Summer of Creative: Trends, Best Practices, & Thought-Leadership

Two weeks ago Incubeta was thrilled to attend Google’s latest event “The Summer of Creative”. Tailored specifically to advertisers and digital professionals the event focussed on data privacy opportunities, automation of creative ads, and personalized campaigns followed by a thought-leadership panel giving insights into the future of creative ads. 

Cindy Crijns

The 2 hour event was kicked off by Google’s creative lead Kashmira Wagh who discussed how we, as marketers, tend to consider creative as an afterthought. Creative is the ‘final frontier’ where we can drive optimization, yet more often than not we push it to the back of our strategy when it should be taking centre stage. Creativity is the last ‘unfair competitive advantage’ with up to 70% of campaign ROI being driven by creative and only 30% driven by targeting strategies.

Even 70% of the event attendees (all of whom work in the marketing industry) admitted that they are far from satisfied with the creative ads they use today – falling short of capitalizing on the plethora of opportunities creative can stimulate. It’s no secret that personalized creativity is often viewed as a technical solution, rather than a creative solution – and herein lies the problem.

The Privacy Conversation & First Party Data

Creative agencies are far from a one-trick-pony; and alongside creative and design outputs, often juggle project management and data architecture – work that allows one to develop a deeper, more granular understanding of their business, and efficiently bypass competitors. However, as we’ve seen countless times across the industry, changes in privacy regulations and technical changes will alter these capabilities; and brands need to get their head in the game ahead of the deprecation of third-party cookies, building out their data portfolio in a future-proof manner that minimizes disruption come 2024.

Patrick Voelcker, Creative Technical Specialist at Google expanded on this, focusing on the value of first-party data. “We know that first-party data is an opportunity to double returns’ ‘ due to its consistency and high quality, yet only 30% of companies are collecting, and integrating this data across their channels. With effective first-party data usage delivering more relevant experiences and a possible 2X incremental revenue from a single ad, or outreach, it’s essential that brands start collecting, and using first-party data to the best of their abilities.

A good example of a vertical that’s pioneering and championing the use of first-party data is the travel industry.  Throughout the last 18 months we’ve seen countless travel brands using data such as water quality, snowfall or on-ground temperature alongside first-party data to show the right, relevant message to the right person, at the right time. Such as showing a skiing ad with ‘real-time’ snow levels to a ski-enthusiast, or a beach holiday ad with ‘real-time’ on-ground temperatures to a previous hot-holiday traveller.

Cross-Team Collaboration

In a perfect world data, creative and media teams would work together; with creative campaigns being a cross-team collaborative effort. It’s imperative that brands realise internal silos are only at the detriment of one’s business. Teams should be working together to achieve the best possible outcome; with creative maintaining quality, and media controlling the strategy. 

Take a brand which operates across multiple markets; they need to stay on-brand and scale via automation, but also provide support and flexibility to their regional marketing teams; unachievable without a strong communication process and cross-team collaboration. 

Incubeta’s Global Director, Partnerships & Growth, Jessica Jacobs expanded on this, focusing on the latest tool we’ve developed whereby teams can work together and offer automated creative ads across multiple markets. Seamless Creative, part of Incubeta’s Seamless Suite, allows companies to update ad campaigns at scale for all devices in real-time without technical or creative knowledge. 

“Douglas, working together with Incubeta, demonstrated how creative and automation can work together to deliver effective, customized ads. We set up a campaign to reach website visitors who had provided their first-party data, they also included a wider audience of like-minded people by harnessing Google’s Affinity Audiences.” – Jessica Jacobs, Global Director, Partnerships & Growth

Here’s an example of Seamless Creative in action when Incubeta leveraged dynamic capabilities for fashion brand Zalando; Scaling Data Driven Creative for Zalando.

Best Practices & Panel Insights

The afternoon panel was led by Franziska Kallé, Programmatic Media Lead at Google featuring Jessica Jacobs, Global Director, Partnerships & Growth at Incubeta, Siegfried Stepke, Owner of E-dialog, Felix Derkum RVP Sales at Ad-lib, and Giovanni Simonetti, Creative Lead at Google Netherlands. 

The panel helped dissect a number of topics, including the current challenges of the market? Jessica started by explaining that “not all marketers take on creative holistically across media channels due to organizational and strategic silos.” Siegfried contributed by emphasizing that “the creative process is still driven by TV / Print media thinking and classical media planning mindsets (e.g. Flights, one Creative for everyone); this needs to change!” Giovanni also touched on the need for first-party data “the ads ecosystem changes and 3rd party cookie deprecation is impacting creative efforts.”

Key Panel Takeaways:

  1. Creative is a missed opportunity for advertisers, tech partners, and creative agencies because creative is a key contributor to performance. 
  2. To launch a creative strategy, companies need insights. Getting these insights into audiences takes effort, however, using machine learning to build your own audiences, and make persona’s can help. Remember that it’s important to evaluate and adjust the creative materials before reusing them in campaigns.  
  3. Stop using third-party cookies. Collect data from the first-party cookies to integrate personalized campaigns across the channels, and be sure to use contextual marketing.
  4. Leverage data-driven creatives for bottom-line growth and collect data as a learning opportunity to personalize the customer journey for different audiences.
  5. Make use of agencies and services that make collaboration between teams more efficient. This will bridge the gap between organizational silos and marketeers who can take on creative holistically across media channels. 
Access The Panel Discussion

What Can You Start Doing Now?

Take the lead, and start talking about creativity in your company. Talk about data integration into your CRM, feeds, mixing in brand messages, persona’s, collaboration, scalability and user signals. It’s never too late to start.

For more information on how you can implement a creative strategy and campaign, get in touch today and start the conversation.

Explore Incubeta’s Creative Services

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