What drives creative teams? What position do they occupy in a successful digital marketing strategy? Are they purely data-driven? Should they be?
The answers to these questions have arguably undergone a shift in recent years. The changes wrought by more restrictive data privacy regulations, and the arrival of more granular insights into creative performance are causing an increasingly collaborative approach between UA, creative, and product teams. But what exactly does this look like? And what can we learn from those at the cutting edge of creative marketing?
To find out, we spoke with: Sian Finnis, Director of Marketing Studio at King Games; Paul Le Bas, Vice President of Marketing at Kolibri Games; and Omer Rabinovitz, Head of Creative Marketing at Lightricks. Our panelists shared advice, tips and insights into the best ways to integrate your creative team, the importance of data and what the future holds for digital marketing. For those unable to make the webinar in person, we have put together this handy wrap-up, alongside a recording of the webinar itself which can be downloaded here.
Where should the creative team sit within marketing?
One of the core learnings across the panelists was the importance of the way you integrate your creative, User Acquisition (UA) and product teams. For Sian, this means fostering a philosophy of “separate but together”. It may not be necessary to have interdisciplinary teams, as each has its own approach and mindset. In practice, this means King has developed their own marketing studio within the marketing team, formed of a creative studio of peers with space to play. Sian’s team works closely with UA but not within because they have a design mentality. If they sat within UA they wouldn’t be able to foster and encourage that mindset.
In a similar vein, Omer and his team take part in weekly reviews with the UA team to identify what is working and what isn’t. This ensures that both sides have the opportunity to communicate clearly about the motivations behind choices, the overarching business requirements and ensure that any decisions are data-driven.
For all three panelists, the bottom line is that communication should be a two-way street to be effective. Creative teams must have an open line to their UA counterparts and vice versa. Additionally, creative managers must support and guide communication to ensure its effectiveness.
The connection between creativity and data
Changes in privacy legislation have upended the creative process at Kolibri. Where before the team would match the audience to the creative, now there is a need to match the creative to the audience. The bottom line is that this sort of approach requires data. However, as Paul notes, spreadsheets are not the best way of communicating data with creatives. Instead, having open conversations where UA managers have an open discussion about what was done, the results that were achieved and what to change for next time.
This need for data through a human filter was also echoed by Sian. Wading through spreadsheets can lead to being overwhelmed by metrics. Her team is lucky to benefit from a set of full-time creative analysts who translate granular metrics into visual PowerPoint presentations. This makes the data itself more digestible and reduces spreadsheet fatigue.
For Omer, it is all about looking for ‘spots of light’. Identifying discrepancies, for example, a high CTR but a low install rate, in order to guide creative choices. Replai has also been playing an important role at Lightricks, translating data into actionable creative insights.
Speeding up the creative process
Our three panelists all oversee a formidable rate of content generation. Ranging from 100 to 700 creative assets a week, their teams must fight everything from content fatigue to process blockers during development. Happily, they shared a wide range of advice on how to reduce barriers to high volume high-quality production:
- Get support from product teams: Simulating gameplay and getting tooling into the product enables you to deliver creatives faster. Investing in a good working relationship with the product team is a must.
- Split up your approaches for heroes and iterations: Consider taking a leaf from Omer’s book and separate out the teams responsible for hero generation from those who iterate on existing designs. The hero generation team can then focus on creativity, with a small number of variations to account for languages, sizing etc. The motion team can then run with the existing hero design to more mass-produce the variations for A/B testing.
- Prioritize either quantity or quality: Producing a high number of creative assets is not always the best goal. Lightricks double the length of their creative sprints to two weeks in order to focus on quality. This allowed the creative team time to breathe and think more innovatively, resulting in better KPI results.
- Make use of historical data: You don’t need to reinvent the wheel with every new creative. Using a tool like Replai, or simply developing your own creative archive of successful features will guide your new creative efforts more successfully.
- Give creative teams independent access to data: Your UA team shouldn’t be a blocker to iteration. Allow the creative team direct access to a bespoke dashboard, letting them ideate and test new creatives at speed.
One of the final major challenges in any creative team is measuring their impact. Without a direct link between creative choices and sales, it can be difficult to identify an ROI in the way that a sales team can. However, our panelists had two core metrics that they recommend keeping an eye on. The first, shared by Sian, was the win rate of her creatives. Consistently high win rates indicate how successful her team’s choices are in delivering on KPIs. Combining this with vocal champions who share creative success throughout the business and you have a convincing ROI argument.
The second measuring technique advised by both Omer and Paul is to compare the cost of development of a creative against the revenue it generates. This pure profit metric is an easy way to show a direct line between creative choices and income for the business.
Final thoughts from our panelists
So what advice do our panelists have for the challenges facing the modern creative team? Broadly, all of them identified creative burnout and the increasing push for quantity over quality. To address this, both Paul and Omer recommend implementing scientific approaches to data analysis. Finding the easy wins, and identifying (and reusing) effective features can reduce the burden of constant delivery. For Sian, diversity is the key. A team full of people from mixed backgrounds and perspectives can in and of itself lead to innovative creatives.
Our panelist’s final parting note was to try to offer the space for creatives to work. At King, they outsource all of their usual creative duties to a subcontractor for one month in order to focus on free thinking. This has led to crazy ideas which push the boundaries of creative innovation by offering the time and the space to think differently and without the burden of day-to-day activities.
Missed the webinar?
If you missed out on the webinar, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered! Whether you were unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict or just want to watch it again, simply fill out the form to access our webinar recording.