Balancing data and creativity is the route to ROI

Balancing data and creativity is the route to ROI

Christmas is an emotional time of year.

Just as people take a moment in the December break to gauge the past year, so too can brands. 

This is an opportunity to really delve into the data and better understand the shifting sands of consumer behaviour and customer interactions. 

Date vs creativity

Too often data is pitted against creativity in the world of marketing and advertising – seen as adversaries, fighting for intellectual space. 

But this is erroneous; where the opportunity lies is in combining the insight, depth, and surety of data analytics and measurement, with the colour and inspiration of the creative mindset. 

This is where brands can build effectiveness, clear ROI, and set themselves apart from their competitors.

Data + creative = ROI

According to our data analytics and insight tool, what is clear in this remarkable year is that striking the right message, with the right creative, has had a significant influence on ROI. 

For instance, for video formats – TV and online video (OLV) – creative and copy quality drives 60% of ROI (compared with 40% from executional elements such as copy length and placement). For display ads, executional elements still outperform creative (56% to 44% respectively) but this number is moving steadily in creatives favour. 

In 2017, creative was 35% – so brands are responding to the need for increasing noise in display advertising to stand out and be remembered.

With the rise of omnichannel campaigns, it's essential for brands to understand their ROI for each channel. 

What we’re seeing is that all media now has an omnichannel impact, so comprehensive measurement is necessary to understand the complete impact and to help identify brand growth. Our analysis shows that physical and digital advertising presence combined helps to increase impact by 32%.

Marketplaces have changed beyond recognition and unusual consumer behaviour patterns are evident across the board. These have affected the tone and timing of the Christmas campaigns. The headline story in 2020 has been the digital shift for so much activity. Even before the pandemic, digital share of spend had increased from 15% to 40% in the past five years and TV spend dropped from 45% to around 35% in that same period. Other traditional media channels have fallen from 40% to 25%.

The value of analytics

But there’s a risk in fixating on the top-line findings, reacting impulsively, and not looking at the broader picture. Brands need to understand that even within digital, a multi-channel strategy is needed. Investing more than 15-20% of the budget into any one digital channel can lead to significantly lower ROIs.

Analytics also helps look at the nuance of the marketing message. 

For instance, should brands go for brand or performance marketing? In our analysis, brand messaging outperforms performance messaging 80% of the time, and consistently performs well. But it does depend on several factors – such as the value and perceived value of the promotion, the way brand vs product is communicated, and how much branding comes through. Brand messaging performs particularly well through video and social channels as opposed to static advertising.

While heightened at Christmas as the emotional and monetary volume is turned up on brand marketing, data is a key part of assessing brand strategy throughout the year. With budgets under ever greater scrutiny, gaining evidence of the aspects that most impact ROI is vital, as is helping brands develop creative pieces for the right channels with the right viewers, for maximum effect.

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