The relationship between technology and the agency business is complicated but when used well, it can be a growth firestarter.
Ahead of The Drum’s inaugural Agency Acceleration Day APAC, we spoke to Stephen Dale, general manager APAC, Digimind, a panellist and partner of the event about tech empowered agencies, the relationship between data and creativity and how agencies can use tech and data better.
How has tech empowered agencies?
Tech has empowered agencies to replace subjectivity with data-driven creativity, all while reducing ad spend and driving campaign accuracy and performance.
Today big data is really accessible. Agencies can use data to better understand their target audience behaviours and preferences. Such data-driven creative processes can vastly improve campaign effectiveness by allowing teams to develop personalised ad creatives that are more relevant and engaging, thus encouraging curiosity and clicks.
At the same time, the excessive amount of data is often reason enough not to do anything about it. Marketers need to be able to filter big data down to make it smart data – data that is meaningful and can be acted upon to inspire data-driven creatives.
Is creative and data linked as well as it could be?
Studies suggest optimised creatives can routinely boost performance by 30 - 50%, often more, and personalised ads based on consumer’s purchase history result in 50% lift in brand favourability and 39% of the increase in purchase intent. Furthermore, the introduction of the Creative Data Lon category at the Cannes Lions, which recognises creative campaigns that use data as the core of the ideas, is a strong indicator of the importance of data-driven creative.
However, despite its importance, AppNexus revealed that up to 97% of programmatic campaigns lack a targeted creative for each audience segment, amounting to $6 billion of ad waste.
How can agencies use tech and data better?
To reduce ad spend waste in digital campaigns, companies should use data to better understand their target audience behaviours and preferences. Such data-driven creative processes can vastly improve campaign effectiveness by allowing teams to develop personalised creatives that are more relevant, thus encouraging curiosity and clicks.
Start by identifying the right data to activate these creative decisions:
- Identify your target audience and the objectives of your digital campaign
- Determine the relevant data needed to understand your target audience and their behaviours, such as:
- Demographic information or previous interactions with your brand
- Audience behaviour on the particular channel you are planning to run your campaign on
- External factors that could influence your customer’s mindset when they view your creatives, such as device type, location, OS, weather, and so forth
- List out the data sources you can gather this data from. You may want to look at multiple relevant platforms, such as your CRM database, website, app, social media, market research, etc.
On top of that, collect and visualise data in appropriate tables and graphs that can be used to inspire ideas with creative teams. This is because 65% of people are visual thinkers.
Presenting data collected into charts, tables, and graphs will help creative teams not just understand them better, but also encourage them to take action using these insights to reduce subjectivity in campaign creatives.
Last but not least, strong relationships are vital for key information and insights to be exchanged across teams. Start by bridging the divide between creative and insight teams. Involve them – along with your clients and other providers – from the outset so you can build strategies that are both relevant to your target audience and driven by accurate, real-time insights.
To enable greater dexterity in data sharing, create a dedicated platform with charts and graphs on key metrics for data teams to feed creative teams with relevant, real-time information, whether through a digital command centre, customised dashboard, or automated reports.
What trends are you seeing in data and creativity?
Programmatic advertising has quickly grown to become one of the largest forms of digital ad spends. According to a study by Zenith, programmatic ad spend globally grew from US$5bn in 2012 to US$39bn in 2016, at an average rate of 71% a year.
The ability for programmatic ads to reach targeted audiences with messages customised to their mindsets and interests at moments when decisions are made is a winning factor for this format. Paired with data-driven creatives, programmatic can be a powerful tool to deliver effective digital campaigns that drive desired actions from your target audience.
However, one necessity for programmatic ads to deliver a stellar ROI is unique creatives that appeal to your target audience segments. Without these relevant and engaging creatives, even the best targeting and marketing strategy won’t make viewers click on your ad. In fact, this philosophy applies to all forms of digital advertising where audience targeting is being used.