Focusing Creativity with Data

July 27, 2015

The idea of mixing data analysis with creativity seems counter intuitive like mixing right brain and left brain thinking. In the advertising agency business, though creativity is driven by information about target audiences, consumer experiences, focus group research and human observations. The clearer the picture of the audience, goals of the campaign and calls to action are a treasure trove for creative directors as they craft the right message for the right audience.

As more data has become available, there are real opportunities for data to provide specific, fact-filled insights to craft messages that will have a higher chance of creating the intended impact. Understanding past shopping behavior, use of promotions and coupons, and where and how products and services are discovered all lead to more precise campaign and creative development.

One example of how data and creativity can successfully coexist is in DevHub's creation and maintenance of websites and landing pages. Companies who host websites see hundreds if not thousands of interactions each day by business category, region and top performing sites. By utilizing data mining and machine learning, specific patterns of successful conversion begin to emerge. In DevHub's case, we utilize heat mapping to study how consumers interact with website content to better understand how content position, navigation and inclusion of creative elements drive conversion and time on site.

The goal of all this data analysis is to understand how to replicate success and quickly install these patterns of success in web design templates, ongoing updates and to test creative approaches. From a creative standpoint, this data analysis and machine learning approach provides insights on how to optimize campaigns by understanding what types of creative visuals and messages have the most impact. Having a fast feedback process allows creative teams to personalize and adjust approaches proven out by the data, offering a more precise view of specific categories, regions and customer types to seek out variations and opportunities.

From a creative and site management standpoint, being able to monitor site traffic and how creative approaches enhance conversions, allows agencies and franchise organizations to respond quickly with updates, conduct A/B testing on new concepts, adjust the layout of content and creative, and surface immediate opportunities to change out creative to drive revenue on a per location or system wide basis.

Big data and creative development may appear as strange bedfellows to outsiders, but strategy driven agencies are quickly inventing their own data driven creative approaches. Data becomes more powerful when blended with creative approaches to content, design and user experiences. When used as an input on creative direction, data analysis can help agencies and franchise organizations get to their desired ah-ha moment much quicker.

About the author: Michael Taylor is an international digital marketing and sales strategist, helping companies understand digital transformation and how to build competitive digital portfolios. Michael is a former Sr. Analyst and Business Development Director with BIA/Kelsey on assignment for DevHub