It is indisputable that marketing is not what it used to be, thanks to the digital revolution. Globally, digital marketing budgets are expected to increase by eight percent this year alone. In the MENA region, online and mobile advertising budgets are predicted to soar. According to a recent McKinsey & Company study, digital ad spend in the region is estimated at $44.7 million for 2015 and is expected to reach $65.2 million by 2018. In addition, a 2014 global report from PwC indicates that the UAE will lead the way in mobile advertising, with revenues predicted to reach $494 million by 2018 – four times larger than display advertising. Marketing strategies must meet ROI objectives in more quantitative terms, such as conversion rates, profit margins, customer acquisition and overall revenue. This is where analytics has an advantage
In marketing, you need to differentiate between branding and performance. Branding has always relied on great thinking along with instinct and creativity – and still does. However, it has begun to incorporate more elements – like efficiency and measurement – from the more technological and data-driven performance marketing. The usage of enhanced data and technology for more efficient targeting, ad placement and media buying plays an increasingly important role in the entire marketing world, including branding. Automation includes multiple real-time elements like the analysis of which ad to show to an individual user, dynamic creative automation and effective ad placement. Of course, tech-driven marketing also measures and analyzes the click-through rate (CTR) and conversion rates behind all the ads displayed. Furthermore, self-learning machines autonomously optimize campaigns. This model involves the gathering of qualified data on consumer behavior and preference, which then feeds algorithms to determine ad placement, content and timing. In theory, the more accurate the algorithm, the more relevant the display ad will be for the consumer, increasing the likelihood of impressions, clicks and conversions. These are the most satisfying campaigns for advertising clients. These algorithms are also responsible for creating several hundreds to thousands of graphic elements, from text to colors and slideshow layouts. In peak times, automated advertising providers can deliver 29,000 ads per second and up to two billion individualized ads every day. This type of reach and volume simply cannot be achieved by traditional advertising or completed by a creative team without the help of a tech team. Certainly, these algorithms have to be built by smart brains. These are pure analytical, technology-focused engineers, but not creative guys.
Work of art
Considering the importance of data and algorithms in today’s times, it might seem that creatives could be seen as unimportant at this point. Why bother with traditional mediums or costly campaigns when an algorithm knows exactly how, when and where to target consumers? However, falling for this fallacy would be a mistake.
Ultimately, the creative is still significant because it is what the consumer sees and it serves to deliver the message. No matter how accurate the targeting, if consumers don’t like what they see, it doesn’t matter. A particular creative might be checking all the boxes of aesthetic design, but, if the audience doesn’t relate to it, it needs to be changed. That’s why increased collaboration between creative and R&D departments is now essential, since direct feedback gathered by analytics on the ad’s performance can help creatives be innovative in their methods and optimize them.
For all the teams involved, the fundamental goal is to develop advertising that is relevant, engaging and personalized. Without that, it isn’t really advertising, is it?