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The Forgotten Optimisation – Urgent wake up call to marketers as Q4 complacency around digital campaigns risks creative falling flat

Press release: for immediate release

Sep 28, 2023


New white paper from Automated Creative and the WFA urges advertisers to focus on creative effectiveness and in-flight creative optimisation to improve media value by nearly 20% during critical commercial season


London, UK, 28th September: As the cost of living crisis continues to bite, 64.1% of marketers are feeling considerably more pressured to deliver efficiency compared to last year, while 44.7% expect their budgets to reduce if Q4 fails to meet targets, new research finds.

But most aren’t confident in the ability of their partners and agencies to make their creative work as hard as possible as the all-important Q4 looms - putting vital campaigns at risk of avoidable failure.

Compounding Creative, a new white paper from creative effectiveness ad platform Automated Creative, in partnership with World Federation of Advertisers, suggests brands who don’t track and optimise the performance of their digital campaigns could be leaving significant media value on the table. 

The report offers evidence that, with proper in-flight creative optimisation, marketers can improve their media value by an average of 17%, and reduce their CPA cost in conversion campaigns - a crucial Q4 metric of success for many - by over 50%.

Surveying more than 200 senior marketers, and with features from brands such as Jack Daniel's and Mars, the research identified an inability to optimise digital campaigns in-flight as a critical challenge for marketers. It found that:

  • Just under ⅓ of marketers (28.9%) are not optimising digital campaigns in-flight at all

  • Only 2.6% of marketers felt they had enough information mid-campaign to take decisions around creative effectiveness, with 61.6% feeling that they had ‘not at all’ enough.

  • Reporting frequency may be a contributing factor, with the bulk of campaigns focusing on end-of-campaign reporting and only a third having access to some form of live dashboard data

  • Agile action was also an issue: Over half of respondents did not feel confident in their team’s or partners’ ability to take action in-campaign (53.8%)

  • 18.4% complained of “poor” communication between creative and media - the lowest rating - and an overwhelming 71% fell between poor and average


In a tighter economy than ever - the IPA suggests that ⅔ of adults are spending less in 2023 as the cost of living crisis continues - creative is recognised to be responsible for as much as 70% of campaign success [source: Google].


Betting huge budgets on creative that fails to perform - but continues to run, through the most important commercial season of the year - is a reckless, unnecessary, but crucially easily avoidable risk for marketers, the white paper contends.


Amy Wright, Head of Strategy at Automated Creative says: “Launching your Q4 holiday campaign without prepping for in-flight optimisation is like launching a rocket ship into space without a mission control. Yes, you’ll have invested in the best possible team, design, and approach - but what are the chances that strategy survives contact with reality?

Applying a ‘one size fits all’ creative approach can mean accepting a huge percentage of your campaign spend will be wasted. In today’s fast-moving landscape, it’s so important for brands to understand what is driving creative effectiveness.”

Compounding Creative provides marketers with an action guide for a more effective Q4, and offers numerous brand success stories that illustrate the value of in-flight creative optimisation, including:

  • Jack Daniel’s (Brown Forman) saw an improvement vs brand benchmark on social equivalent to 2-3x more media spend. An additional third-party dual branding study proved an increase in both sales lift and ROI - insights that were then applied to an OOH campaign that beat all existing benchmarks

Matt Green, Director, Global Media Practice at Automated Creative’s content partner, the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), urges marketers to focus on effectiveness when they’re being asked to drive more with less. 

Marketers can be too focused on activating campaigns, sometimes at the expense of proving results. The ‘unlock’ appears to be via better cascaded effectiveness processes… Getting started is what counts.” says Green.

Automated Creative has creatively optimised over 6 billion impressions for the world’s most famous brands and ecommerce and D2C businesses. It recently rolled out a number of new features in its technology including the incorporation of ChatGPT and new planning tools in an updated grid-style interface to consolidate workflow between marketing, creative, and media teams. It automates production of an unlimited number of unique ads, enabling teams to learn over time. In this way, by turning impressions into intelligence, Automated Creative’s clients, who include Bose, Brown Forman, Haleon, Mars, Therabody, Upwork and Universal Music, make huge leaps in the performance of paid social and display advertising.


To find out more, join Automated Creative at their virtual event on 28th September at 4pm - ‘Compounding Creative: An Urgent Q4 Wake-Up Call’. Sign up here.


To read the whitepaper in full click here.


Press Contact:

Maryum Sheikh, Press Lead at The Digital Voice


About Automated Creative: 

Meet Automated Creative - a creative services business that builds brands with the mastery of strategy, ideation, design and production. Our enemy number #1 is apathy. We challenge it by changing the world of dynamic advertising, uniting creativity and automation. Our business model replaces the traditional agency and SaaS tech platforms, encouraging brands to embrace new ways of building audiences.

By exploring consumers’ strongest emotional triggers, we create hundreds of new ads at great speed and scale based on data. That way, we help brands to better understand what their customers are really passionate about, giving them insights into which strategies, visuals and messaging to use. We also love breaking myths about advertising. Yes, we’re a bit avant-garde but they liked it: Bose, P&G, Mars, Adidas, GSK, Samsung, Campari, KFC, Upfield, NCS and many more. At the end of the day, we are just a bunch of creative agency people using tech as a tool to inspire brands to be bolder and grow smarter.


About the World Federation of Advertisers:

WFA is the only global organisation representing the common interests of marketers. It is the voice of marketers worldwide, representing 90% of global marketing communications spend - roughly US$900 billion per annum. WFA champions more effective and sustainable marketing communications.