Most marketers believe digital growth in advertising has come at the expense of the quality of creative, new research reveals.

The buy-side advertising platform Sizmek quizzed 522 senior brand marketers in the US and Europe about their current activities, priorities and challenges, and views on digital display advertising.

Its report concluded that as digital has allowed far greater targeting, reach and frequency, “long-play creative formats that allow for great storytelling have fallen by the wayside”.

However, while digital marketing concentrates on advances in data, AI, and privacy, marketers continue to place extremely high value on the creative, and they are searching for ways to bring more of it into campaigns.

Of those surveyed, 67% agreed with the statement “Digital growth in advertising has come at the expense of the quality of creative”. And 91% of marketers said they were prioritising the need to make digital ads more engaging in the coming year.

More dynamic creative optimisation (DCO) is a priority for 79%, who said they would be increasing its use in the next 12 months. And 82% agreed that DCO generated superior ROI compared with standard display.

But, again, respondents felt creative was not being used as effectively as it could be: 69% of marketers agreed with the statement that “Our current DCO solution doesn’t utilise the creative’s aesthetics enough.”

Marketers strongly backed the view that creative was as important as ever, with 84% agreeing that AI meant nothing without the creative to support it, and 79% agreeing that the influence of GDPR [General Data Protection Regulation] means the quality of creative will become more important.

The study concluded that while data-driven targeting has opened up new doors to personalisation and reach, creative has not always kept pace.

Oren Regev, VP of product management at Sizmek, told Campaign, “As digital campaigns continue evolving to be more personalised, they must also deliver the same high-quality storytelling achieved through traditional channels.

“In addition, regardless of vertical or industry, data-driven marketing should be supported by equally impactful creative. While this is crucial for continued campaign success, we can’t overlook the impact great digital creative can have on a consumer.”

Sourced from Sizmek, Campaign; additional content by WARC staff