Creative effectiveness is always crucial for marketers, but it becomes even more vital as consumers navigate rising costs and contemplate switching long-standing brand loyalties. The right ad in the right place can help position brands as indispensable sources of support or much-needed escapism.
A strong creative concept is essential here, but that’s not all there is to it. We spoke to two U.K. agencies, VCCP London and Smartly.io, to explore the actions marketers can take to boost the impact of their creative campaigns — and cut through in a time when every penny counts.
Place insights at the heart of your creative
A difficult economy affects consumers in very different ways, and change can be rapid. Our recent consumer research showed that half of the people with lower incomes are living for the moment, while the other half are cautious about what’s coming and reining in their spending.
Understanding [emotional] drivers can help advertisers hone the tone of their messaging to ensure it matches the sentiment of their customers.
These shifts reinforce the need to listen to customers during tough times — and understand what role your brand plays, or can play, in people’s lives. Such insights are crucial for building effective creative.
For example, our study found that while people were considering cutting back on takeaways, the social value of ordering takeaway with friends remained important. This, along with the fact that consumers want to see a brand’s humour dialled up during uncertain times, was the crucial insight behind our Domino’s Domino-hoo-hoo campaign.
It’s a rallying cry for people to get their friends and family together for a pizza with an unexpected and very entertaining yodel — and helped Domino’s increase orders by 9% year over year.
Brands that are viewed more as organisations, such as banks, energy companies, and phone providers, are in a different position. Our research showed that for these, people are looking for more supportive responses, with clear communications around what they’re doing to help – particularly those who are vulnerable.
But for others, like Domino’s, the expectation is for distraction, entertainment, and humour to provide a bit of respite from the doom and gloom. Understanding these drivers can help advertisers hone the tone of their messaging to ensure it matches the sentiment of their customers.
Tip for marketers: Use data to understand evolving emotional needs
Utilise your first-party data and additional insights, such as Google Trends, to gain a deeper understanding of your customers' evolving emotional and functional needs. Consider where these needs intersect with your brand and how you can meet them through inventive storytelling.
Let AI handle the nitty-gritty
In a recent survey, 70% of marketing leaders said their workload was high in 2022, and 40% expected it to increase further this year.
This is particularly pressing for those working with creative assets across a growing number of channels and ad formats. A wide array of properties is great for reach, but ensuring your creatives connect with audiences on each channel can take a considerable amount of time.
Factor in a growing demand to accurately measure creative effectiveness across the entire funnel, and the workload for marketers becomes potentially unmanageable.
By harnessing AI, we were able to run 4.1 million different ad creatives for a single campaign.
This is where AI is invaluable. AI-powered tools can handle the day-to-day nitty-gritty, from cropping images to cutting videos and testing headlines. This frees up valuable time for higher level tasks, such as working out the behaviours and needs of your audiences. But that’s really just the start of AI’s capabilities.
We can also use AI to better understand what’s engaging consumers in a specific creative asset.
For example, we use an internal memorability model that scores individual scenes of a video or an image and assesses how memorable they are based on a set of criteria including format, scale, and relevance.
It identifies the elements that are driving that memorability — whether that’s a model’s face, a product, or a specific location — and allows us to constantly optimise our assets.
AI can provide a scale and relevance that’s simply impossible with human teams alone. For example, we helped GetYourGuide, a global marketplace for travel experiences, to deliver personalised ads covering hundreds of packages and experiences across multiple channels and markets.
By harnessing AI-powered technology, together with third-party tools such as Google Cloud Vision API to tag images, we were able to run 4.1 million different ad variants.
Headlines were also tailored to a user’s location or based on their intent signals. The end result: production time was cut by 94%, while increasing the relevance of the ads to users doubled the click-through rate.
That’s a testament to what can be achieved when you combine the power of AI with the hard work and talent of human teams.
Tip for marketers: Harness AI to better connect with audiences
The fragmented nature of today’s consumer journey requires brands to be present at many different places all the time. AI-powered creative can offer a solution by enabling a level of personalisation you couldn't achieve manually. Marketers that start adopting this technology today will be best placed to make creative the performance driver it should be.