What makes for a great ad? Should it be short and snappy or long and immersive? Funny or factual? Low-key or dramatic? In our eyes, the best creative advertising campaigns share just one common theme - we want to watch, discuss and share them over and over again.

Download our trend analysis: Shifting trends in film productionWe’ve always been strong believers that creative is king, and now we have the facts to prove it. Hurray!

Nielsen recently studied the sales contribution of five key drivers of effective advertising campaigns: creative, reach, targeting, recency and context. The results are in - creative was found to be responsible for up to 47% of a campaign’s sales, more or less contributing as much to a brand’s in-market success as all other factors combined!

When creative is strong, it’s the overwhelming driver of in-market success: up to 80% for traditional TV and 89% for digital advertising. Conversely, when sales performance is weak, creative is a minor contributing factor across both TV (with just 6%) and digital (a tiny 16%).

So, great creative remains the most important factor in the best advertising campaigns, whether they are on TV or across digital channels. New tools may be able to improve other factors such as reach or targeting, but they simply can’t replicate the impact great creative delivers.

 

So what is great creative?

But how can marketers tell if creative advertising is objectively “great” and fit for use?

Back in the day, advertisers relied on market research groups and a little personal judgment. However, this only taps into our conscious responses, and science tells us that the majority of our decision-making happens non-consciously, back in the depths of our primordial brain.

Now consumer neuroscience can measure what traditional research methods cannot, namely unconscious decisions around what we’ll watch, how we relate to content and whether we end up making a purchase.

To develop great creative advertising campaigns that suit each platform, it’s key to understand this relationship…

  

TV as an immersive platform

TV has an amazing ability to create unconscious emotional connections and desires, which can be extended to brand messages.

However, TV viewers are generally passive participants. We observe content, react to the emotional lives of onscreen characters, and if they need a product, then perhaps we do too.

For this reason, TV advertisements should set the scene, introduce compelling characters and portray a clear need for your product or service.

 

Digital as a flexible platform

Of course, today’s audiences access content across a whole array of gadgets including phones, laptops, tablets, smartwatches, even Google glasses (OK, so that’s a niche one)

Digital channels play host to active content consumers, who use email, social media and search engines to satisfy their never-ending quest for information.

These flexible environments play a key role in reinforcing and satisfying existing emotional connections and desires. Individuals seek out content that is customised to their interests, resulting in higher engagement as it enables them to develop their own existing experience.

Bearing this in mind, digital advertisements should address the viewer, empathise with their interests and relate your product or service to their individual experience.

  

Optimisation is key

So how do we address the explosion in content platforms, and create creative advertising campaigns that will work for every channel? 

Simple, create different types of creative optimised for each one.

Ensure you really engage with consumers - both consciously and non-consciously - by adapting your creative to suit each platform your marketing department utilises. Just as we’ve previously discussed the importance of shooting in the right dimensions for a platform, it’s also important to create content that fits each platform’s unique environment.

The trick is to finding the ‘sweet spot’ in your budget. Make the optimal investment in your marketing campaign to make your spend work as hard as possible. It’s a delicate balancing act – but here at The Gate, we’re dab hands at planning and producing creative advertising campaigns for multiple platforms. Just get in touch with our team to learn more. 

Download our guide: Shifting trends in film production for the marketing sector

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