Why context and creativity are the new data

Martech data

Your fast track to becoming a martech expert

Contributor: Steph Miller, Commercial Director, UK, Adnami

It is well documented that the past year has driven huge behavioural changes, notably to our online behaviour. Digital traffic has exploded and online shopping has become more and more commonplace. Ecommerce was up by over 45% year on year in 2020 versus 2019, with stronger trends predicted already for 2021. And that means that digital advertising has a much louder voice than it ever has before. 

So what do brands need to do to ensure that they take advantage of this change, harnessing it now while new, loyal online customers are ripe for the picking?

One major issue that needs addressing is our industry’s approach to metrics. With the vast array of metrics at our fingertips, it is easy to get bamboozled by them. CPAs, CPCs, CPVs, viewability, clicks, impressions, conversions – the list is endless. While data is a fantastic tool to enable brands and their partners to optimise and enhance current and future ad campaigns, the industry has become complicated and noisy. Worse still, when you try and compare different data sets, they actually fight against each other.

From one angle, using one set of data, it will look like your campaign has been hugely successful, but from a different angle, it could look like a flop. This type of broad-brush analysis is a fast track to confusion and will almost certainly result in an ineffective campaign that produces no decisive learnings about the brand’s marketing strategy.

Which is why it is essential to decide from the very start of a campaign what success looks like at each stage of the funnel. From that point a marketer can tailor their campaign, ensuring the creatives, messaging and measuring tools are set up to deliver the specific goal that you’re trying to achieve.

However, this is an often-overlooked approach to measurement and one that I believe is holding back many brands. At Adnami we believe now is the time to change the way we measure success; the current measures have become antiquated and are standing in the way of real effectiveness. 

Consider viewability, for example: a good metric, but one that falls down when you are comparing a one-second view of a small format with a one-second view of a very large format. Looking at viewability in isolation will not provide a strong enough indication to determine the value of two different types of ads.

Now is the time to monitor and focus on attention. Recent studies have shown that the longer an ad is viewed, the more likely it is to be remembered. Which is why focusing on increasing dwell time, attention and ultimately brand recall is the route to success.

According to recent data released by Lumen there are four key drivers of attention: size, time, context and creative. And yet it is still critical that ads appear in the right place. Typically, digital display starts at the bottom of the funnel picking up low budgets and driving cheap clicks to the site at the end of the campaign. 

But with high impact formats, marketers are able to start exposing their brand to digital consumers from the very top of the funnel all the way through the process, of course taking into account the change in messaging that must occur through the campaign.

The secret is to focus on brand recall, awareness and core values at the start of the funnel, the key metrics being dwell time and attention, and then moving through to more interactive-specific product messaging at the end of the funnel, and analysing clicks and conversions at that stage.

All of which is why I believe context and creativity are the new data. So with this mind, here are my three key takeaways for any budding martech expert: 

  1. Focus on creativity. Data has been in the driving seat for the last 15 years so it is about time creativity came into the spotlight. For that we need to see a wholesale attitude shift in metrics, and fast. Do not be blindly impressed by numbers – make them work for you. 
  1. Put more of your branding budgets going into digital. We are already starting to see this which is prompting a lot of changes in the way advertisers are going to produce the creative, moving away from clicks and thinking instead in terms of value, content, and real experience with the ad itself. I think these richer ad experiences can only drive better long term results.
  1. If you are looking for creative impact – which you should be – buy the biggest formats that you can and buy programmatically because it gives you flexibility and control. Use video and experiment with formats and interactivity to really increase your brand recall and make your brand truly stand out.

With more and more people shifting to a hybrid way of life – shopping, working and socialising online – it is the place to be for brands who want to grab their attention. Getting one step ahead of the competition now will pay dividends down the line.