What really makes ads work?
This simple question is the billion-dollar puzzle that drives the adtech industry. For marketers, finding the answer unlocks the door to optimizing growth.
– who you send your ads to matters
– where people see them matters
– how often people see your ads matter
– the brand attached to them matters
But creative outweighs them all. And not by a little. Combined.
Why creative is so overwhelmingly important
All of these things are important, naturally. But your advertising effectiveness is mostly determined by one critical quality: the creative.
According to Nielsen, the quality, messaging, and context of your creative is responsible for as much as 49% of all sales lift. How many people see your ads is just 22%. Targeting to the right kinds of people? Only 9%.
Creative is emotionally powerful.
In fact, a study published in the Journal of Advertising found that ad creativity impacts 13 key variables in five separate stages of the ad experience, from brand awareness to liking, accepting/rejecting claims, and future brand intentions. For 12 of those 13 variables, great creative drives positive impact, and poor creative gets ignored.
According to Ipsos, a massive 75% of an ad’s ability to make a brand impression is due to creative. Creative is so important that ads that win awards, Ipsos says, generate a full eleven times more share growth.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of this finding.
If you succeed at everything else in advertising, but fail in creative, you are leaving almost 50% of your results on the table according to Nielsen, and 75% of your potential results on the table according to Ipsos.
That is why you need creative reporting
Singular offers creative reporting because it’s so critical. It’s something you can get in many places, of course, in silos. Facebook, for instance, offers creative reporting that tells you what images performed well on its platform.
But what top marketers need is an understanding of how their creative is performing across all their ad partners.
One major Singular customer, for instance, works with 20+ different channels including Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google at any given time. In each, this client is using between 15 and 30 different creative units.
That’s between 350 and 600 different combinations of platform and creative at any given moment.
That’s not just mildly challenging to measure as a marketer. It’s basically impossible without automated help. The problem is that you don’t know which creative might resonate with which audience.
But you absolutely need to.
Some images will work well in one context and bomb in another. Some videos will resonate with the unique demographic slice that ad partner A accesses, and achieve a collective yawn from ad partners B’s audience. And a playable ad that hits one ad network audience’s behavior graph may not touch another.
Creative reporting is the solution.
“Singular’s Creative Reporting determines asset level ROI across more media sources than any other provider,” says Singular senior product marketing manager Saadi Muslu. “With it, you can quickly identify creative performance against any dimension and metric, group similar creatives regardless of minor copy or compression differences, or group creatives by keyword using tags based on any dimension.”
Why we sometimes ignore creative: piping and wiring
There is a lot of infrastructure in the modern marketing department.
The data explosion and almost 7,000 marketing technology tools haven’t helped with this, and the large numbers of ad networks and partners we work with add to it. In fact — and it’s something we’ll be releasing data on next month — Singular data indicates that top-performing marketers work with a much wider variety of ad partners than average or poor-performing marketers.
(Watch for that report soon!)
But there’s another challenge to all this martech/adtech piping and wiring.
Sometimes it’s easier to focus on the pipes and the wires than on what they’re actually carrying. The world of marketing technology seems concrete, observable, and controllable. If we create a drip email flow, we can set it up, schedule it, and press save. If we’re initiating an ad campaign, we set parameters, initiate buys, and monitor performance.
Creative doesn’t work that way (although AI is getting better at helping).
There’s no button to press for great copy, compelling images, or a funny video. It’s not linear, doesn’t follow a defined process, and can’t be switched on and off.
Magic: melding art and science, data and creativity
That’s where the magic enters, however.
When we pair marketing designers’ and writers’ creativity with insights from marketing data — like those in Singular’s Creative Reporting — we can set creativity free to try dozens of different things, and let data decide which resonate, which penetrate, and which generate productive results.
Nothing could be simpler, even at scale.
Another of Singular’s clients builds an astonishing 50 videos each and every week. Pairing that level of creativity with the data that indicates which ones work would be a tough task, manually. But letting machines do what machines do well makes it possible.
And, tells marketers once and for all: what makes their ads work.
Next step: learn more about Creative Reporting.