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Creative Industry Insights

We should change the way we think about creative

By Pauline Lemaire, director of large accounts, SEA


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August 21, 2019 | 5 min read

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Only a few years ago, you could clearly distinguish between banners for brand awareness and those for sales conversion. Due to different key performance indicators (KPIs), performance marketing and brand departments co-existed with minimal interaction. Today however, marketers need to ensure consistency across all channels, and performance ads often do not meet those standards.

As the industry’s perspective on advertising creative changes, we need to approach it in a whole new way

As the industry’s perspective on advertising creative changes, we need to approach it in a whole new way

It is no wonder that brand marketers are dissatisfied with their performance-focused colleagues when performance banners are so unaligned with brand guidelines. This puts performance marketers in a tough spot. How can they ensure they are meeting ambitious KPIs while remaining aligned with the company’s brand goals?

This transition to a holistic perspective is an important evolution that comes with new risks and a greater focus on creative design and implementation. As the industry’s perspective on advertising creative changes, we need to approach it in a whole new way.

Creative not made for creativity’s sake

Today, we are hearing the same ongoing discussion around creative and advertising. What constitutes a ‘nice’ looking ad? What kind of creative elements can be added to make ads even more attractive? Which vendor offers the best-looking ads?

A modern approach to advertising creative should always consider how each creative element can help marketers achieve their objectives. You should not be asking your adtech provider about how many assets they can fit into an ad or how prominent they can promote your brand within it, but rather which elements will help achieve set marketing objectives like clickthrough rate (CTR) or cost per conversion (CPC). Any adtech company can make an ad that meets your brand guidelines, but few can come up with the creative that addresses all your goals holistically.

Small changes, huge impact

Before starting any creative discussion, the right balance between branding and performance objectives needs to be found. The smallest change in an advertising banner can move the needle towards one objective over another, or it can disrupt everything.

We have run tests to analyze how simple changes to the size of a company logo within a desktop ad impacts its performance. Reducing the preset reference size has shown an increase of CTR by 1%, while increasing the size decreased CTR by 4.5%. An even bigger banner presence decreased the CTR by 10%. The logo is just one of dozens of elements that can be optimized. This example is for a standard Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) desktop ad that was tested for a conversion campaign. Marketers should be thinking about all ad formats and what the objective is – whether it is awareness, consideration or conversion – while also keeping a consistent brand experience.

Creative business is a consulting business

It is time to rethink the process that started years ago and begin to create a consistent, appealing ad experience that reflects brand guidelines and meets performance targets. Finding the best creatives for each channel and each marketing objective is a long and complex task, but adtech companies are establishing creative consulting roles to assist advertisers on this journey. These experts are flexible enough to optimize banner ads as marketing objectives change, while keeping within brand guidelines.

Today’s creative discussions should begin with a new approach in mind. Instead of asking your adtech provider if they can add a certain element to the ad, start asking them what they recommend based on your specific marketing objectives and why.

It is the only way that you can reach consumers moving seamlessly between devices and channels, because regardless of which channel or a campaign a business uses, the goal at the end of the day is to achieve the maximum return on advertising spend. To learn more, click here.

Pauline Lemaire, director of large accounts, SEA, Criteo

Tel: +65 6818 8900




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