We were struck by a few of the notions captured in the presentation slides from Burt, a start-up in Sweden that was invited to speak at Cannes this year. Burt is – at a most simplistic level – a digital ad measurement software company. But they are also one of the few that simultaneously focus on data-driven ad technology, while still earning credibility among creative shops. It also doesn’t hurt their credibility that the founders have previously worked with creative shops like CP+B – one of them (Gustav Martner) is actually the Executive Creative Director at CP+B Europe.
Burt’s presentation at Cannes elaborated on their experiences working with some of the world’s top agencies to change how they make and measure large scale, digital advertising – and how drastic improvements in ad effectiveness can be achieved using existing, proven technologies. Some of the key points that resonated with us include:
- A workflow should be optimized for adapting to change, not following a plan
- Agile advertising refers to the process of being quick to learn, adapt and improve
- Agile advertising follows the same loop as ‘build, learn, measure’, but instead of waiting to apply the learnings on the next campaign, they’re used to change and optimize existing campaigns
- An agency’s focus should be on measuring the underlying metrics that DRIVE profit, rather than on auditing the ROI; it’s a KPIs vs. ROI question for agencies vs. brands
- Examples of good KPIs: Audience reach and relevance (people), ‘soft’ metrics (branding), direct user behavior (clickstream) and sales (not the same as profit)
- Banner best practices: media/creative integration as biggest driver, show the logo all the time, show the product (if applicable), static outperforms rich (think print, not tv) and be direct, simple and obvious
- Compare your campaign metrics to yourself – not to others (self-diagnose)
- Using the best combination of creative executions for each different context/exposure can create enormous lifts
- Start out with a minimal execution to test your idea
- Agile advertising puts four feedback loops into play: 1) Self-diagnose 2) Split test 3) Optimization and 4) Cross-Campaign
Burt has learned that, while all agencies recognized the need for and abundance of ad-tracking data, few front-line agency business folks understood the full implications of that data, or how to act on it. Burt addressed this opportunity by developing Rich – a free digital ad analytics tool. The analytics and guiding methodology employ the four feedback loops, and centers users around key data that will facilitate one byproduct of agile advertising: real-time, dynamic advertising content, or ‘personalized ads’.
We like the idea of simple, focused analytics that those in the immediate position to apply those learnings - agency creatives and front line business folk - can actually understand. Actionable insights and data can inform and improve creative, rather than constrain it, if defined, interpreted and applied correctly.