Creative trends: ‘Urgent need’ for better measurement of creative performance

Oct 17, 2018 | Content marketing, Online advertising

The quality of ad creative has a direct, measurable impact on campaign performance, and advertisers are largely unable to measure it, according to new research.

The new report from ad tech firm Flashtalking, analysed 60 campaigns comprising 10 billion individual impressions.

The research established that, on average, the top performing quartile of creative is 7X more impactful than the worst-performing quartile, and that click-through rates are negatively correlated with creative performance. These findings make it clear that the quality of advertising creative has a dominant impact on campaign performance and return on ad spend.

“The need to optimise ad creative has become even greater, as multi-channel marketing has become more the norm, yet marketers have lacked the tools to properly understand creative performance,” said Steve Latham, Global Head of Analytics at Flashtalking. “Across the industry, digital attribution has focused on media and audience performance, while continuing to rely on outdated creative metrics such as click-through rates and last-touch attribution. Creative measurement has received comparatively little attention—particularly in the context of programmatic. That is, until now.”

Flashtalking report shines a light on the need for better creative analytics – and solutions.

To bring clarity to the creative measurement problem, Flashtalking developed a methodology to assess creative performance in a way that would better serve advertisers’ needs. Employing an algorithmic, machine learning based approach, Flashtalking assessed the performance of each creative version—defined by its propensity to influence conversions in proportion to the total number of impressions served—across 60+ campaigns from 2018 comprising over 10 billion impressions served on behalf of 24 advertisers; covering the Travel, Media, Telco, Gaming, Consumer Services, and Energy sectors.

Flashtalking’s proprietary, data-driven approach employs clustering algorithms to account for bias from audience and media factors, and machine learning multi-touch attribution to determine the effectiveness of each creative.

The results were clear:

  • On average, the top performing quartile of creatives are 7X more impactful than the worst-performing quartile of creatives.
  • Click-through rates are generally negatively correlated with creative performance.

Combined, these results paint a convincing picture. The variance in creative performance indicates significant gains may be realised by optimising creative. But if an advertiser is using the wrong creative performance metric for optimisation, it is likely to serve more of what is not working.

For advertisers to realise the opportunity to drive better results creative optimisation, they must update their measurement tools, replacing outdated metrics with smarter, data-driven methods.

To access the report, visit:


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