Creativity without data is a shot in the dark

Data underpins the entire business landscape, but it’s often in marketing that we see its most powerful application.

Opening up some of the biggest opportunities in digital advertising today, data is becoming a currency all its own. It allows businesses to better identify their ideal audiences and engage with them in a more meaningful, effective way. So it’s fitting that when many of the ad industry's global leaders met at Dmexco this week, how to create value through data was the opener for this summit.

The relationship between brands and consumers is evolving. Today’s consumers are more engaged and informed. They have faster access to more information than ever before, particularly through their mobile devices, where the average consumer spends over four hours daily. Consequently, their expectations for advertising are higher. Companies have to work every single day to stay relevant, making up-to-date information vital. That’s why data has become a fundamental tool for marketers, helping with three things in particular: improving insights, targeting, and the ability to measure results.

Insights can cover a huge spectrum of information, from understanding the apps consumers use most to their recent purchasing behaviour. These insights can help to confirm a business’s assumptions or reveal new, previously unnoticed patterns and trends, and inform strategy on a daily basis.

From a marketing point of view, targeting is where data really comes into its own. This can lead to a more holistic picture of the consumer, and that increases the chances to deliver the most relevant messages. For example, holiday-makers conduct an average of six online searches before booking their travel, and one of these takes place on a mobile device. If your travel company also knew that this consumer belonged to a particular airline loyalty programme, or had recently used a travel app, then you could deliver a smarter, more meaningful ad. A data-driven decision that’s far more likely to achieve the results you’re looking for.

Proving ROI is a constant consideration, especially when it comes to marketing. Once you’ve gathered your insights, and then acted, you have to know if your work has delivered results. Personalised ads can drive a tenfold lift in engagement, but measurement is the critical step to demonstrating this.

We’ve entered the world of big data, but now it’s about making that data actionable. Marketers have to unite data, creative content, and technology to achieve success. Understanding your audience comes first, but using that information to create more relevant, valuable, creative, and empowering experiences for consumers is the path to greater business success. And that’s the future of how data drives value for brands.

Lisa Utzschneider is chief revenue officer at Yahoo

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