Digital channels are often looked upon as a world of metrics and short-term thinking, but there are opportunities for brands to be creative if activity is underpinned by branding basics. Often Digital marketing can be painted with the boring, highly measurable and metric-driven brush, a black and white viewpoint that disregards the emotion of above the line advertising.
“As much as digital is a measurable space, it is a space where consumers are coming to be engaged and entertained in lives that are so busy and so stressed,” D’Cruz points out.
However, while counting clicks, impressions and views can help marketers gauge effectiveness, injecting creativity into digital can take an advert from noise on a web page to thumb-stopping content in three seconds flat.
Pizza Hut UK CMO Beverly D’Cruz argues that just because digital is highly measurable doesn’t mean it should be boring or mundane, actually quite the contrary. For PizzaHut telling a story makes a difference, but it must add value to peoples lives.
“A poor story can’t be helped in any channel, no matter the spend that’s put behind it.”
There is, for example, creativity in the way marketers use a channel like programmatic to deliver a targeted experience for consumers. Creativity is not just about aesthetics, but about reaching the right people at the right time, with the right message, agrees Zoe Harris, CMO of GoCompare parent company, GoCo Group.
“A poor story can’t be helped in any channel, no matter the spend that’s put behind it”, She states “Working in tandem with an effective above-the-line campaign is where digital can work at its best, providing a consistent and identifiable message wherever people come into contact with it.”
Digital is not a world of robots, behind every programmatic ad is a real customer waiting to be engaged.
Digital is a brand building and storytelling channel, especially because so many brands now start life online.
Not only is there plenty of room for creativity in digital marketing, it is essential if you want to stand out in an increasingly crowded market, adds Matt Stockbridge, growth analytics manager at Mondelēz International.
“Destinations for digital marketing are growing by the day, and the sophistication of what you can buy on a single platform and how you buy it is also increasing,” he notes. “Everyone has these choices to get their message across and with the cost of entry so low, it’s a much more even playing field.”
You need to invest time, effort and money in building relationships with enough people so that eventually you have hundreds, or maybe thousands, of advocates who will keep your story going and also defend your brand on your behalf
Thumb stopping content
Digital marketing needs to capture a customer’s attention in a smaller window of time and a smaller format. A TV ad lasts 30 seconds. On social we’ve got just seconds to inspire the customer. That’s a huge test, but we rise to it by constantly challenging our creative thinking
Digital has also removed the shackles of traditional media through things like gamification, tilt motion, filters and AR. Innovation helps us be more creative
When it comes to testing the effectiveness of creativity in digital it is crucial to analyse the positive and negative drivers, Stockbridge advises. However, while benchmarks, trends and baselines can help make better decisions, he is clear there is no algorithm or formula for creativity.
It is a good idea to have an ‘always-on’ testing framework, which accounts for creative changes, such as replacing a creative overlay or website skeleton known as the wireframe.
“Even in paid search where there is arguably less scope for creative excellence than other channels, it is important to constantly test copy variants and extensions” – The incremental benefits of creative testing in performance marketing add up over time.
For PizzaHut, engagement is their key measure of success. After that effectiveness then must be linked back to sales, driving impressions and creating revenue, as well as helping the brand maintain its distinctive tone of voice.
However, regardless of the program companies use to track and measure their digital performance there is one aspect of the campaign that must be maintained – The creative idea must be strong enough to go the distance!