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Creativity in the Age of Privacy: How marketers can succeed in the next wave of advertising engagement

Katie Takacs Sep 07 2021 5 PM | 4 min read

Privacy is here to stay… 

Consumers like relevant content, but they like privacy more. Consumers have been demanding privacy for years, and we're seeing the industry deliver. Many operating systems and web browsers require more and more privacy-centric advertising solutions. Although Apple has been at the forefront pioneering these privacy changes, it doesn't stop there with other tech giants following suit.

The challenge with these privacy-centric advertising solutions is that up until now, the granular retargeting capabilities provided by intent signals was the main driver of an ad's effectiveness. Now, as performance has become less dependent on the strength of a social platform's intent signals, many advertisers are asking themselves, "will my ads be as effective?". 

While an undeniably powerful tactic, the ease of targeting granular and high-performing audiences is no longer a luxury. Advertisers must now accept that their audiences are more opaque than ever before. The traditional audience targeting practices our industry has grown to rely on for several years are going away, and there's nothing advertisers can do about it. The alternative, however, is quite simple and something many advertisers relied on many, many years ago: turning the focus back on creative.

Powering creativity in a privacy-first world 

In our experience when working with some of the largest advertisers worldwide, it is a quality creative that has the biggest impact on performance. Research also shows that: 

  1. People now gravitate towards content that is highly visual and personalized: 20% average increase in sales when using personalized experiences (Kantar Media) 
  2. Creative is the new holy grail for performance marketing: 56% of brand lift is attributed to creative (Nielsen Catalina Solutions)
  3. Testing and iterating are key to driving performance: 23% lower cost per incremental buyer when testing and optimizing creative (Facebook)

So what can marketers do to put the focus back on creative in this privacy-first world? 

1. Test and learn

The days of hiding ineffective creative behind high-performing, hyper-targeted audiences are over. Instead, advertisers should rethink their creative process and look to analyze the data they already have: their creative data. Advertisers should spend more time looking at the creative performance of previous campaigns to identify what drove the most engagement. This sounds simple, but too many advertisers blindly launch campaigns without first identifying how previous campaigns performed and why. 

These changes to measurement and attribution have given advertisers the chance to be playful again; advertisers should test new strategies, such as new creative elements, storylines, and moods. Then, advertisers should learn from those tests, put those insights to action, and quickly pivot to find the "one" that will resonate with their intended audience. 

2. Develop a multi-platform creative strategy 

Given the loss in intent signals, advertisers now struggle with predicting the journey of today's consumers. As a result, one platform dominating performance is a thing of the past. Instead, advertisers must diversify their platform spend to mitigate risk and reach consumers across the purchase journey, no matter the platform. But to do this effectively, brands need consistent creative across platforms, as 90% of consumers expect consistent branding interactions across social platforms. 

Advertisers should highlight what makes them unique, what makes them stand out, and what makes them relevant. And they need to do this across the buyer's journey to ensure their creative is compelling at every conversion point. Building this connection through a cohesive brand identity creates more engagement and loyalty, which ultimately builds trust.

3. Think creatively when it comes to data

As privacy becomes more important, we've also seen a push for advertisers to rethink their data strategies. This mind shift has become the critical first step in continuing to deliver personalized experiences. 

Delivering a personalized, relevant experience no longer means taking a product picture and showing it ten times to the best performing target audience, and yet, this has become the backbone of many advertisers' strategies. For many advertisers, this means they now need to think about developing meaningful relationships with consumers in exchange for first-party data. In addition, advertisers should also leverage more general experiential data – such as location and weather – to deliver personalized ad experiences. 

While the answer to combatting the industry privacy changes may sound simple, we know developing an effective creative strategy. inclusive of the above three tactics, can be daunting. Tune in for part two of this blog, where we'll share tips on how to develop and execute a privacy-first creative strategy. 

   Coronavirus Social Marketer's Resource CHECK IT NOW <https://www.smartly.io/covid-19-insights-hub-social-advertising>
Author
Katie Takacs
Katie is a global senior product marketing manager at Smartly.io with extensive digital, content, and product marketing experience. Leading go-to-market for channel expansion, she supports Smartly.io's own marketing efforts to champion paid social automation through leading technology.

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