Marketers need to stop putting the left side of the brain and the right side of the brain in silos, writes Deann Harvey, vice president EMEA at Sizmek.
The Big Data boom continues at breakneck speed and in the last two years the amount of data generated surpassed the total produced during the span of human existence.
The proliferation of data around desktop advertising presents infinite possibilities for consumer insight, which has partly led marketers to become obsessed with benchmarks, targets and analytics. As a result, creativity has recently taken a back seat to data-led decisions, leading brands to rely on ‘safe’, tried-and-tested ad formats and strategies.
This formulaic approach to advertising doesn’t always resonate with the media-swamped, chronically distracted consumers that they are trying to reach. But at the same time, there’s no point delivering a great creative ad to the wrong audience. Brands need to consider their approach to creativity and data or risk losing touch with their audience.
So how can brands make smart use of data to connect with today’s consumers?
Break down the silos
Data gives brands an accurate understanding of audience preferences, interests, and consumption habits but it doesn’t drive engagement on its own. Creativity and data shouldn’t be viewed as separate entities but should work in harmony. The insights afforded by data enable ad creative to be tailored to the specific interests and context of the viewer – capturing their attention and driving them towards conversion.
The Nivea Protection ad is a great example of a campaign that uses data to develop an emotional connection with consumers – the printed magazine ad features a bracelet for children to wear on the beach with a built-in locator. Parents can set a perimeter in which their child can play and using the latest mobile and geo-tracking technology, a signal is sent to their smartphone if the child exceeds the distance. This campaign creatively establishes Nivea as a child-friendly brand, while engaging parents on a highly emotive level.
Take a mobile first approach
More than half of digital content was consumed through mobile devices in 2014, yet media plans for mobile still tend to be tagged on to marketing strategies instead of forming a basis on which to build. Many marketers still rely on out-dated technologies to serve ads that are optimised for desktop – for example using flash, which typically results in a back-up image being viewed in place of their expensive creative when the ad is served to mobile devices.
This has lead to an industry issue with over 5.35 billion wasted rich media ad impressions on mobile devices in the first quarter of 2015 alone. Coupled with the recent announcement that Chrome will not support Flash autoplay on unplugged laptops from September 2015, it is clear that HTML5 is the solution to reach the maximum number of users.
This HTML5 Citrix ad combines creative animation with responsive rendering and can be effectively delivered across all devices. Marketers need to devise mobile-first strategies to create a one-to-one connection with the consumer that utilises creativity to communicate a seamless brand experience.
Factor in multi-device switchers
As part of a mobile-first approach, marketers need to consider multi-device switching. More than 40% of online adults switch between connected devices during a single activity – the figure increases in line with the number of devices a user owns – so creative needs to be optimised for all screens to ensure it reaches consumers no matter what device they are using.
Adapting ad formats to meet the needs of multi-screen users and optimising viewability will increase ad impact. Innovative technologies can manipulate the creative according to device orientation and screen size, and creative can dynamically adapt to location and context – increasing its relevance to the consumer.
Marketers need to stop putting the left side of the brain and the right side of the brain in silos and ensure that they don’t focus on data at the expense of creativity – without the creative spark, advertising cannot flourish.
Creative needs to be developed to capture the attention of consumers across multiple devices, and should harness data to adapt to the unique context of the user. Advertising that combines challenging creative with data-driven insight is the key to re-engaging today’s distracted consumer.