Even the most siloed creative sitting comfortably under a rock has to bring data, and the insights that it provides, into their work to survive in the business of selling things.” –Cannes Lions Jury
In recent years, there has been growing critique on the supposedly narrow focus of data driven advertising in the adtech industry. This critique usually stems from a firm belief that advertising is an art that does not follow rules and that doesn’t allow itself to be captured in frameworks. However, others have a more nuanced point of view and see the combination of good data and creatives as the key to success.
Some outlandish designs
The word creative has gotten a serious power-up when you look at the examples given by Cannes Lions of data inspired creativity. Most notably Cinder, an open-source platform that allows the creation of spectacular visuals, is hailed for its endless possibilities of connecting the physical world with the digital realm. Now a creative can be a giant touchscreen wall that allows people to interact with a brand on a whole new level.
A great example on mobile is Nike with its Nike+ platform. Nike (or rather R/GA, the ad agency) managed to create an entire movement around their platform designed to visualize physical activity. It is almost unfair to call the Nike+ apps and the related physical accessories creatives, but they qualify, because above all else, this campaign serves for increasing brand awareness and driving sales for Nike sportswear products. The mobile data that they get from this is simply invaluable. Through their mobile apps Nike has an incredibly close relationship to its customers and receives a treasure of data about their behavior. Consumers seem to love it; this video boasts that the community is over 6 million people strong and using the service 3 times per week on average, and the Android app alone has between 10 - 50 million downloads. Imagine how massive a “traditional” mobile ad campaign would have needed to be to match these kind of numbers.
Yes, we’ve come a long way since the banner ad.
Naturally not all brands can have their own platforms with ridiculously high engagement such as Nike. Luckily it is not necessary to go over the top with using data to inspire ad creatives. Data can be just as rewarding with the more conventional ad formats such as video and rich media ads. In fact, advertisers have been doing this for decades already for TV ads by testing them with focus groups and test audiences, releasing only the ad version that shows the most favorable results for the largest group.
However, now in the digital age, that seems hopelessly outdated because consumers increasingly expect highly personalized content from advertisers. On mobile, where devices form a resource of unprecedented data, this will be the norm and creatives need to be adapted on the fly to suit each individual consumer in order to drive results. By constantly monitoring data from different creative campaigns, advertisers can optimize creatives for a variety of different target groups. The key difference with how it’s done today on mobile vs. years back on television is today, the goal is not to narrow down to one dominant creative - but rather to predict which creative best suits which type of person and under what context. Therefore, we are working towards the revers goal: to as many relevant creatives as possible. The power of programmatic will need to facilitate this shift in targeting and execution by providing real-time audience intelligence for each impression.
The result will be a much more diverse need for creatives that foster individuality rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.
Some base rules
There are a couple of base rules that can be applied, however, in order to ensure maximum effectiveness. That’s why we’ve put together some guidelines that advertisers should keep in mind when designing ad creatives for successful mobile video ads, based on data from the most successful mobile video ad campaigns:
- Keep ad creatives short: some videos are averaging 3-8 seconds to avoid being skipped
- Develop ad creatives for the mobile device, rather than repurposing TV spots.
- Don’t rely too heavily on audio
- Make sure ad creatives will run in-line so user is not removed from the experience
- Keep campaign goals and KPIs in focus when creating campaigns. Think of mobile-designed call-to-actions and interactive elements if looking to drive CTR.
When these guidelines are followed you can get as inventive as you like with the actual content of the ad. The key is to always make sure you have a feedback loop that allows you to draw meaningful conclusions about the effectiveness of your ads for various audience segments and contexts. In other words, allow data to inform your ad creatives in order to drive maximum ROI.