Using data to inform better, smarter creative
Data. Data. Data. At Net Natives we use the data at our fingertips to inform our creative, ensure we truly understand our clients’ audiences and have confidence that our campaigns are working their hardest. We caught up with Net Natives’ Lead Creative Developer, Chris Rockell, to hear more…
Let’s jump straight in… Can you tell us why you started to use campaign data to inform your creative?
Our end goal at Net Natives is always meaningful engagement. We make great creative here (I’m not afraid to say it) but it’s not enough to just pat each other on the back and send work off into the digital abyss. Years ago, I would try to avoid spreadsheets, reports and complicated looking dashboards with the blissful ignorance of someone who’d spent three years at Art School. But as I followed my path into the glorious world of development, I’ve embraced the importance of the data at our fingertips and found that not only was it really useful, but actually interesting. Creative and data should not be mutually exclusive.
For us, as well as our clients, the need to use data to see results is crucial. It’s not only important to prove we’re doing good work, but also for us to continuously improve what we do. Every campaign gives us an opportunity to learn, and in this industry, you can’t rest on your laurels.
How do you use data on a day to day basis to inform your creative?
We use our experience first and back our opinions up with data, rather than becoming too autonomous in our process. Having an idea of what performs well is all a part of our creative offering and where we’ve been lucky enough to grow relationships with clients we find that personal experience, as well as a history of performance data, is really valuable.
And what are the most important, or interesting, metrics you look at?
When we start a campaign we work KPIs into the brief from the off and set out with clear goals in mind. By the time we’ve set up the necessary campaign environments and tracking conversions are defined. A typical ‘conversion’ might be something like application started, form submitted, PDF downloaded or open day place booked.
The most useful metrics really depend on those goals that are established at the start, and every campaign is optimised towards them. So where click-through rates are a good starting point and something we see good results in, we like to dig a little deeper, making sure meaningful engagement exists too. Therefore, I’d have to say conversions are the most important benchmark for success.
What tools do you use to look at campaign metrics?
With over 150 experts across Natives Group all ready to help out with really smart ideas, I appreciate that I’m lucky. I’m constantly surprised by the innovations that come out of the people around me. One such innovation would be Natives Performance Platform. It’s a great resource that gives you as much data as you could ever need, drawing from all the platforms we use, tying them together nicely.
Whereas in the past I might have trawled through various platforms, pulling reports and trying to piece it all together, Natives Performance Platform gives a simplified, but holistic view of all campaign data, so we get a true view of what’s going on.
What kind of changes might you make to your artwork based on what you see in the numbers?
If we’ve done our jobs right, it should be running just fine. If however, the occasion arose where a campaign might need a creative boost, we would hold up the data and the creative against the campaign’s initial KPIs or the conversions we’re working towards. We’d conduct an internal review where potential ‘tweaks’ would be discussed and agreed upon. We might run a revised version in tandem as a split test, which is often a great way to gauge the impact of any differences, or we might take more drastic action. It could really range from a minor copy tweak to a complete strategic overhaul.
Can you talk us through what that cycle of create, review, refine might look like?
Once we’ve established a brief and understand the aim of the project, we would have an internal kick-off meeting involving Creative (usually the trinity of copy, design & development), Client Services and Project Managers. This is where the tactics of the campaign would start to take shape. We keep our clients involved at every stage, so we know everyone’s happy and on the same page. Typically we’d get some copy and design going first. Every iteration of our work be it copy, design or development has three stages. Feedback, sign off and go live. This means that in a way we’re always creating, reviewing and refining.
And it doesn’t stop once we go live! Having set up cross-team, fail-safe mechanisms based on click-through rates and conversions, we can monitor performance and make sure we’re doing good. Something I’m calling ‘Real-Time Performance Benchmarking’.
We’re more often following a well-performing campaign (which we optimise until it’s the best it can be) than having to worry about anything sub-par. But like I say, you can’t rest on your laurels, or as the Net Natives mantra goes – be happy, but never satisfied.
At the beginning of the year, we spoke about the impact that Google Chrome’s new built-in ad blocker might have on your creative. And we told you that you’d need better ad experiences. Better creative. Better data. Better targeting. And a better understanding of your audience.
So, if you’d like to hear more on how to use data to ensure your creative is on top, get in touch with our experts.