Deep learning is a type of AI that uses algorithms to understand what patterns of visual images, video, and text (i.e. the meat of an ad’s creative) users most frequently engage with and how they interact with that content.

This allows them to show the most effective advertising content to the right users in the right place.

One reason that deep learning is so powerful for advertisers is because the more it’s employed, the more data is gathered about consumer behavior—and, ultimately, the smarter the algorithms get.

Over time, this allows advertisers to get more precise at matching an ad, a consumer, and a page effectively—consistently rolling out creative ad content where they’re certain it’ll work.

Using deep learning to mine data and understand consumer behavior online will allow you to lean on the creative content that’s doing what it’s intended to—and avoid the content that’s not.

Data Can Make Ad Creatives More Relevant By Speeding Up Time to Market

When it comes to ads that resonate, creative content is key. However, culture and trends change rapidly, and it can feel hard to ensure a campaign that feels meaningful one day will still be relevant the next.

Traditionally, marketers tested their ad creatives using focus groups. While it’s somewhat useful to get feedback about ad content directly from the mouths of real potential buyers, the process of manually testing ads is slow and clunky.

It’s also limited to a relatively small audience. Often, by the time the process is complete, the creative content is outdated, or there’s different content that would appeal more to a wider audience of buyers.

Luckily, advertisers can shift away from a slow, outdated testing process and speed it up by harnessing the testing of data in real time.

Technology that allows for automated A/B testing can give you information about which content is performing best with a wide audience right now—no waiting for results.

Also, real-time data reports allow for more flexibility with your ad creatives and help you avoid the rigidity so many advertisers used to feel about their campaigns once their testing process was complete.

You no longer need to feel locked into what tested best at the beginning of your campaign. With data-driven tools, you can see which creative content is outperforming others at the moment—and quickly shift towards what is working and away from what is not.

Using Data to Make Buying Decisions Can Ensure You’re Making Smart, Safe Buys

Successful advertisers see a return on their investment. After all, why spend money to market your business if you’re not bringing in any new customers? So, advertisers should look for partners that offer guaranteed-based buying: meaning, you only pay for an advertisement if a potential buyer engages in a very specific, predetermined way with that ad (e.g. a click, a completed view, a download, etc.).

Designate what outcome you want each ad creative to have, then ensure that you only pay for advertising if you experience that outcome.

By buying on guaranteed-based outcomes, you can follow a predictable model that proves the value of your media buy before you launch a whole campaign.

Or, if your ad does not perform as intended, you can go back and tweak its content so that it pays off.

Thanks in part to a global pandemic that has changed the way buyers browse, research, and shop, today’s advertising landscape feels uncertain and treacherous. This can make marketing teams feel like their efforts are a gamble, since it’s hard to pinpoint what content will resonate, and where users will actually be spending time.

Luckily, if you use data to make better creative decisions and determine where it’s best to place your creative content, you can minimize the risk you experience when buying advertising and increase the chances that your ads get seen by the right people.

Harnessing creativity and data together can ultimately ensure your advertising investments are worth it, as you effectively convince more and more people to buy.

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