Don’t Let Bad Creative Ruin Good Data

Opinion: Marketers still choose to show all consumers the same standard ad

Allow me to introduce you to marketers’ biggest enemy: mass generic creative
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This is truly the golden age for marketers. The original prophecy of the internet: You can collect (or buy) data about your current and potential consumers; analyze, identify, segment and cross reference data from multiple sources; and target and retarget them so granularly, down to the individual consumer level—and do so on any device, through any channel and anywhere they are physically located. Amazing, right?

So why are we still measuring user engagement, click-through rates and conversion rates in fractions of a percentage?

We live in a data-driven world. Data powers the decision-making process and affects the way we buy, vote, drive, form opinions and so much more, but data is a big word. And demographic data isn’t enough anymore to drive results alone; it has to be coupled with behavioral data, personal interests and preferences in real time.

Marketers must know and understand their audiences beyond segments—they must know them as individuals. Our mission is to extract value from the data we collect and do it in a responsible way (especially said in light of the recent situation involving Facebook and Cambridge Analytica). However, once we “know” them, then what?

Allow me to introduce you to marketers’ biggest enemy: mass generic creative. This is the one thing that negates all of the progress, time and attention that we have made in generating, evaluating and building campaigns off of great data sets.

In recent years, media buying and targeting has advanced greatly, while the creative side hasn’t. As the whole complex marketing process is data-driven, the final and most important link, where the marketer finally meets the consumer, is anything but data-driven—often times, it’s generic.

In fact, 75 percent of digital video ads are still being repurposed from TV commercials. This is a mistake. With all of the efforts and budgets invested in targeting specific audiences and all of the data available on each consumer about to view their ad, marketers still choose to show all consumers the same standard ad.

Example: I am a father living in Manhattan. If Toyota is advertising to me, I want the company to understand that I need to know about safety features and compactness, not performance and space.

Marketers must up their game and invest in dynamic creative for personalized advertising executions throughout the funnel. They should focus on video as the main communication vehicle for both brand engagement and performance, as it is the fastest-growing advertising format, particularly at the expense of other kinds of media. And they should mostly leverage Facebook and YouTube on mobile devices as the main distribution platforms.

With the wealth of data available simply through Facebook, there is no excuse to not personalize content. As a recent study showed, 66 percent of video creative is for mobile, and 72 percent of marketers who customize or personalize video ads for Facebook and YouTube report that it boosts their key performance indicators.

From prospecting new consumers to remarketing, re-engaging or nurturing relationships with current customers, marketers must make sure every touch point is personalized to that consumer with relevant creative content. Marrying data and creative for personalization of the ad experience and running it on the right platforms while using the right ad units is crucial for marketers to increase awareness, drive results and maintain consumer loyalty. We can’t just get one piece of the process right and expect to make an impact.

So, keep investing in that amazing, robust data, but don’t stop there.

As we all continuously strive to customize and personalize the experiences and interactions in our daily life—from our mobile devices, to the ways we consume content, to our voice-activated personal assistants—ads should be designed the same way. Marketers should deliver experiences that are relevant and personalized as much as possible to the person experiencing them. Only then will consumers dedicate the time and attention to engage with the ads to drive performance and results with more than fractions of a percentage.

Oz Etzioni is CEO of personalized creative video platform Clinch.