Online marketers recognize that creative challenges are among the most important faced by them in 2021, yet the processes around creative analysis and optimization are still underdeveloped and often fall between the chairs. This is just one of the insights in the Bidalgo Creative Survey, conducted among over 50 top online marketing professionals and decision-makers.
The survey is a continuation of Bidalgo Market Study 2020, where creative and data-related processes were highlighted as the most acute pain points by participants.
With the introduction of automated campaign management processes across many of the top marketing platforms, all eyes are on creative optimization. Targeting and bidding are getting more and more streamlined, leaving creative as the one avenue of marketing optimization that’s still in the hands of the marketers.
This is doubly true for what’s going to happen after the launch of iOS 14.5. The severe restrictions imposed on the acquisition of user-level data in Apple’s ATT framework will make creative even more valuable, as it will become a way to target the right users within broad targeting groups.
Even before the changes brought on by iOS 14.5, creative optimization is a major issue for online marketers, as can be evident from our H2 2021 marketing analysis insights.
More Data, More Problems
Online marketers in 2021 have to be data-driven, which is still very difficult to do at scale. There’s too much data, often from separate sources, which has to be analyzed to extract meaningful, actionable insights. This, by the way, is one of the issues that will become far more acute with the introduction of iOS 14.5 and reliance on SKAdNetwork. This is evident from the results of our 2020 market study.
The line between UA and Creative teams is blurring
Who’s responsible for the performance analysis of creative assets? The answer depends on who you ask. Traditionally, it is the User Acquisition team that assumes responsibility for analysis. But cross-team collaboration isn’t easy. 65% of UA managers experience collaboration difficulties with their creative teams, mostly around driving KPIs and scale.
As we see in our recent SocialPoint success story, the solution might lie in the redistribution of responsibility. There, the Creative team is itself responsible for driving KPIs of the assets they produce, whereas the UA team focuses on campaign management.
Validation for this approach might lie in the answers UA managers gave to the question “How much of your day-to-day revolves around creative?”:
A creative-centric approach requires time which UA managers currently don’t have. As it’s clear that creative challenges are getting more attention, we expect data-oriented positions in Creative teams to become more commonplace throughout the next year.
That said, we already see that more than 50% of UA respondents participate in all the stages of creative production: ideation, insight sharing, creative approval, and periodic review. Out of these, only 5% are involved in reviews only, with others taking a more active role.
The most important KPIs are vulnerable, to a point
We’ve asked marketers at KPIs they strongly care about. Here are their answers:
When analyzing creative, marketers naturally tend to care about deep funnel KPIs such as ROAS and CPA. But “caring”, in this sense, is often limited to performance analysis. Optimization is often done towards upper-funnel metrics such as CTR and CR. This is just one of the areas in which we’ll see the impact of user-level data going away. Optimization workflows might not be impacted too much, but the ability to gauge the success of these workflows will be severely impacted.
Bottom line: The pain is there. The gain? On its way
More than ever before, we see the importance of ad creative recognized by online marketers. The pain around creative-related issues is felt by UA teams, Creative teams and the people who manage them.
Where there’s a need, solutions will arise. Ours is among the first to the market, but it surely won’t be the last. Throughout 2021, expect to see more and more marketing technology providers turn to ad creative in order to give their customers competitive advantage in an industry that’s becoming highly reliant on creative for performance.