Oftentimes, the relationship between data and creative is seen as a “give and take.” Focusing on data-based optimization limits creative’s impact and vice versa. However, today’s complex media mix, combined with the consumer expectation for relevant creative, means marketers must leverage data and creative cohesively to achieve ROI.
Part of the solution is realizing just how reliant data and creative can be on one another. Without creativity that spurs marketing campaigns, there wouldn’t be enough relevant data to determine campaign success and marketers would be left in the dark as to which of their endeavors are truly paying off. The best data analytics platform can decipher which creative is working and how to leverage it to further meet goals.
Data allows marketers to A/B test almost any creative elements in their campaigns, from color schemes to layouts and call-to-action wording. With this in mind, there are four steps marketers can apply to ensure creative direction is guided by data and actual campaign metrics.
Identify the Ideal Creative
A successful creative strategy is going to differ depending on each channel. Data helps marketers identify what creative works best on each channel, and for each consumer. Through media mix optimization, marketers can create a tailored experience for their audiences on each channel.
While the basics, such as ideal image size, are already known for most platforms like social media and email newsletters, other finer details are only known through data. For example, data from different layouts, color schemes, altered wording, and other elements can help marketers see what is most successful per channel. There are several opportunities for marketers to change specific design elements in their creative while keeping to the overall branding of the organization.
Understand Channel Touchpoints
Along with design elements, each different marketing channel has its own touchpoints and chances for the audience to interact with campaigns. Some of the different aspects of campaign touchpoints data can track include:
- Call-to-action wording
- Areas of a profile most clicked (e.g. bio versus posts)
- Success of paid versus organic campaigns
- Engagement with different media (e.g. video versus text)
A useful analytics platform can also help identify potential touchpoints by sharing data trends based on your target audience. If you see that your audience is online mostly during the work day, it makes sense to test scheduling social media posts or marketing emails during that time frame. Likewise, if more people share and comment on a social media post when it has a video versus when it’s just text, your marketing strategy can evolve to include more video sharing and production. Analyzing data in an analytics platform should bridge the gap between creative intuition and marketing intelligence to determine what is really paying off.
Measure the Omnichannel Customer Journey
In today’s omnichannel landscape, your customers expect all interactions with your brand to be as seamless as possible. For example, if they see a commercial for your product, they expect to go online, search for your company, and easily be guided to the product they want to buy. The goal of omnichannel marketing is to remove any friction from jumping platforms. For instance, if a user sees an ad on Facebook, they should be able to click on the ad and be taken to the exact page the ad is about. It creates friction if users are taken to a home page or an unrelated page and have to hunt for where to buy.
Data can show marketers where customers are actually coming from and how they are converting. For offline campaigns, marketers can use call tracking, promo codes, exclusive URLs, or other unique attributions to get proper recognition for where a customer first found out about a brand. Data can also track sales trends which help to identify correlations between new campaigns and more sales. For example, if a new commercial runs on TV and sales for the product it advertises increase around the same time the commercial starts running, it’s safe to assume that the commercial is helping to bring in more sales. Tracking these trends can help with drawing conclusions about what marketing channels are actually working.
Incorporate a Data Analytics Platform
Ironically enough, data in today’s marketing landscape isn’t all black and white. What may look like a failure numbers-wise on some channels could be determined a success on others. For instance, email marketing has an average click-through rate is 3 to 4 percent, depending on the industry. Conversely, the average for pay-per-click (PPC) search ads is usually 1.5 to 2.5 percent. Thus, a 3 percent click-through rate at a glance may not seem promising, but to know it’s from PPC and that the average rose from a single creative campaign colors in more of the data to help marketers understand how their campaigns are faring.
That’s why it’s important to use a data analytics platform that considers and incorporates the creative process as part of its reporting and analysis. When marketers have the right tools and insights to understand the success of their campaigns, they can make better decisions. These lead to more optimized creative that better fits what the audience pays attention to and engages with.
Even though data and creative seem like opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to marketing, they really are two different sides of the same coin. Without data, marketers couldn’t make educated decisions about campaigns. And without creative, data wouldn’t have campaigns to pull from. They work together to prove metrics, analyze customer messaging, and help marketers idealize and optimize campaigns. Invest in an advanced data analytics platform to get the most from your data and use it to unlock better performing creative campaigns.