Creativity in a world of data: how can we use our minds to open up new opportunities?

Posted on: Wednesday 04 March 2020 | Display and Data Steering Group

The IAB Display and Data Steering Group gives its views on remaining creative as the industry's relationship with data changes

In a climate of ever-increasing regulatory pressure, and with the impending future of a cookie-less world, it is important that we in the digital advertising industry review our relationship with data and evaluate how we can improve on our understanding of this deep and complicated resource.

The introduction of GDPR and the ICO’s recent focus on data compliance has made the processing of data in digital advertising an extremely important and increasingly complex operation. As we move away from the intricacies provided by third-party cookies, how can we look back to advertising’s traditional backbone to inform our decision making for the future?

Creativity is the cornerstone of any successful advertising campaign, but in a modern climate where the key currency is so inflexible, how can we utilise our minds to expand our understanding of data-driven campaigns?

We spoke to the IAB’s Display and Data Steering group to get their views.


How has the role of creative thinking changed in a data-driven world?
“Consider the popularity of the Budweiser Frogs, Coca-Cola’s Holidays are Coming campaign, or the Old Spice guy - all commercials that were the result of excellent creative thinking. Now imagine letting those types of creative minds refine and customise their ad messages to be more relevant to specific user groups and the content around them, so they are personalised and contextually relevant. With a wealth of data at their fingertips, modern marketers are engineering their messages in increasingly relevant ways. This helps them maximise media spend and create memorable advertising that breaks through the noise. Data-driven creativity provides insight that influences the creative process from start to finish.”
Ben Geach, Senior Director, Global Product Strategy, Oracle Data Cloud

“Programmatic brings an entirely new dimension of efficiency, targeting and accountability to media allocation and analytics. Data is becoming increasingly important to media buyers to not only ensure the effectiveness of their campaigns, but also to maximise the efficiency of their supply paths. For example, as advertisers and agencies engage in supply path optimisation, many are building out data science and analysis capabilities within their teams to creatively leverage the available data sets to make smart business decisions. The traditionally ‘right brain’ advertising industry has had to embrace more ‘left brain’.”
Emma Newman, Chief Revenue Officer, EMEA, PubMatic

“There have historically been two major questions marketers seek to answer; one, who are my customers? Two, When I find them, what do I say? As an industry, we’ve made leaps forward on the first question in the last decade. The next decade will be about answering the question: Given what I know about what you care about, your mindset and context, what do I want to tell you?”
Ari Lewine, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, TripleLift

“Advertising used to solely be about creativity and content. Then, marketers realised the medium was just as important as the message, which ushered in the age of media planning and investment. Soon after came digital advertising and precision targeting, making performance marketing the norm. Now, it’s our job to provide a better foundation for businesses to develop compelling messages, and better technology for marketers to engage consumers and measure performance. Our most recent relevance report found that campaigns with one or two creative executions drove greater relevance and stronger reactions. This can only be amplified with data, which allows us to be even more intentional about the consumers our advertisers reach and ensure that audiences are receiving the most relevant messaging possible. Some of the most creative approaches we’ve seen in programmatic deployment have been centred around data driven insights. Data fuels creativity as opposed to living in a silo.”
Daniel Clayman, Vice President, Northern Europe, Xandr


How can outside-the-box thinking give your data the edge?
“We use data to harness the value of consumer engagements and ultimately provide insights and analytics that improve the overall advertising experience. In today’s landscape, it’s about reaching audiences across screens. With the growing number of consumer touchpoints – from desktop, to mobile, connected TV and more – advertisers and the companies they work with are prioritising cross-device capabilities. Outside-of-the-box, or creative thinking, brings new models for targeting, including means for audience segmentation and identity, which can help us achieve, and even surpass, business goals in this increasingly complex ecosystem.”
Daniel Clayman, Vice President, Northern Europe, Xandr

“Data is a very broad term, so just like a skilled tradesman selecting a tool, marketers should select the right types of data to suit the job. Brands have most success when they use data throughout the creative process, starting at the beginning with insights from prior campaigns in the creative briefing, analysing what creative has worked well in the past, and measuring how different messages drove results. It is critical that the creative fits into brand suitable environments and is reinforced by the content that surrounds it. This allows marketers to use measurement metrics (e.g. attention metrics like viewability and interaction rates) to ensure the right creative message was seen.”
Ben Geach, Senior Director, Global Product Strategy, Oracle Data Cloud

“The best ads today are the most empathetic. The ones that put the needs of the customer before the brand’s desire to share its message.  It's through that empathy that we can use data differently. For instance, rather than trying to identify, track, and value a customer, we can use data to understand the emotional response, attention, and feedback.”
Ari Lewine, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, TripleLift

“New restrictions on data usage related to privacy regulation like the GDPR and the industry’s recent move away from third-party cookies has created an ecosystem where it is even more important for “right brain” and “left brain” leaders in our industry to come together to ensure that publisher monetisation and buyer ROI can continue to thrive in an uncertain ecosystem. The data sets we have access to are changing, and we all must work together to find new ways to leverage the information available to continue to drive addressable advertising to audiences across a growing number of devices, channels and ad formats.”
Emma Newman, Chief Revenue Officer, EMEA, PubMatic


Do increased restrictions on data usage provide an opportunity for creativity to enter a renaissance? 
“There is a pendulum between data and creativity. The ongoing limitations on using user data for targeting is the catalyst to have the pendulum swing from data towards creative. That means we should expect to see an increased focus on the things that the customer sees and experiences from the brand.”
Ari Lewine, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, TripleLift

“As ID-based targeting shifts, marketers should explore new approaches around the creative journey. Within this evolving landscape, successful marketers will use data to develop the most effective creatives, then place those ads in brand suitable environments where they will reach the right audiences, while measuring the impact and effectiveness of each version of the ads across the results that matter. As part of that, contextual intelligence technology can be used to reveal shifts in behaviour and interests and the way people engage with content. These insights will be used to drive the creative process, allowing marketers to understand which ads draw the most attention, what messages are connecting, and how people are taking action because of it.”
Ben Geach, Senior Director, Global Product Strategy, Oracle Data Cloud

“Increased restrictions on third-party data mean we can expect both advertisers and publishers to prioritise and leverage their direct relationships and first-party data more than ever before. As new rules and regulations continue to surface, the industry will be looking for new and alternative solutions, hopefully leading to more collaboration, and subsequently more creative solutions, to set the roadmap for a successful future.”
Daniel Clayman, Vice President, Northern Europe, Xandr


This article was first published by ExchangeWire.

Written by

Display and Data Steering Group


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