How is the creative process changing?
The growing amount of data we have access to today allows us to learn more about our customers and predict their current and future needs.
Furthermore, the information we have at our disposal can support brands and agencies in improving their communication with clients and the creative process of advertising campaigns and other marketing activities, and in having an increasingly customer-oriented approach.
In this post, we’ll help define what it means to have a data-driven creative process and we’ll discover how data can be a starting point for building effective and targeted marketing campaigns for a specific audience.
Finally, we’ll look at some successful examples of data-driven creative campaigns.
What is data-driven creativity?
Before we define data-driven creativity, we have to start from the assumption that data allows us to better know our target audience and to understand exactly which types of content and marketing campaigns we can address.
According to Babelee’s definition, data-driven creativity consists of building marketing and communication strategies starting from consumer data (real and potential) in order to create campaigns with a high level of personalization, improve performance, and maximize ROI. (babelee.com)
As we’ve often said here on the blog, it’s becoming more and more important for brands to listen and respond to customer needs and build customer-centric strategies. Basing your creative process on data analysis therefore, becomes a key step in achieving this goal.
According to a recent analysis by Google, about 40% of sales are influenced by the creativity of campaigns. This is also confirmed by platforms such as TikTok, Youtube, and Snapchat, which have recorded an increase in the engagement rate in campaigns built and optimized based on data analysis. (source advertisingweek.com)
A creative process supported by data can result in more engaging and effective marketing campaigns and help attract new customers and retain existing ones.
The great challenge for brands is to retain and build lasting and valuable relationships with customers. Such a challenge can only be met by redesigning creative formats, offering useful content and attentive, efficient, and personalized experiences.
In another post from our blog, we saw that customers choose to remain loyal to a brand not for the price or the product, but for the experience they receive.
All that remains for us to understand, then, is how the various stages of the creative process can be improved and enhanced through data. The latter, in fact, can be a great added value both for creativity and for the entire customer experience. Let’s see how.
Towards a data-driven creative process
The creation of an advertising campaign begins with research aimed at identifying detailed target audiences. Research that translates into data and information that can be relevant in developing a creative strategy.
It is precisely in this step that data could make the difference. Which data should you consider for developing a data-driven creative strategy?
- Behavioral data, based on user behaviors on the web, i.e. data generally collected by cookies;
- Contextual data, based on the content used, which makes it possible to convey a message through the type of content that users prefer;
- Psychographic data, regarding the personality, values, interests, and lifestyle of users. This data can help you define a more detailed vision of the target audience and understand how to stimulate them to perform a certain action.
- Demographic data, including age, gender, marital status, occupation, and household information.
- Geographic data provides information about where users live or are located. This data is very relevant, especially in the development of geo-targeted campaigns, which also make it possible for you to take the customs and consumption habits of a given territory into account. (source: epsilon.com)
However, there is also a lot of other information to collect that can prove useful in developing new creative.
Knowing the degree of customer satisfaction with a brand, how effective a specific message is in an up-selling campaign, and in general, how the customer behaves at the different touchpoints of the customer journey, are all great opportunities that creatives should seize to develop campaigns that live up to customer expectations.
In fact, according to Gartner, about 76% of marketers base their creative choices on data analysis. This result shows just how much agencies and brands want to be closer and closer to people.
To achieve this, it’s essential to divide the target audience into segments and create different creative and communications for each. Moreover, the more specific the segmentation, the more you can move towards personalized marketing activities. And all this can only be done with data.
Another crucial step in improving the creative process through data involves analyzing campaign performance.
Analyzing performance while a campaign is in progress is an important step because it allows you to optimize your campaign and implement strategic changes right away.
As in all marketing activities, and not only, the monitoring of results and the collection of customer feedback allow us to understand if a campaign has been effective or not, the factors that have determined its success or not, and to test new creativity in future campaigns.
If data can help brands and media agencies improve every step of the creative process, what are the most successful data-driven creative campaigns and approaches today?
Spotify: when creativity becomes data-driven and personalized
In 2016, Spotify first launched “Spotify Wrapped.” This is a campaign that has been running annually since 2016 and features the annual activity of each individual user on Spotify, such as favorite artists or most-listened-to songs, the number of hours spent listening to music, or most-loved podcasts.
What was new this year was the audio aura, the kind of mood present in the most listened songs in 2021. With the music aura, Spotify was able to recognize the mood of the songs and associate them with a color, creating a personalized color palette for each individual user and creating truly original and engaging content.
The success of this campaign is certainly due to the high level of personalization and the high engagement rate, to the point that it has become an event that millions of users look forward to every year.
Why, then, is Spotify Wrapped a great example of data-driven creativity?
Certainly because data brings the content to life and becomes an integral part of it. And, as we’ve already mentioned, the same data makes it possible to create an engaging narrative that entices users to share their experience on social media.
In fact, another aspect that makes Spotify Wrapped a unique and memorable campaign is the fact that it was designed and created to be shared again on social media. The ability to share one’s Spotify Wrapped on Instagram has, without a doubt, helped increase Spotify’s popularity and has also generated in users a sense of belonging to the same community.
In 2020, more than 90 million users have used Spotify Wrapped. In the first week of December 2020, Spotify reported a 21% increase in app downloads. (source thehustle.com)
It’s a result that demonstrates the effectiveness of the campaign, and how data can bring to life engaging, captivating, and personalized creative and storytelling.
Netflix: a data-driven philosophy
To talk about data and data-driven creativity without talking about Netflix would be impossible. And it’s equally impossible to pinpoint a single example of a successful data-driven campaign implemented by Netflix.
Data has always been a key player in Netflix’s marketing strategies, whose main goal is to offer content and experiences that are tailored to each individual user.
We talked about Netflix’s AI-based recommendation system in another post on our blog. This is a system that, through the analysis of explicit data (e.g. favorite lists and user ratings) and implicit data (e.g. series watched in a given time frame), is able to suggest content that is in line with user preferences.
In this regard, we must say that the effectiveness of this strategy is confirmed by the fact that 80% of the content that users watch on Netflix is based on personalized recommendations.
Moreover, Netflix uses data to improve its creative process even in how it visually proposes the platform’s content. Personalization, then, does not stop with the recommended content, but is also realized in how this content is proposed.
Through a series of algorithms, different visuals related to the main themes of a show are created. The visual that is proposed to each individual user varies according to their preferences and habits (and therefore to the data collected). (source Netflix Tech Blog)
Finally, if we want to focus on Netflix’s data-driven creativity, we must refer to the 2014 campaign to launch the platform in France.
The “Inspired by you” campaign was born from the analysis of sentiment of French users who initially defined themselves as skeptical and not very intent on using the service. This campaign was realized through 100 GIFs, taken from the main content offered by Netflix, projected on displays as outdoor advertising in strategic places (e.g. metro, stations, bus stops) in French cities.
In addition to the great visual power of GIFs, what made this campaign unforgettable was its ability to adapt and interact with the different contexts where it was displayed (e.g. GIFs that change according to the weather).
This success was also surely due to the great analysis made at the beginning that allowed on one hand to understand fears, uncertainties, and expectations of the audience that Netflix wanted to attract, on the other hand to defeat them and convince people through diversified and targeted creativity.
From data-driven creativity to valuable relationships
In this post, we’ve seen how data can be important for the creative process and for creating engaging and original marketing campaigns and activities.
Today, brands need to be aware that improving the creative process also means enhancing communication with customers and prospects.
In conclusion, we can say that the real secret to capture the attention of increasingly connected, digitized, and demanding people, in such a hyper-competitive market, lies in letting data guide you.