When given the opportunity, viewers skip video ads nearly every time. But is that because people hate ads or because those ads don’t apply to the viewer?
In a discussion called “The Evolution of Brands, Content, and Marketing” at the Future of Television conference  held today during the New York Media Festival, Mia Goldwin, chief content officer for StyleHaul, made the case for a smart use of data in creating relevant ads.
When viewers are served an ad that’s truly relevant to them, she said, engagement and purchase levels go way up, something she finds exciting.
It’s data that makes that kind of relevancy possible. “I’m a massive data junkie,” Goldwyn said. The beauty of digital marketing is that marketers have access to so much data. But that can be a challenge, as well, as there’s an overabundance of it, and the data marketers get isn’t consistent. The challenge is to be informed by data when making decisions, but also realize that stats and metrics won’t guide every decision. Leave room for instinct and don’t get lost in the numbers.
When crafting a message, marketers need to sit down with their brand partners and understand the message or feeling the ad should evoke. That leads to more meaningful work than simply trying to portray the product in a fun or sexy way, Goldwyn said. Plus, communicating that feeling or message creatively leads to higher viewer engagement and better responses.
The panel praised brands that take the lead on content and create work that communicates a clear brand identity, but noted that it’s easier for some brands than others. They singled out Adidas, for example, for using online video to craft a unique brand persona. When a company goes beyond product and creates a lifestyle, Goldwyn said, it can create amazing things. But she noted that “creating content is actually not easy” and brands can’t expect to become content creators overnight. There’s a lot of talent in the advertising ecosystem and everyone has a role to play.