LONDON/NEW YORK: Creative optimisation can increase efficiency, speed, and relevance at scale, but only, a leading industry figure argues, if marketers drop their preconceptions and listen to the data.

In a WARC Best Practice paper, How to approach digital creative optimisation, Kelsey Meuse, Product Marketing Manager at Sizmek, explains that ensuring messages reach the right audiences is just the start of the marketer’s job.

“To pique attention and drive results, creative must be instantly engaging,” she says. “One way to do this is to optimise for the specific audience and the moment.”

The optimisation process itself, Meuse explains, only comes into play after marketers have completed two key stages: employing dynamic creative to build multiple versions of an ad and tailoring these ad variants for different audience segments by leveraging a mixture of data points.

Algorithms then track the performance of differing ad creative versions against specific KPIs within different audience segments, and once the most successful versions are identified, their frequency can be increased for each audience.

Not only that, by extracting insights about what works and what doesn’t, and applying these insights when building ads, marketers can optimise particular aspects of ad variants and then implement further analysis to establish which combination of values has the greatest resonance with specific audiences.

For example, do 18- to 25-year-old smartphone users prefer a buy-it-now button with an image of a blue car, or the option to book a test drive and a red car?

External factors such as location and weather can also be leveraged to enable marketers to “achieve in-the-moment impact by selecting ad versions that accurately reflect a consumer’s real-world environment.”

Creative optimisation can be highly effective, Meuse says, pointing to Sizmek’s own research which has shown it can improve campaign click-through performance by 47% and post-click conversions by 69%.

But she cautions marketers against coming to creative optimisation with preconceptions; traditional user segmentations and a firm idea of the target audience and the messages they should receive can limit the scope of creative optimisation, as well as the value it delivers.

“It’s important to listen to what the data algorithms produce, even if it is different to previous insight,” Meuse advises.

“By regularly analysing and adjusting campaigns, marketers can gain understanding that can consistently drive results. Auto-optimisation is one of the best ways to achieve this, as it allows marketers to conduct multiple tests and instantly use data to power other activity”

Sourced from WARC