2019 will be the year creative data becomes actionable

For the past few years, large advertising platforms such as Facebook and Google have implored advertisers to adopt more of a “create and learn” approach to their marketing efforts. Gone are the days of creating a single piece of media, crossing your fingers, and then hoping against hope that your beautiful asset delivers the desired results while you blindly spend through the predetermined media budget.

Increasingly, marketers are coming to the table with the required stakes for today’s game — an array of ad assets with varying messages and in varying formats. Then, after launch, the real fun begins as either their media agency or their in-house team diligently adjusts targeting parameters and campaign budgets in an effort to optimize the result of their collective effort.

Importantly, though, that post-launch action has historically been limited to manipulations of either targeting or budgets, despite the fact that creative itself is widely known to account for almost half (49% of sales contribution per a recent Nielsen Catalina 2018 CMO report) of the overall impact.

There are three legs to this stool, but after the launch, marketers tend to ignore the biggest leg and focus exclusively on the less impactful other two.

There are two reasons for this:

  1. In the past, no one really knew what creative attributes were driving success.
  2. Reacting to data mid-campaign has historically been too slow and too expensive.

On both of these fronts, 2019 will see radical advances.

AI and computer vision lead the growth of “creative data”

Moore’s Law is now starting to impact advertising in real ways, as rapid advances in both artificial intelligence and computer vision have begun to open the doorway to an entirely new category of data: creative data. For the first time, emerging technology platforms are enabling marketers to classify every object, sentiment, spoken or written word, logos and more, on a frame-by-frame basis for every ad they make. That creative data set can then be compared to similarly robust performance data, and with the use of properly trained deep learning models, marketers can surface insights with astonishing speed about not just which ads are working, but also why. This is just beginning now, and it will advance rapidly in the year ahead.

The new deluge of creative data will begin a cascade of change

These powerful new insights will kick off a domino effect of change in the advertising and media industries. First, marketers will need experts to help them act on this data. “Creative platforms” or “creative-as-a-service” platforms will be the new, must-have tools; providers will no doubt proliferate rapidly and compete fiercely. Agencies will have to evolve to stay relevant in this new world where aspects of the likely success of the creative product are predicted by AI with greater and greater accuracy. Social media companies will no doubt adapt quickly and do so by leveraging their existing data trove on top of this creative data.

Many of the greatest advancements in digital advertising have been spurred on by new types and new uses for data. The advertising industry is on the precipice of another shift of this scale. In spite of all the unknowns, one thing is for sure. Early adopters will have the upper hand, because time will be on their side. For all of them, 2019 is going to be a very exciting year indeed.

Alex Collmer is CEO of VidMob

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