Good data-driven marketing and advertising should be a marriage of logic and art, analytical and creative. We’ve come a long way from the Mad Men days where all you needed was one rockstar campaign idea and you were off to the races. Now, marketers have access to in-depth data that can (and should) inform everything from your campaign concepts, placements, and of course, ad design.
However, depending on your audience or brand, it can be tough to strike the right balance between being data-driven and being creative.
Fortunately, we know two experts that have mastered the art of combining the left brain (data) and the right brain (creativity). For our Ad Designpalooza on-demand event, we got the chance to virtually sit down with data-driven marketing experts Shanee Ben-Zur, CMO at Crunchbase, and Hakim Garuba, Performance Marketing Manager at Square. You can watch the video and more sessions by following the link below!
Whether you’re just diving into the world of performance marketing and data-driven ads or you’re looking to refine your existing strategy, we know you’ll walk away with some great takeaways here.
In this post, you can expect to learn about:
Ready? Let’s get into it.
In today’s digital advertising landscape, marketers have access to vast amounts of data that can help them create more targeted campaigns and increase their campaigns’ success.
For example, let’s say that a local restaurant decides to run a Facebook ad.
This is data-driven marketing in a nutshell, specifically on the ad strategy side.
The same approach can be taken on a variety of marketing strategies outside of ad creatives, including email marketing, content marketing, social media and more. But, according to Shanee from Crunchbase, when it comes to data: “You can have too much of a good thing.”
That’s why one of the most critical facets of data-driven marketing is getting alignment across all key stakeholders on what success looks like for a campaign and how you plan to measure it.
If stakeholders are not aligned within your organization, you’ll get different stakeholders measuring success by different standards. So,one thing might look like success to one stakeholder and not to another.
Data-driven design is the process of using data on your audience’s motivations, preferences, and behaviors to inform your creative production—including both quantitative and qualitative customer data that your internal team is tracking. This also includes running tests on your creatives to see what performs best and using this to information to influence your future designs.
For example, if you know that video ads perform better than static graphic ads, you probably want to produce more video ads. If your audience is mainly made up of professional photographers, then you’ll want to use visuals that speak to this persona.
70% of our Ad Designpalooza attendees indicated that when it comes to advertising, data should inform creative “a lot”. However, branding is also an important consideration when designing ads, which means that data can’t totally dictate how the creative should look.
“In my experience, some of the most effective things are kind of the ugliest,” says Shanee. For example, although HTML-based and image-based emails may look better, in reality, simpler emails more often than not outperform the more complex ones – and plain-text emails perform best of all.
But focusing too heavily on performance and data and not enough on brand could also hurt your business if it leads to an inconsistent look and feel across channels.
Ultimately, effective data-driven creative needs to strike a balance between brand and performance. As we mentioned, combining that left brain and right brain!
There’s also the question of innovation.
As an easy rule of thumb, Shanee recommends that:
If you’re new to data-driven marketing, follow Hakim’s advice and “keep it simple.” It sounds like a very fluffy tip, but it’s a good one.
Data can quickly become overwhelming, and keeping it simple allows for both marketers and designers to have the breathing room to think creatively.
And remember—you likely won’t see drastic changes overnight. “When you’re starting, doing something a little bit better than you did before is very impactful,” he says.
For example, if you’ve just launched your website, Hakim says to break things down into steps:
Shanee adds that you should also consider your company type and sales process.
Understanding how you sell and what type of actions you need to drive should directly inform the metrics you track and the data you collect.
For this question, Shanee has a simple framework.
What do I want the person to think, feel, or do after I give them the metrics and how much time and care does this person have for what I’m about to show them?
Here are three scenarios where a Marketing Manager is presenting the same stats to different stakeholders/team members:
If you’re presenting data to the CEO of your company, you likely want them to think that you’re spending money efficiently. You also want them to feel confident in your team’s choices and probably increase your marketing budget so you can maximize the impact of your efforts.
From there, consider what numbers (e.g., return on ad spend) or creative examples you could show them that would illustrate that you’re spending efficiently and making strong choices, and show them how much more return you could get if you had more budget.
If you’re presenting data to your team, you might want them to understand more about how you’ve achieved certain results. In this case, you may look at A/B tests, review surprising insights and offer a few key takeaways that would support their work.
If you’re presenting data to your design team, you would likely want them to understand how certain creative choices can lead to different results. You would also likely want to show them how their efforts impact the overall success of a campaign, to help keep them motivated and engaged in the process.
In this case, you could show them A/B test results and examples of effective campaigns to guide their design process.
“When you’re using these numbers… it’s a way of earning trust, but it’s also a way of educating other people about what is important so the next time they come to you with ideas, those ideas are informed,” says Shanee.
Data-driven marketing can often feel like a tricky balance between two seemingly competing priorities: creativity and logic.
The key to striking the right balance often comes down to A) testing and B) honing your intuition as a designer and marketer. Knowing when to use the data to inform creative and when to pull back is not an exact science, but over time you’ll come to learn what works best for your company.
And hey, if you need help on the creative side, we’re here to help. Superside works with brands like Amazon, Facebook and PUMA on their marketing and ad designs, so you’ll be in good hands!
Miles DePaul is the Director of Revenue Marketing at Superside, helping bring design services at scale to enterprises around the world. Outside of Superside, you can find him wandering the streets of Toronto, Canada looking for tennis courts, hockey rinks, a lakeside view or a fancy cocktail. Connect with Miles.