Creativity 2.0: the secret symbiosis of advertising

The rise of big data has led to creativity being overlooked in the digital advertising space. Why choose one over the other? As part of The Drum’s Digital Advertising Deep Dive, Ben Verschuur, Head of Performance at digital agency DPDK, explores the rise of data-driven creativity and its potential to transform the advertising industry.

The tensions of the digital world have driven us to zero-sum thinking: for one side to win, the other must lose. This trend is apparent in the sphere of digital advertising, where data has taken precedence and pushed creativity into the background. But with increasing competition and shrinking customer attention spans, it has become even more important to leverage both creativity and data to succeed.

On average, customers today are exposed to 4,000 to 10,000 advertisements per day. This has led to information overload, causing customers to ignore content that doesn’t relate to them.

Using data, advertisers can make smarter decisions about who to target. But even with the right audience, the question of how to target them effectively remains. This is where creativity comes in.

The Marriage of Data and Creativity

In the past, advertising relied primarily (if not solely) on creativity. It makes sense: creativity is key to inspiring and engaging the people you want to reach. But the rise of big data has changed the game. Advertisers have started to focus on data collection and ad optimization. Somewhere along the way, creativity got away.

But why choose one over the other when you can have the best of both worlds?

While zero-sum thinking may lead us to believe otherwise, creativity and data actually have a symbiotic relationship. Both benefit from each other when combined correctly. According to McKinsey, brands that successfully integrate creativity and data experience twice the growth rates of those that don’t.

Where creativity can help find innovative ways to stand out and leave a positive impression, data can guide that creativity in the right direction – to the right customers, in the right channels, at the right time. It can even stimulate creativity by providing information that can inspire new ideas.

From my perspective, data is an anchor in the chaos that often accompanies creativity. It guides and validates our creative endeavors, helping us evolve into a smarter, more informed creative way of thinking.

Creativity 2.0

At DPDK, creativity is at the heart of everything we do, whether it’s designing a website, presenting a proposal or creating a campaign. We even inject creativity into our code.

That’s not going to change. Creativity holds the ticket to a brighter future and is the key to differentiation in today’s competitive advertising space. What is changing, however, is how we view creativity and its relationship to data.

I like to think of data-driven creativity as Creativity 2.0: a new wave of creativity that is informed and driven by data, allowing us to get the best of both for maximum impact.

To look forward

The dawn of web3 and the metaverse is transforming the future of the digital advertising landscape. Characterized by decentralization, open access and individual control of data and content, web3 will open up new avenues for advertisers to create targeted experiences that deliver value to customers.

At the same time, web3 brings the promise of empowering customers to decide how they want to collect, store and share their personal data. They will have the choice to revoke their data at any time. As a result, there will be greater pressure on advertisers to build trust and build strong relationships.

We are already seeing this pressure with Google’s announcement of a ban on third-party cookies. While customers see the move as a positive step toward greater transparency in how advertisers use their data, they’ve also grown accustomed to highly personalized experiences. It is therefore even more crucial to understand their needs and desires and to establish direct relationships with them.

Web3 offers the ability to build and maintain these relationships. But success in these new digital environments will depend on how advertisers integrate data and creativity. Industry leaders believe that metaverse advertising will be defined by a balance between visibility and authenticity. Standard, generic ads won’t do. We will have to get creative and design experiences that people want. And we will need to leverage data to ensure our creative efforts reach the right audience.

I see this as an opportunity for advertisers to experiment, learn and find what works for them in an increasingly demanding market. This is an opportunity to flex our creative muscles again and engage with customers through valuable content and experiences. Don’t let data replace creativity. Instead, embrace data as the fuel for our creative intelligence.

Find out more about The Drum’s latest Deep Dive on our digital advertising hub.

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