Peter Thiel advocates pursuing what you are “fanatically right about.” For me it is data-driven creative. I’ve been involved in data-driven creative since 2007 when at Starcom, we built ads for Miller that looked up the IP addresses of “men of legal drinking age” to suggest local bars that celebrate the High Life. I formed a company to help large retailers do this version 1.0 of data-driven creative. And I’ve evolved this approach over the years to a much more sophisticated state. We now use real-time user engagement, location and segment data to adapt creative in real-time.

Real-time creative is like painting with data, much like Picasso is painting with light in the photo above. Digital marketing without data is like photography without light. I am fanatically right about this because even the version 1.0, “abandoned cart regurgitation” stuff tends to perform at least 3x better than an uninformed, one-size-fits-all approach.

How much data are you painting with? And what existing data can be used to at least shed flashes of light on the full picture?

A recent WSJ article: calls data-driven creative what it is, a fledging industry. I believe this is true because data-driven creative is complicated, time consuming, hard to measure and it costs money. So my mission with Adaptive Campaigns, the company I co-founded, is to break down those barriers. We offer free creative and data assessments to help clients understand the awesome opportunity to build ads that listen and respond to user signals in real-time. And we have packages to make getting started quick and affordable.

The following are four use cases for data-driven creative. I’m fanatical about each and would love to hear your thoughts on them.

Informing – Understanding what to say and how to say it remains the primary challenge of all marketers. Data-driven creative provides a real-time feedback loop for optimization.
Its Philip Kotler’s “understanding and meeting customer requirements,” done in real-time.
2. Measuring – Knowing what is working and not working is usually a lower funnel measure, based on cost per sale or cost per lead. Data-driven creative allows you to start at the beginning:

How is the content you worked so hard to develop being viewed and consumed?
3. Testing – Test-Measure-Plan is the new order of operations in media planning. Creative needs to follow suit. Programmatic media did much more than drive efficiency gains.

Programmatic provides a live lab for testing elements, combinations and sequences of creative.
Small gains driven by creative versions add up. In our survey, the average programmatic media program had 50 strategy lines being supported by a single, JPG ad. Adaptive ads deliver 60x the engagement rate of the static control banners we place in each campaign.

4. Improving – Delivering a better user ad experience is what I am most fanatical about. Removing anxiety and friction is the art and science of web design. Because the Adaptive team sees data-driven ads as HTML5 mini-websites, we’re focused on the addressing barriers and drivers of user engagement at each stage of the consumer journey. We believe better data will lead to better creative.

Better creative leads to ads people want, and results marketers want.