‘Techno-creativity’- a combination of art and technology and data can combine to offer truly relevant advertising. Jean-Baptiste Leroux, Global Innovation and Product Director, Wavemaker, discusses how it can be executed correctly, with only one dynamic template made up of multiple dynamic place holders capable of pulling different content assets based on precision data triggers (a mix of design, code and data architecture), enabling advertisers to create an infinite number of individually tailored ad variations.
Way back in June 2015, I penned a thought -piece called The Rise of the Techno-Creative Class where I debated the opportunities of combining art (artists/designers) and technology (coders/data science) to unlock emotional and commercial value. If engaged appropriately, I argued these two workforces could combine to future-proof themselves and the businesses that harness their skill sets.
Fast-forward five years and entire political campaign strategies, including for Brexit and the US 2016 presidential election, have been fought and won with the right mix of content (art) and data (technology). In the arts, we are seeing an increasing number of projects being showcased because of their unique use of technology. Last summer The Barbican in London hosted AI: More than Human featuring artists such as Teamlab alongside technology institutions and businesses like MIT and Google Deepmind.
The combination of magic and logic is truly in motion across the globe.
Recently, in my role at Wavemaker, I’ve had the unique opportunity to take a deep dive into how content and technology can unlock value in the world of media and advertising. More precisely, how creative, data and algorithms can combine to enable more relevant ads through the right ‘decisioning architecture’. While some in the industry might refer to this as Dynamic Creative Optimization, we’ve termed the practice Addressable Content because it requires a combination of precision; audience, media and context insight and content, and art, such as copy, style-guide and dynamic templates.
Addressable Content is the epitome of a techno-creative practice. It requires a blend of art and technology talent and expertise. Precision, insights and data without the relevant creative assets will fail. Likewise, brilliant content without a data driven decisioning architecture to reach the right person, at the right time, at the right place with the right message, will also fail. For Addressable Content to work, ads must become a function of the content assets multiplied by the data triggers one can play. The two cannot live independently. And when they combine, the opportunities are infinite.
When executed correctly, with only one dynamic template made up of multiple dynamic place holders capable of pulling different content assets based on precision data triggers (a mix of design, code and data architecture), you can create an infinite number of individually tailored ad variations. This, in turn, increases relevance for consumers while driving enhanced business outcomes for advertisers.
From a commercial point of view, Addressable Content is the ultimate efficiency driver. With either one killer techno-creative capable of doing it all or a swat team of one designer with coding expertise and one coder with design sensibilities, you can replace most of the existing production and ad ops eco-systems. While we will continue to need more quality content producers to create emotional assets, we will no longer need to churn out endless, costly and useless variations. By the same token, while we will continue to need analysts to unlock data insights, we will no longer need endless excel spreadsheet masters for the tracking of content and data tags to enhance media performance and manage ad fatigue. Techno-creative talent will allow efficiencies delivering simpler workflows, increased relevance and better outcomes.
I appreciate that some will read this and despair that I’m suggesting more personalized ads in a world where people are increasingly using ad blockers or buying subscriptions to achieve an ‘ad-free’ digital experience. The counterargument of course is that Addressable Content holds unique benefits for developers, artists and consumers; providing messaging people truly care about.
I think it’s fair to say the future I described in my previous article is truly upon us, but where might we go next?
While my focus is on advertising and media specifically here, I believe the opportunities for Addressable Content apply across all aspects of communication. It can be applied to a speech, music release or website management for example. What if artists and cultural institutions took an Addressable Content approach to tailor their work, their outreach or even their exhibitions? This could be done across tailored channels, targeted at specific audiences with exclusive content most relevant to those audiences. Imagine micro-concerts where a band would play specific tracks based on real insights about those in attendance. My hope is that artist and coders – the techno-creative class at large – can truly collaborate and one day we’ll see the applications of Addressable Content go far beyond the discipline of advertising.
By Jean-Baptiste Leroux
Global Innovation and Product Director