Video Essentials

Ad Creativity Is Suffering, and Too Much Data Is the Reason

Early online banner ads from 1994 don’t look a whole lot different from what online marketers are doing today, Justin Merickel pointed out today at the Adobe Summit in Las Vegas, Nevada. Merickel is the vice president for Adobe Advertising Cloud, and he had a message for anyone wondering why consumers aren’t responding to their work: When markers are too in love with return on investment (ROI) and response rates, ad creativity suffers and consumers go elsewhere.

Ad Creativity

Justin Merickel of Adobe

The best creative people don’t want to work in digital, he cautioned, because they’re unhappy with the process and results. But digital shouldn’t be a dead-end for creative work. Pointing to a McKinsey and Company report, he noted that there’s a direct correlation between agencies that win creativity awards and agencies that grow business the fastest.

“I think our lack of creativity in advertising is hurting us,” Merickel said. Marketers are being flooded with data now, but that flood shouldn’t wash away creative work. Marketers need to be sure they aren’t focusing solely on the data.

The result of that data obsession is consumer dissatisfaction. While 78 percent of shoppers want personalized ads, only 28 percent think the ads they see are tailored correctly. Meanwhile, the use of ad blockers is growing. The industry needs to improve the consumer experience, something that would make creative pros happy, as well.

One solution to this deadlock is speed. Get more ideas out faster. The standard template for digital ads takes weeks and involves many steps. Improve the process by shortening the time between idea and execution. Throw a lot more ideas out while they’re fresh and fun.

“No one is happy right now,” Merickel said, and that means marketers, designers, and certainly the consumers blocking ads. We’ve over-indexed on direct response. We’re creating compromised ads using standard templates. And we need to cut down on wasted cycles to move ad experiences out faster. Improving content velocity improves the experience. “This is a challenge that I think we need to set out as an industry to help solve.”

Adobe introduced its own contribution to a faster pipeline for ad creativity at the Summit in the form of new features for the Adobe Advertising Cloud platform. The new Advertising Cloud Creative component is a self-serve offering that gives more control to marketers so they can roll out new ads faster. Marketers can use the component to make simple changes in ad copy and creative assets without the need to go back to the agency.


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