There has always been an argument about what’s more important in advertising – data or creativity. What use is data if you haven’t got the time to crunch through it all? And what use is creativity if you don’t understand your audience? Anna Forbes, UK General Manager at The Trade Desk, looks at why technology might hold the answer.
Data or creativity: the age old argument of which is more important has been discussed to the death. But over the years, it’s broadly been agreed that – much like fish and chips, or gin and tonic – you simply can’t have one without the other.
Gone are the Mad Men days when ad agencies would spend month after month coming up with the perfect creative, based solely on gut instinct. Today, data and creative go hand in hand, and rather than praying for a win, data-driven insights tell advertisers – before they even press go on the campaign – that they’re going to succeed.
Instead of being at loggerheads, it’s now a friendly relationship. Take A/B testing for example; an advertiser’s staple. Two creatives are put out to the punters to test which is best – and the data that comes back decides how advertisers move forward. It’s the data-creative relationship at its best, and all thanks to our programmatic, real-time industry.
This is all well and good, but if it’s reached the ultimate partnership why isn’t the industry creating the ultimate ads? Kantar Milward Brown’s recent study on ad reaction found that only a third (34%) of respondents find advertising less intrusive now than three years ago – so how do we get the other two thirds along with them?
At The Trade Desk, we’ve realised that what we need to focus on now is time. Consider this: can you really succeed with either data or creative (or both) without the time to understand and deliver them? We don’t think so.
Advertisers have access to more and more data – but what’s the use of data if there isn’t time to understand and evaluate it, or use it to optimise campaigns? Likewise, it’s impossible to get an ad right without enough time spent considering the right creative and analysing the data to truly understand audiences and their behaviours. And on top of that, they need to be looking at what has and hasn’t worked in previous campaigns.
Traders and media buyers are making ads smarter and more relevant every day, but it could be even better. The problem is that their time is constantly taken up by troubleshooting – or doing other tasks that don’t need to be done by a person. Add to this the fact that our dynamic ad market is ever-evolving – meaning that when they finally get some time back, it’s whipped away by keeping up with a million and one new developments.
This is where technology comes in. Rather than complicating advertising, tech should create time for advertisers to concentrate on the things that matter.
Let’s think about the artificial intelligence tools that are becoming deeply ingrained in our daily lives. This new technology is able to analyse millions of data points a second, coming up with a logical, rational solution to our advertising problems within a matter of seconds: something that is beyond human capacity.
Now, by working in harmony with this incredibly sophisticated technology, advertisers can enhance their lives. No longer do they need to waste their precious, limited time on number crunching and troubleshooting. They’re actually getting time back – and with that time, they can focus on what they’re best at: making creative and data work as one.
Ultimately, the more time there is to team creative with data-driven insights, and optimise and analyse, the easier it is to reach the Holy Grail – advertising that is relevant, helpful and engaging. So let’s leave the boring bits to the machines, and give ourselves some space to think.
By Anna Forbes
UK General Manager
The Trade Desk