Personalisation allows brands to see the real value of media and content working hand in hand, writes Wavemaker’s Alasdair Pearmund.
Addressability is now a pivotal part of any media plan. To demonstrate this, in the world of addressable TV, the number of marketers currently including it in planning (72%) has increased by 16% versus a year ago. Why? The ability to deliver digital ads with pinpoint precision provides what audiences want: personalisation.
In addition to having a higher click-through rate, personalised ads reduce wasted ad spend. Customers benefit as well since they see more ads, relevant to their needs and interests. A recent study makes it clear that customers want to see relevant advertising, finding that 71% of audiences prefer ads that are tailored to them. This makes it more pertinent than that, arguably, brands are missing a trick regarding addressable. That is, getting the creative right.
Many brands can dial up campaign effectiveness through addressable media alone but have taken no thought to creative messaging and creative optimisation. Only a tiny fraction of addressable campaigns are optimised for the medium before launch. In fact, Finecast recently announced it served over 11 billion addressable TV impressions. However, less than 1% of those ads had any form of creative optimisation.
While you can reach the right audience via the right medium, what's the point if the message isn’t resonating? Addressable is quite literally underpinned by relevance. Again, is this not brand advertising 101? Bet your stretched advertising dollar it is. However, that doesn’t mean it's (1) actually being done, or (2) being done successfully.
As addressable media becomes increasingly relevant, the spotlight will have to move to creative, and the needle to how marketers can vary and tailor their messaging for different audience segments if brands are to see performance uplift and its addressable media budget pay its way.
If creative in addressable is mission-critical for brands, why isn’t it being done?
Targeting strategies have been our industry’s bread and butter. Granted, we’ve had a few items to contend with. Here’s looking at you, third-party cookies and audience fragmentation. But as we have spent time focusing on these areas, we’ve neglected what the audience actually sees: the creative.
This is even though creative is – and always will be – integral to driving brand performance. According to research, 47% of sales contribution is affected by creative, 22% by reach and 15% by brand factors like price and penetration – all of which affect the overall result. Provoking brand growth comes from the vital equation: medium + message = effectiveness.
Innovation means ‘excuses’ for lacking creative just won’t be taken on the chin
Thanks to AI, the ability to automate addressable content production, the depth and quality of data and number of addressable channels available, it has never been easier and more cost-efficient for marketers to deliver personalised creative at scale. With production efficiencies of up to 47%, there is little excuse for brands not to be providing more relevant and engaging ads.
Not only has AI made large inroads regarding addressable content production, but it can also improve the quality of creative reporting to facilitate insight generation and, therefore, optimisation. Utilising AI Computer Vision (which enables systems to drive meaningful information from image and video data) to scan and tag up content in the creative, standard media metrics can now be combined with creative elements in much greater granularity than any robust taxonomy would be able to provide.
We can start to take this further and not only retrospectively review performance but begin to pre-optimise. By ingesting previous creative and performance, it is possible to upload and review current creative against historic data, which provides expected performance and key creative elements that can be changed to further improve an asset's effectiveness.
The point stands that AI is a powerful tool to help advertisers supercharge creative. However, as with every AI use case, human input is crucial. It has been argued that, due to its self-learning nature, AI could potentially take over certain creative tasks and produce highly homogenised advertising campaigns. As a result, AI creative may fall short of the very goal addressability means to achieve.
Suppose we let AI run amok; eventually, brands will not differentiate their advertising, resulting in inflated media costs without any added value. Of course, this is not what actually occurs in any departments (we hope), but a request for marketing strategy or a creative brief in an AI platform is going to likely look similar. After all, in essence, AI learns from what’s come before. That’s not exactly conducive to originality.
For example, despite not being an addressable creative (and notwithstanding if these campaigns were real in the first place), imagine a world where every campaign looks like the ChatGPT fast-food gate, where a number of fast food brands ‘entered the chat,’ i.e., used AI to make its OOH campaign by asking it how iconic its products are. Naturally, this is interesting now, within the cultural zeitgeist; however, when generative AI is less ‘faddy’, or post-when a campaign stands out simply for using AI rather than for the actual output, likely not so much.
This is to say AI may make life easier, but that does not equal a time for being lazy. High levels of creativity and practice must be maintained. Using bad habits of digital targeting completely undermines the premium environment in which addressable ads are served.
What does ‘not being lazy’ look like in addressable?
The value of differentiation will only increase as AI becomes more relevant in advertising – addressable or otherwise. Having a little imagination and learning about your audience will enable brands to stay in step with the best of the best and communicate with the brand’s respective audiences in a way they understand.
For every brand, take a fluid approach to addressable content – start small and then scale up. An excellent way to do this is by connecting one more digital channel to your media and trialling it. Or test and learn with one more format, such as the current hot topic, addressable audio, and test this against an addressable digital display campaign, for example.
Through test-and-learn strategies, personalisation allows brands to see the real value of media and content working hand in hand. The two make the perfect couple, and we promise the results will speak for themselves.