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It’s Time to Change The Way We Think About Creative


It’s Time to Change The Way We Think About Creative

By Michele Iozzo

Just a few years ago, you could clearly distinguish between banners for brand awareness and banners for sales conversion. With different key performance indicators (KPIs), performance marketing and brand departments co-existed with minimal interaction. Today, marketers need to ensure consistency across all channels, and performance ads often don’t meet those standards. 

It’s no wonder that brand marketers were dissatisfied with their performance-focused colleagues when performance banners were so unaligned with brand guidelines. That puts performance marketers in a tough spot, however. How can they ensure they are meeting ambitious KPIs while remaining aligned with the company’s brand goals? 

This transition to a holistic perspective is an important evolution that comes with new risks and a greater focus on creative design and implementation. As the industry’s perspective on advertising creative changes, we need to approach it in a whole new way.

Creative That’s Not Made for Creativity’s Sake

Today, we’re hearing the same ongoing discussion around creative and advertising. What constitutes a “nice” looking ad? What kind of creative elements can be added to make ads even more attractive? Which vendor offers the best looking ads?

A modern approach to advertising creative should always consider how each creative element can help marketers achieve their objectives. You shouldn’t be asking your ad tech provider about how many assets they can fit into an ad or how prominent they can promote your brand within it, but rather which elements will help achieve set marketing objectives like clickthrough rate (CTR) or cost per conversion (CPC). Any ad tech company can make an ad that meets your brand guidelines, but few can come up with creative that addresses all of your goals holistically. 

Small Changes, Huge Impact

Before starting any creative discussion, the right balance between branding and performance objectives has to be found. The smallest change in an advertising banner can move the needle more toward one objective over another or it can disrupt everything.

We’ve run tests to analyze how simple changes to the size of a company logo within a desktop ad impacts its performance. Reducing the pre-set reference size has shown an increase of CTR by 1% while increasing the size decreased CTR by 4.5 percent. An even bigger banner presence decreased the CTR by 10%. The logo is just one of dozens of elements that can be optimized and this example is around a standard Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) desktop ad that was tested for a conversion campaign. Marketers should be thinking about all ad formats and what the objective is – whether it’s awareness, consideration or conversion – while also keeping a consistent brand experience. 

Creative Business is a Consulting Business

It’s time to rethink the process that started years ago and begin to create a consistent, appealing ad experience that reflects brand guidelines and meets performance targets. Finding the best creatives for each channel and each marketing objective is a long and complex task, but ad tech companies are establishing creative consulting roles to assist advertisers on this journey. These experts are flexible enough to optimize banner ads as marketing objectives change, while always remaining within brand guidelines.

Today’s creative discussions should begin with a new approach in mind. Instead of asking your ad tech provider if they can add a certain element to the ad, start asking them what they recommend based on your specific marketing objectives and why. Isn’t that what it all should come down to in the end?

Michele Iozzo, Managing Director Middle East & Africa, Criteo. Opinions expressed in this piece belongs to the author.

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