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Five ways to maximize ad creative beyond clicks



AnneMarie Selvaggio

Clicks are undoubtedly important; they represent a tangible interaction between the audience and a marketer’s advertisement. Yet, solely equating ad clicks with success can be misleading. This narrow focus can lead to undervaluing the creative elements of campaigns - the very elements that foster a deeper connection with the audience and influence long-term customer behaviour.

A recent panel debate hosted by Scott Mitchell, Managing Director, Canada at Vistar Media, explored the topic of marketers prioritizing clicks at the expense of authentic connection. The panel featured Anthony Campos, Director, Media, Tim Hortons; Christy MacLeod, Chief Data & Solutions Officer, KINESSO; Markus Giesler, Schulich School of Business; and Siddharth Vishwanathan, Head of Digital Acquisition, BMO. 

To truly harness the power of digital advertising, performance metrics and creative excellence go hand-in-hand. Here are five strategies the panel identified to achieve this: 

1) Striking a balance between the "art" and "science"

Markus Geiser, Marketing Professor at Schulich School of Business and Columbia Business SchoolIt's critical to create campaigns that balance creative (the "art") with data-driven KPIs (the "science") to build long-term brand equity. Creativity fosters emotional engagement and cultural resonance, crucial for powerful advertising. Rather than thinking about the art of advertising in a silo, combining creativity with data-informed ad tech opens new opportunities for brands to deliver meaningful customer connections. Think about the power of using data to refine the content of the ads shown based on location or the weather; data enables ads to be highly relevant, increasing the likelihood of conversions.


2) Rethinking campaign success as we enter a "cookie-less" world 

Christy MacLeod, Chief Data & Solutions Officer, KINESSOAs third-party cookies phase out of use, marketers will be challenged tracking online behaviour and personalizing ads due to the decreased availability of detailed consumer data. Also, attribution models that rely on tracking multiple touchpoints will need to be redefined in order to understand customer brand awareness and purchase intent. These changes encourage marketers to become audience strategists and establish deeper brand connections because they will need to rely on first-party data, building direct relationships and creating personalized experiences in order to reach the consumer. Shifting focus to these strategies allows marketers to continue defining and measuring campaign success in a way that aligns with the evolving digital landscape and new privacy standards.


3) Investing in every stage of the customer journey

Siddharth Vishwanathan, Head of Digital Acquisition, BMO

Marketers often fall into the trap of focusing solely on measurable tactics from specific channels, versus a robust marketing mix.  Relying solely on last-touch attribution only adds value to the final interaction before a conversion, thereby devaluing all branding and messaging touchpoints that contributed along the way.  This approach risks over-investing in last mile ads, rather than the full funnel required to get consumers to that last interaction.  Therefore, investing in quality creative at every stage of the buying journey is crucial.  Activating omnichannel strategies enhances the connection across traditional last touch channels, such as online display, and brand building channels, such as out-of-home (OOH).


4) Developing cohesive messaging across each stage of the marketing funnel

Anthony Campos, Director, Media, Tim Hortons

Marketing groups within an organization often chase different goals based on data presented in each stage of the marketing funnel, leading to varied messaging.  For example, a retailer's brand team crafts a visually appealing campaign with a beautiful message focusing on an emotional connection to the brand's offering, driving a significant increase in awareness. The performance marketing team, however, is tasked with driving website sales conversions and uses messaging in their ads that is heavily focused on discounts and competitive pricing. While this approach simplifies strategies and drives short-terms KPIs, it can hinder cohesive storytelling needed for customer engagement. Breaking these barriers and adopting a full-funnel approach with cohesive messaging is crucial for storytelling that resonates with target audiences.


5) Establishing authentic human connection through channels like out-of-home

Christy MacLeod, Chief Data & Solutions Officer, KINESSO

Adding a human channel like out-of-home (OOH) to the marketing strategy can be an effective way to reach consumers in moments that matter most, marrying both the "art" and the "science".  With OOH brands and agencies can leverage visually compelling content and strategically place it in high-traffic areas based on data insights, ensuring maximum impact. Not only does it convey a brand story, but it also creates memorable experiences, immediate engagement and long-term brand affinity.


Are you ready to embrace the full potential of your ad creative?

Let us help you create impactful campaigns that truly connect with your audience. Contact us today to discuss how OOH can take your marketing campaign to the next level.

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