“Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.
Today’s column is written by Paul Lowrey, head of marketing and strategy at TI Media.
In the continual race to maximize viewability, brands and agencies may have forgotten one vital element: engagement.
You might have a high viewability score, but if the way the message is presented doesn’t hit home with the right consumer, the campaign will underperform. Placing an ad in front of the right person at the right time is only effective if the ad attracts the attention of the person viewing it.
Although data and technology help deliver the ad to the right audience and ensure it is viewable, they have little influence over actual engagement. This all comes down to the creative element of the ad, which should strike the right chord with viewers.
But is the creative being overlooked by brands to the detriment of campaigns?
Creativity, but not for the sake of it
Ad tech is getting more sophisticated while agencies and brands are getting smarter at working with publishers to better take advantage of data in a post-GDPR world.
However, as technology becomes more accessible, the only true point of difference is the quality of the ad because it relies on a combination of human factors, including, most importantly, the boundless creative mind.
But this is not creativity for the sheer hell of it. The best ad creative has the brand’s objective at its core – what it wants to achieve through the campaign – along with an in-depth knowledge of the target audience to ensure it truly resonates.
If the goal is to increase sales, this should be the entire focus. It should not be a case of thinking up how to squeeze the message into the latest ad tech trend just because everyone is using it.
To maximize ad effectiveness, close collaboration between the brand, media agency, creative agency and media owner is also required, ideally from the outset of planning.
Again, the business objective should be front of mind to ensure that the creative will resonate, the market can be reached (data) and the ad can be delivered as quickly and accurately as possible (ad tech). This is no easy task, but it’s encouraging to see that the value of closer partnerships is finally being understood.
Opening a dialogue
With so many stakeholders involved, media agencies are uniquely placed to take ownership of managing all elements. As the media landscape becomes more fragmented, I think it’s time to re-engage with their planning expertise to spark up a cross-party dialogue that seems to have been suppressed by technology. No single element of the complex advertising spectrum should take precedence, but the business objective and ad creative should be the focus.
Ultimately, brands still need to make great ads led by inspiring creative. In fact, in the increasingly commoditized world in which we live, this has never been more important in driving the required reaction from the target consumer – viewability alone cannot achieve this.
Great creative should, therefore, be what marketers measure success by, rather than by simply looking for validation through a one-dimensional yardstick such as viewability. Each campaign has its own objective, and all parties involved should work together from the outset on a strategy for measuring whether it is achieved.