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In October 2021, econometrician Grace Kite said there was no crisis in creative effectiveness with her research of 343 real-world cases highlighting an average revenue ROI of £3.80:£1. This is, however, less than IPA-winning campaigns, which deliver an ROI of £9:£1. Field says these are declining in effectiveness. Kite's research matters because 51% of marketers say they’re not confident they have the correct media mix.
To maximize ROI, Kite says to spend 40-50% of your media budget online (don't confuse it with Binet & Field’s brand vs activation 60/40 split). Oxford University conducted the largest-ever global media effectiveness study. They found campaigns could be 2.6 times more effective with a different media spend allocation.
Media optimization won’t give you the biggest effectiveness gains, though. Creative will. But creative is misunderstood and unloved. In 2014, Data2Decisions analyzed over 1500 different profitability levers. They identified the 10 most profitable. Recently, Kantar surveyed 7,000 marketers - asking them to rank those 10 levers. Marketers:
Data2Decisions highlighted messaging, length, and branding as key creative quality execution factors. With the rise of Facebook, YouTube, Snap, and other visual-first platforms are these still drivers of creative quality?
Turns out - yes. Platform creative best practices, like Facebook’s Brilliant Basics and YouTube’s ABCDs, use similar creative quality factors. They’re used heavily by brands like Unilever, Heineken, and Mondelēz to drive effectiveness gains (i.e. brand lift, brand value, and sales lift).
To determine whether creatives that met platform best practices (and therefore had a high Creative Quality Score) led to better ad performance, we used CreativeX technology to analyze 1M ads. We found that you could see up to 2% cheaper CPMs, 2% better Ad Recall Reach, and 5.6% cheaper Cost Per Completed Views by increasing your Creative Quality Score by 10%.
Another champion of creative effectiveness, Orlando Wood, released Look Out this month. He advises marketers to use different creative styles for different outcomes. For broad-reach brand-building use broad-beam attention (e.g. character, place, dialogue). For performance advertising, use narrow-beam attention (e.g. products, text overlays, etc.). You can see the full list of dos and don’ts here.
Speaking of attention, Amplified Intelligence, the attention measuring company, released their first-ever case study this month. It’s worth a read, especially if you’re interested in attention measurement. They identified seven best practices you can use to get your content noticed:
What’s stopping marketers from achieving their effectiveness gains?
Data released this month by The Better Brief Project showed marketers could reduce budget wastage, increase effectiveness, and improve agency relations by writing better briefs with a clear strategy. The first-ever global study (1700+ respondents from 70 countries) into marketing briefs found “33% of every marketing budget is wasted on poor briefs and misdirected work.” Writing about the findings, Mark Ritson didn’t pull any punches. He called his piece, “The horror of marketers’ strategic bankruptcy is about to be laid bare.”
Effectiveness isn’t in crisis, but perhaps creativity is. Marketers have a perception problem. We prioritize targeting at the expense of creative quality. If creativity is in crisis, it's because we undervalue it. This needs to change. Technology can help. For example, Heineken uses tech to map creative elements to business outcomes. Add a CQS metric to your measurement approach for creative effectiveness and efficiency.
For marketers interested in learning more about effectiveness, the IPA has a well-respected course. Alternatively, you could master advertising effectiveness with James Hurman, author of The Effectiveness Code.
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