Advanced market research technology and the consumer insights it generates are keys to launching successful advertising campaigns, and Chief Marketing Officers who understand how data can inform creativity are driving disproportionately strong results for their companies.
A new report, “The Perfect Union: Unlocking the Next Wave of Growth by Unifying Creativity and Analytics,” bluntly separates marketers into those who eagerly embrace using data analytics to bolster ads’ creative content, and those who are staying on the sidelines. The full story is reported in Campaign, a global marketing and advertising publication.
Conducted by McKinsey and the Association of National Advertisers, the study divides marketers into three groups: “integrators" have learned how to incorporate data in their creative work; "isolators" think data is useful but tend not to weave it into the creative process; and "idlers" are not even exploring the possible interface between data and advertising creative.
"You don’t create exciting things for people by figuring out things from data," commented one of the 200 CMOs who participated in the study.
The report’s authors disagree. "Actually, we believe that’s exactly what data can do. Analytics are what companies have learned about people’s behavior. Such insights can guide and inform where imagination needs to go. In the best cases, they can even inspire."
It's with that cooperative dynamic in mind that MFour has created an easy way to bridge this perceived conflict between data and creative intuition. Social Ad Testing, as it's called, gives CMOs at any stage in their journeys with data analytics a way to present illuminating data to creative teams in a non-threatening way that will validate their best intuitions and guide them when data suggests there's a need to revise a soda media to maximize its impact. Here’s how it works:
- After the creative team develops a digital ad campaign, marketers can inject each ad into the actual social media news feeds of the target groups their brand needs to reach.
- Instead of a simulation, validated, first-party consumers perceive the test ads as regular content amid the usual stream of news and posts they receive from friends, family, and all other sources.
- What do they do? Obtain observed, quantitative data that shows how recipients interact with test ads: opens, shares, likes, and clicks to enable audio.
- What do they think and perceive? Survey test-ad recipients for brand and product recall. Then re-send the ad for their comments, as if they were a mobile focus group.
- Where does the ad belong? Compare results on different social platforms and budget accordingly.
- High marks from consumers will validate the creative team’s concepts and execution, and the campaign can launch with confidence.
- If the test uncovers problems, the marketing and creative departments will see specific areas that need fixes. The data analytics provide a frame for creative efforts to perfect the ad, but the canvas still belongs to the creators.